Although I've enjoyed many retro-style RPGs this year, Dragon Prana's authentic pixel approach definitely stands out so let's give it a go.
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Welcome to Astrapse
Dragon Prana tells the story of the land of Astrapse and its history of 4 warring races: Elves, Daemons, Dwarves, and Humans. Upon slaying a tyrant Daemon king, the humans become a little too comfortable with their reign over the continent so the Elves and Dwarves begin to rise up. You play as the human Albert who initially wants to fight in a tournament yet his goal unexpectedly shifts to saving the world; after all, he is the hero. He's joined by another human Rufina who has great magic power, an Elven princess Vanessa who tends to be rather brazen, and a Dwarven warrior Randolf who is fierce in battle. Together, the cast is fun to get to know and each character offers a strong sense of individuality as you watch them encounter evil forces as well as goof around together. 🤭 v1d30chumz 44-210-77-106
Take in the sights
As I mentioned, Dragon Prana presents a pixelated world with the main downside being that there's no character art but this approach still brought me back to the NES and SNES RPGs that I loved growing up. What makes the visuals truly stand out are the small details like how each character sprite is animated at 8 angles which makes them look much more fluid as they run around. Also, the fact that their current class is reflected on their sprite in battle is just awesome. I also enjoy the cute few-frame animations as you stand still or wander around and the environments often come to life thanks to things like fire flickers and water movement. It's quite a lovely game. 🌼
One of my favourite aspects of any RPG is character progression and thankfully, Dragon Prana features some truly rewarding systems in place. For starters, there are 9 distinct unlockable character classes that every party member can swap to and they can also be upgraded once they reach their max level and you have a matching catalyst item in stock. Each character has a skill tree, too, that you can spend SP on in order to enhance base stats and you can combine weapons and armour to upgrade their levels as well. Throw in rewarding side-quests, achievement-like awards, a catalog that grants gifts for defeating certain monsters, and a collection of premium shops and item roulettes and you're left with a ton of options to help your party in their epic quest; or at least topple the next difficult boss. 😜
Speaking of combat, Dragon Prana features random encounters which is kind of a disappointing change from Fairy Elements as they can occasionally get annoying but I guess that's to be expected. Combat is accomplished through selecting commands and skills that usually have an area of effect and it's all quite simple. One cool mechanic involves charging your gauge then unleashing Link Skills which has each party member perform either a powerful attack or restorative magic. With all of this in mind, I wish that there were more skills to play around with because each character class only has a handful and the character-specific ones aren't all that exciting either. 😐
Of course, dungeons are important and Dragon Prana has a lot of them. Exploring every nook and cranny as you traverse each branching path can be fun, especially when you discover some gear that far exceeds what you currently have equipped. However, some of the dungeons are simply too long and at one point, you have to complete 2 back-to-back which was frankly exhausting. They're still enjoyable to explore, though, so you may want to take a break if things start to become tedious. On the plus side, you'll eventually unlock a cute little ship that you can explore the world map with so that's definitely something you can look forward to. ⛵
Dragon Prana is clearly the best entry in KEMCO's Dragon series with its refined presentation and well thought-out character classes and progression systems. If you're looking for your next retro-inspired RPG obsession then this can very well be it.
- + Excellently enjoyable retro-style RPG formula with fun battles and dungeons
- + Beautiful pixel-filled visuals
- + Rewarding character classes and progression
- - Some dungeons go on for a bit too long
- - Random encounters can get annoying
- - Could use more abilities to tinker with