The world of RPGs is boiled down to its most basic elements with the release of Biterkid’s Dragonward. Don’t be fooled by its stature though – this is one adventure worthy of any warrior.
Looking for a basic elevator pitch? Dragonward is a roguelike with RPG elements and permadeath. Fans of each of these elements will love what this title brings to the table, but those who are less than enthused at starting over or procedurally generated levels might not be won over with this one.
Those who do dive in will appreciate its brass tacks approach to gameplay. Taking the reins of either a sir, lady, or “hood,” players will hit The Road in search of the dragon’s riches. Movement is simple, done either forward or diagonally on a grid-like system. It’s not an easy path, however, as it is one full of enemies that must be slain, random events, fatigue, and the chance to lose everything and a swift boot back to the title screen.
The key to victory in this game is resource management. Players will have to balance toughness and power, with each step gradually draining away toughness. Food bags and water vials can help recharge these two, and each enemy has a mark over each of their head signifying how difficult they are to take down. Players can also gain gold, amass raw meat that can be used to make more food bags, collect rusty keys to open abandoned castles, and amass the almighty Tomes of Power, which are used for leveling.
It can be an absolute blast trying to figure out what to use when. Even when the odds are stacked against you, the amount of planning and right amount of randomness makes it a tough but (mostly) fair romp.
The most random elements of Dragonward come from its question mark tiles. When you land on one, a scenario plays out that can net you rare items and buffs. Alternatively, they can also lead to nicked goods and debuffs for a while. They’re a necessarily evil to get the most out of the game, but expect some bad to go along with the good.
It should be worth noting though that the game does suffer a bit in its script. Though there is not much dialog, there are a few typos to be found. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s still worth noting.
Dragonward’s resource management and roguelike elements make for an addicting formula that’ll have you seek out the perfect run. The random elements are not always fair, but those willing to play past defeat will find much to like here.