What is DragoDino?
DragoDino is a 2d platformer where 1-2 players can traverse 10 story levels set in an ever-changing world. There are two playable characters (at first) and a pair of skins for both to keep things interesting. The protagonists, Bob and Lola, are of similar stature but vary slightly in their attributes. Bob is lighter and faster than Lola, but has one less heart; meanwhile, Lola has an extra heart but is slower and heavier. Each time you play a level, it can feel different thanks to random level layouts and powerups scattered about, 40 in all. Some of these powerups will extend your characters glide ability, add a shield or fill a single heart slot. These vary from one time use to those which can be stacked for greater efficiency. Only 3 powerups can be equipped at a time, meaning the player must sometimes make difficult decisions. Throughout each level a shop will appear that allows the players to buy items with coins they collect or store any powerups for later use. A typical level has your character shooting projectiles at enemies, 50 types in all, collecting coins, crystals and other hidden collectables. Your DragoDino can jump, glide, super jump and shoot concentrated projectiles for more damage. There are a few boss fights during the campaign and 2 difficulties, normal and hardcore.
What did I like about DragoDino?
I enjoyed the simple concept of collecting crystals, killing enemies and ascending upwards to the level’s end. The graphical style might look simple, like many games you find on mobile devices, but it’s sharp and clean. There are many unique enemies that can pose a challenge but never feel overpowered. The music in DragoDino is also a high-point, with whimsical and well-composed tunes accompanying you on your journey. The pace in DragoDino is slow, but that isn’t necessarily bad. I had to be meticulous, grabbing all the crystals I could and exploring every area for secrets. You must acquire a minimum number of crystals or you won’t be able to go further. Players looking to run and jump the whole way will likely be disappointed. It wasn’t uncommon to spend over 20 minutes on a single level making sure I discovered everything I could. DragoDino is also priced appropriately at $9.99 USD, which I feel is fair for the amount of content included and the quality of the experience.
What didn’t I like about DragoDino?
While overall the controls worked, they often felt too sensitive. Making a precise jump and then falling onto a floating crystal is a task easier said than done. You also can only use the analog stick for movement, I would have preferred an option to use the d-pad as well. The difficulty of normal mode was also quite surprising; a few wrong moves and you will find yourself restarting at the beginning of the level. This sometimes felt disheartening, as the thought of regaining my lost progress felt too daunting and I usually stopped playing for the day.
What are the achievements like?
DragoDino has 43 achievements for 1000 gamerscore, many of which involve local co-op. Others reward the player for beating a boss with a specific character, gathering a set number of coins or killing a set number of enemies. In terms of difficulty, the list is not bad, but a good co-op buddy is a must as is the willingness to replay the game multiple times. Completing the game on hardcore difficulty will likely provide the biggest challenge but also the biggest reward (100g).
DragoDino is a mostly solid platforming experience that was most enjoyable in short bursts, ala one level a night. The crisp visuals and enjoyable music were a delight, as was the pace of the game which focused more on precision than speed. DragoDino is best experienced with a partner by your side, especially if you’re after a gamerscore completion. I wish I could have more controller options like sensitivity and use of the d-pad. The game is family friendly and modestly priced; it’s obvious that Teal Rock Studio put plenty of love into this prehistoric platformer.