Capsule Review: Drancia Saga

An action RPG-lite. There isn’t much story and the action is very streamlined. Your character is constantly moving across the screen with weapon outstreched - hit left or right to point them in a direction, press a button to jump, and press the button again to dive and point the weapon down. Kill enemies without taking damage to earn money which can be used to buy stat improvements. Kill all the enemies and the boss appears. Kill the boss to finish the level.

It’s a pretty simple formula, but hectic and challenging. The fact that dying at the boss means restarting the entire level and going through all the enemy waves again is an obnoxious disruption to the player’s ability to learn to fight bosses effectively. You can’t grind around it either, as there’s no permanent character progression. Purchased stat increases are per-level and while you can spend accumulated currency between levels on powerups, these are one-use only. Together, these make the game a lot more frustrating than necessary.

The game does do a cute thing where if you have any of a fairly wide variety of other indie 3DS games, characters from those games are unlocked for use here, but they don’t change the gameplay much.

I Stopped Playing When: After playing for half an hour or so, it became clear how frustrating it would be to push forward, due mainly to the punishment of having to replay all enemy waves to get another chance to learn to fight a given boss. I didn’t find the core gameplay satisfying enough to want to bother.

Docprof's Rating:

Two Stars: Meh. The game has some merit - it probably held my attention for at least an hour or I came back to it for more than one play session. But there wasn't enough draw for me to stick with it for the long haul.

You can get it or learn more here.