Drago Noka Review thumbnail

Drago Noka Review

Farming, mining, and kaiju battles

Mary Billington

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on 🐉

Drago Noka is rated Teen by the ESRB

Build a village on the back of a dragon then raise animals, dig underground, and befriend villagers in this fun city building sim with a twist.

│ Just like in nearly all our reviews, you can watch Mary play Drago Noka below so you can judge accordingly. ▶️

Drago Noka screenshot 1
Stop! Hammer time!

As a fan of similar games like the Story of Seasons and Rune Factory series I was drawn to Drago Noka when I saw its detailed graphics and interesting take on city-building mixed with gameplay elements like farming and mining. In Drago Noka, you play as a character who settles into a new village that had previously been destroyed and it's your task to rebuild it. It sounds like a pretty typical story but there's an interesting twist in that you're actually building your village on the back of a dragon which walks around the world map while bumping into other dragons, enemies, and different climates on its own and you can also choose to set its path. v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154

Although you'll spend most of your time in the village forgetting that you're even on a dragon, you're reminded of how unique a concept it is every time you decide to pull back and take a look at the map. Moving the dragon across the map takes a long time and as they walk, the climate of the village will be affected. For example, if you're in the vicinity of the light dragon, night will no longer be dark and if you follow the water dragon, you'll get rain that can water your crops. Climates also bring unique items such as special fish and ore. 🐟

Drago Noka screenshot 2
Time to reap the rewards for another defeated Giant

Your dragon may also come into contact with enemies and if they get close enough, you can initiate a battle that plays out like a simple fighting game that relies mostly on preparation than anything. Feeding your dragon meals that take a lot of processing will increase its maximum HP and equipping it with handmade short and long-range weapons is a must. Finally taking down your first enemy will take a while in itself and you'll then want to increase your dragon's HP even further in order to take down even stronger enemies. Having these long-term goals of strengthening your dragon and choosing where to send it next on the map does a really good job of balancing short and long-term planning with your city-building as well as your exploration. 🧭

Drago Noka screenshot 3
When life gives you Poopoo Eggs, make Poopoo-ade

Drago Noka is a sandbox city-building game at its core and even though it provides requests and a general story outline, it doesn't force you into anything that you don't want to do. This freedom allows you to build as much or as little as you want and choose to spend your time doing what you enjoy most whether it be expanding the homes in the village, digging for ore, fishing, or focusing on quests that unlock new machines and ways to create items. There really isn't much of a story overall which some players may prefer and others may not but I was happy that I didn't have to skip through hours of dialogue just to start farming. 👩‍🌾

Villagers join your town one by one and as each one joins, you'll get to pick their gender then build them a home. Once they've moved in, you'll be given a long list of requests that serve to expand your item creation abilities and unlock new kinds of gameplay. Each villager has their own personality such as the timid horned sheep Annie the rancher or the matter-of-fact synthesizer Beaker. Although I didn't spend a lot of time gifting presents to my villagers, there is the possibility of marriage and family so if that's important to you then that's a good thing. There's just so much to do at any time that you'll probably find yourself getting distracted with other tasks, though! 😵

Drago Noka screenshot 4
Don't mind me; I'm choppin' broccoli

Building homes in Drago Noka is simple and intuitive. In fact, the controls are surprisingly intuitive overall given the large amount of materials, recipes, and tools that you'll amass. I really appreciate the ability to pin any item to your palette which makes it easy to cycle through anything you want. The controls may be intuitive but I struggled with quite a few of the requests while getting lost in the wording of them and wanting more information. Some of them definitely need more of an explanation but lucky for you, I made a guide to help out other Drago Noka players with some of the areas that I got stuck on! 📖

Drago Noka Guide

One particular gameplay element that I thought was executed exceptionally well was mining. Finally being able to go underground requires completion of a list of tasks so it's an accomplishment in and of itself. Then, when you eventually start mining, you'll enjoy hitting the walls while discovering gems and ores. You can dig through the whole area underneath the village so it's a substantially large space to explore. When you find something that you want to bring to the surface, you have to make a path to the staircase that you took to get down there then push the item to it to collect it which adds another layer of challenge and planning. You'll even unlock conveyor belts later on that can be placed to move things quicker thus expanding the complexity of your mine. ⛏️

Drago Noka screenshot 5
Are you ready to rock?

Besides mining and building, there are other gameplay elements such as fishing, farming, ranching, and item-crafting which is quite in-depth as it requires you to utilize multiple ways of processing raw materials to create some of the more difficult items. Additionally, there are some interesting item creation tools that I haven't seen before such as synthesis that involves powderization, liquidization, and crystalization or creating paper out of wood pulp then using it to transcribe recipes for more items. A lot of the requests require making good use of the item creation system and it can be rewarding to finally make something that has taken hours to create. 😅

The graphics of Drago Noka are pixelated and painstakingly detailed while the camera is pulled back which works well for getting around and it also shows off all the different detailed pixelated objects. Characters show their cartoon rendering at parts and these are equally as attractive. I wish that the village was bigger, however, and that it had more variety.

Specifically, even though you'll never run out of space to build, there isn't a ton of diversity in the accessible area. You can influence the climate to a degree by choosing where to send your dragon on the world map but it still feels like the village is missing visual variety. The same can be said for the buildings given that you'll only be making homes for villagers. I would have loved to see recipes for constructing a whole ton of different kinds of buildings to create a metropolis with each building having a distinct function. 🏙️

Drago Noka screenshot 6
Who knew there was a world down here, too?

Drago Noka presents an imaginative and attractive pixelated city-builder with a twist and some exceptionally deep gameplay. As long as you're not in it for a story, you'll end up sinking hours into exploring the nooks and crannies of what it has to offer.

  • + Many deep gameplay elements such as mining and item creation
  • + Attractive game world with great detail
  • + Intuitive controls and menus
  • - Some players might be put off by the lack of story and conversations
  • - Requests sometimes need more instruction
  • - Village terrain could do with more variety
8.1 out of 10
Gameplay video for Drago Noka thumbnail
Watch Mary play Drago Noka
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