Dean’s Dragon Dream Is More Like A Nightmare [Review]


Do dragons dream of electric heat?
Do dragons dream of electric heat?

Roger Dean is famous for his fantasy world artwork, which graced many a record sleeve and book cover during the 1970s and 80s. His work is iconic and instantly recognisable to a generation.

This app – Dragon’s Dream – is an unfortunate foray into iOS. It fails to do justice to Dean’s skill as an artist, and fails to offer iOS gamers an experience worth five dollars.

First there’s “Free fly” mode, which is pretty ghastly. You’re in control of a little Dragon – authentically Dean-like in design, it’s true – which flaps its way through a very Deany sort of landscape. (Yes kids, it looks a lot like Avatar, but James Cameron got a lot of his Avatar ideas from Roger Dean.)

In this mode, your task is to keep your dragon aloft without crashing into anything. It gets quite tedious, quite quickly.

Arcade mode isn’t much better. Again, you control your dragon’s flight with simple taps. Your flight path is mapped out for you with little floating orbs that you’re supposed to collect. If you collide with anything, you get a sound effect of a pile of bricks falling over, and the whole screen flashes an uncomfortable white, momentarily blocking your view of the game completely.

And it’s dull, dull, dull. “Explore fantastic worlds!” says the blurb on Dean’s website. Thing is, it doesn’t feel like exploration. There’s no sense of wonder about what’s around the next corner.

Dean’s art deserves better than this

As a reward for completing levels, you unlock some of Dean’s artworks in the Gallery section.

Once there, though, your view is restricted, obscured by UI widgets. The artworks on show are not even zoomable. It might feel like more of a reward if the app gave you the chance to explore the artwork a bit.

Enough dullness yet? No? You haven’t tried activating Visualizer mode yet. You don’t even have to play any game here – just watch the dragon flying. Watch it fly up. And watch it fly down. The app encourages you to “sit back and enjoy the view” but honestly, I’d rather watch grass grow.

Let me make clear: I have nothing but the greatest respect for Roger Dean as an artist, but I don’t think he was the one who made this app. The people who did have failed him. They’ve made something that fails to show off Dean’s artwork in any meaningful way, but instead uses it as the basis for a game that is dull and derivative.

Fans of Dean’s work would be far better served with something that credits them with a bit of intelligence. How about a mobile database of Dean, something that lets them browse artworks and zoom in on them to look at details. Anything that actually served a purpose would be better than this.

Source: App Store