Ever since Contra debuted 30 years ago, running and gunning with friends has been a winning formula. Dragon Bros retains this spirit of cooperative action in an impressively well put together package so get your trigger finger ready!
Dragon Bros is a cooperative run and gun 2D action game where you and a friend control two gun-slinging dragons. Unfortunately, robots have invaded and abducted the poor dragons' mom. However, these dastardly robots (known as mechaliches) have messed with the wrong dragons. Little did they know, these bite-sized brothers can wield all sorts of firearms as they seek out revenge and hopefully rescue their mommy in the process.
Thankfully, the gameplay is super-tight with responsive and intuitive controls and satisfying combat. The basic actions include running, jumping, rolling, shooting, and holding a shoulder button to lock your character into position so you can aim more precisely. You also have an ultra move that amplifies your firepower whenever the respective meter is full. There are a couple of additional attacks that may come in handy including a melee attack and a ground-stomp. Finally, you'll come across many different weapons that have limited ammo such as shotguns, missile launchers, and laser canons. These weapons are awesome but I preferred to switch to my normal weapon upon picking them up so I can save them for a tough enemy. Overall, this comprehensive yet intuitive gameplay setup is perfect for playing cooperatively with a friend.
Dragon Bros' visuals are fantastic complete with well-animated characters and gorgeously detailed moving backgrounds. However, some platforms can look ambiguous such as ones that disappear over time. This leads to many frustrating deaths and can turn the otherwise enjoyable gameplay into a test of patience. On the other hand, the music is absolutely incredible with plenty of catchy chiptunes mixed perfectly with rock instruments. The soundtrack provides a sense of lightheartedness and fun that's hard to come by in the genre and believe it or not, the stage hazards actually move to the music which is simply awesome.
In addition to the run and gun stages, there are a couple of mini-game level types that act as fun distractions. The first is a fresh spin on Space Invaders and the second is played similarly to Buster Bros. / Pang. There are also a handful of boss fights that are very unique and fun to take on including a swarm of robot bees and a DJ-like robot named Professor Processor.
All of this being said, Dragon Bros is one short game. The stages get quite lengthy later on and can last up to 10 minutes but considering there are only just over a dozen of them (plus the optional bonus stages), you're looking at a very brief campaign. Additionally, there isn't many replay incentives. You can challenge every stage with five difficulty settings but besides that, there are no leaderboards, collectibles, or list of challenges to master. As a result, the fun only lasts a few hours at the most which is kind of disappointing.
Dragon Bros is one of the most enjoyable cooperative run and gun games that you'll ever play. It may not last long but the amount of fun to be had in its action-packed world filled with awesome music will definitely delight any retro gamer.
- + Satisfying cooperative run and gun action
- + Awesome visuals and music with stages that move to the soundtrack
- + Great boss fights and classic mini-games
- - The campaign is very short
- - Stage graphics can be ambiguous and cause unexpected deaths
- - Lack of replay incentives