Rose, who is a hybrid of dragon and human, finds herself stuck in another dimension. Accompanying her is a fairy godmother. Along the way, you’ll encounter other friendly characters that will appear at the Tree of Time. This is the central location where you appear after you die. Yes, you will die constantly. You must progress deeper into the dungeon that appears to be the only way out. There is a move counter that ticks down each time you move or attack. This gives you a sort of time limit for each floor. If you take too many steps, you start to lose health. Enemies that infest the dungeon react each time you make a move. If you move, they move or attack. It’s almost a real-time yet still turn-based RPG system. Your patience will be tested, so make sure you tether your controller to your wrist to prevent it from flying into your screen.
Here’s what I liked:
Charming — Cute is screamed and echoes throughout the dungeon you explore. From your character to the bad guys, there is an appealing atmosphere to behold. Colors are abundant and each floor deeper seems to change enough to seem somewhat fresh. The enemies are pretty creative and there are plenty to find as you go deeper. The artwork is really well done and I appreciate the design qualities. The music matches the mood and does a great job presenting itself. Overall, it’s a well-designed game when it comes to its appearance.
Fangs…err Fangz — Before I dive deep into everything I hated about DragonFangz, I can admit that there is a nice concept that was clever. Sometimes an enemy will drop some type of relic. They have abilities and perks to them, different for each one. You can stack up to three of them at one time. If you come across a lot, you may destroy one to gain a perk. I think what could have saved this game, is allowing you to keep those perks from Fangz you destroyed. That way you can become stronger at least by a little bit every time you run through the dungeon. It would change everything, but instead of what could have been an amazing concept to keep you interested, we’re stuck with nonsense.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Backward Buttons —Very quickly, you will realize the B button is not back, but confirmation. The A button is how you cancel or go back while in the menu. This can be pretty confusing and you will often struggle with navigating your items and the store. The actual controls can also be awkward. When trying to fight multiple enemies, you may attack the wrong direction (such as diagonal). I’m not sure if it’s planned or just a design flaw. While walking around, you also may notice you’ll stop dead in your tracks. This happens so often that you’ll wonder how it made it past testing. You have to let go of the analog stick in order to fix the pause in movement.
Unfairly Difficult — I’ve played hundreds of games, and among them some very difficult ones. There’s a difference between something being difficult and something being unfair. As I progressed through the dungeons, I ended up in a room with around five or so enemies. I stood no chance, as I was beaten to death without a possibility of survival. I was doing quite well beforehand, leveling up and being diligent in finding items. I was shocked that I met my ultimate demise without a chance. Once I spawned back at the start, I began to lose interest in continuing. I found a stone in the room that let me choose my level. Sweet, looks like I can just pick up where I left off. Actually no, I started fresh and every time I spawned into the level I was one-shot killed by an enemy that’s literally next to me. Every, single, time. What happened to randomly generated dungeons? I know people have completed the game, or gotten much farther than I have. I would love to have that kind of willpower and patience, but there are too many better games out there to spend my time with.
No Reward for Playing —You can spend countless hours failing, getting nothing in return. You can’t carry anything over and your level always resets. Well, I take that back, you can store items in a basement area but I found it extremely rare to actually be able to do this. Let’s say you do store an item, you can use it on another “run” through the dungeon. If you die, (from what I can tell), you then lose that item. It makes me wonder how that works because wouldn’t later levels give you better items than ones you stored from previous attempts? I guess you could store potions or something. Anyways, I just don’t like feeling as if I had wasted my time.
Too Much Research —With barely a tutorial, you are forced to figure things out on your own. I tried to look up how everything works, but it was way too much digging to get a general concept of how to actually progress. Maybe I’m just terrible at the game or gave up trying too quickly, but I don’t enjoy having to do a bunch of research outside of playing naturally. The translations are so terrible that any attempt at explaining it, diminishes in absurd dialogue.
The appearance of DragonFangZ is pretty, but the concept feels like it deserts you from the beginning. You like what you see, thinking you’re going to have a blast in some dungeons. Then you die. No problem, let’s attempt it again. The cycle continues and unless you fall in love with the game, you’re going to despise it. It might not be fair for me to come to such quick judgment, only having played for a couple of hours. However, I do think it’s fair to say that I’ve played enough to know I never want to load it on my Xbox ever again. I guess if you’re playing on a portable console such as the Nintendo Switch you may find a little more value inside. On the Xbox, it just doesn’t deserve the attention.
Score: No Appeal
DragonFangZ: The Rose & Dungeon of Time was published and developed by Toydea Inc. on Xbox One. It was released on May 10, 2019, for $20.49. A copy was provided for review purposes.