REVIEW: Fat Dragons

There’s generally two things you can expect whenever you play a game by developer Nostatic Software1; some very charming pixel work, and that nagging feeling that you may not be having all that much fun playing that game. Whether that’s a fair assessment or not, Fat Dragons ($1.00) is exactly this. To be clear, this time it’s a Joust-like arcade title rather than a puzzler where you make educated guesses on what you should be doing next, but let’s just get this out of the way now: Fat Dragons is the Nintendo classic Balloon Fight, nothing more, and probably a little less.

Like those games, Fat Dragons has you not-so-lithely (the price of being an overweight dragon, I guess) coasting through the air, stripping the wings of your fellow peers and knocking them off the board once they’ve been grounded. Having the high ground is key, as that is the only way to effectively attack and avoid being de-winged yourself. Enemies spawn in wave format, and you’re given three hits / lives to hold out as long as you can. Points are naturally awarded for knockouts, and for completing the wave quickly.

There’s four stages to choose from in total, some of which include some slight interactivity, like an active volcano (the lava balls that shoot out of it can hurt you), or a storm where you’re under constant threat from lightning strikes. Every three waves you survive, the platforms within the stage shift around, creating a semi-fresh battlefield. To its credit, the game controls eerily-similar2 to how I remember Balloon Fight, so much so that I felt that particular wave of nostalgia washing over me as I played. Unfortunately, the simple arcade gameplay hasn’t aged as well in comparison.

Fat Dragons - Screen

For one, Fat Dragons is single-player only, cutting out a huge chunk of the reason that games like Balloon Fight and Joust continue to entertain even decades after their original release— the ‘friendly’ competition that comes from screwing over your friends or working together. The AI in the game is somewhat capable, but you won’t really meet any challenge unless you’re being pursued by three or more dragons at once. Even then, it all feels very same-y. Without some additional ‘hook’ or mode of play, repetition sets in.

That’s not to say there isn’t some fun involved, it’s just… dated. There’s no real payoff, either. The next level in line is unlocked after surviving a set number of waves in the previous stage, but with no further incentive to continue play after that, you can witness everything Fat Dragons has to offer within a half-hour at most. Worth a look if you’ve somehow missed out on the old classics to this point, but otherwise, there’s nothing new here.3

  1. Known primarily for the ‘Quiet’ series, cute but busywork puzzle games. More info on the catalog here
  2.  Right down to the ‘weighty’ feel of lift-off and acceleration, and the bulky sense of not being able to stop or turn as easily. Kudos to the developer for nailing that. 
  3. This review is also featured at Indiepitome. 

13 thoughts on “REVIEW: Fat Dragons”

  1. Comrades! I need your help!

    Someone or something at the mighty WordPress DVCC (Department of Visual Content Control) is sabotaging my videos.

    Basically, I’m asking you to do me a favour. Could anyone on here who’s registered at WordPress be so kind and go to the internal Reader and search for the tag “twin sister”. There should be a post titled “Twin Sister – Ginger”. Just one thing: can you see the video or is there just empty space above the post title?

    Seriously, I can’t figure out why, but most of the time the video doesn’t show up. And now I’m not sure if it’s just my computer or WordPress disliking Dailymotion.

    1. The Gods smile upon you this day…

      The video shows up for me in both the WordPress Reader and on the site itself, so you are— as the kids say— all good, bra.

    2. Thanks for the information.

      The video eventually showed up in the Reader, but now it’s gone again?! sigh And I’ve just updated Flash and Firefox. Dunno what I’m doing wrong. Hope it’s just a temporary thing, this emptiness looks kinda awkward in the Reader.

      Any chance you’re using Firefox? And sorry for abusing your article 😦

    3. Little known fact: theXBLIG is both a reviews site for Xbox Live Indie Games AND an internet troubleshooter. We’re not quite 24hr. support, but we’re getting there. 😛

    4. I’m not sure, but I think I’ve found the problem. If you run out of ideas, check your antivirus software…

  2. I’m offended by the name itself. Not politically correct. Maybe the dragons have a thyroid problem and they can’t help it.

    It should be called overweight dragons, or weight-challenged dragons, or even big-boned dragons.

    Fat is the New Gay. We need to get the word fat banned because of its negative connotations. (Oh my I just used up all my big words for the month. What am I going to do for the next 26 days?)

    1. You’ll notice I only used ‘overweight’ once in the entire review, and used ‘fat’ strictly to mention the name of the game. I’m progressive!

      For awhile, I thought they might be chocolate-dependent dragons, or their parents bought them too much fast-food, but you’re absolutely right; without evidence, we should just assume they have a thyroid issue. Or maybe they just quit smoking. It can’t be helped!

      Also, for some reason, every time I say the title out loud, my voice automatically adopts Austin Powers‘ ‘Dr. Evil’ voice, when he mentions the Fat Bastard character. I guess that can’t be helped either 😀

    2. Also, for some reason, every time I say the title out loud (…)

      Really, you do that? Like browsing through the aisles of your local supermarket, occasionally yelling ‘Fat Dragons’?

    3. Might make me a crazy person, but I’m one of those strange types that ‘narrates’ my thoughts and / or events as they unfold. Those monologues that the main character of a novel / movie does to inform the audience or set up the plot? Yeah, that’s me on my daily schedule. The best is when I laugh at my own jokes, like I’m somehow outside of my mind and just learning the punchline at that moment. That how I roll. 😎

    4. Tim must be living in one of those legalized states.

      That how I roll.

      Oh, I see. Probably the only way to get through most of XBLIG’s latest releases I assume.

    5. @Dream Poet: Nah, they keep refusing my application on the grounds that ‘world-weariness’ is not a medical condition. Fascists!

      @Soosh: Whiskey helps. 💡 😀 O_o 😯

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