Storybooks cannot leash the might of dragons. Only collectable card games can do that, though how they stuff those massive reptiles into tiny cards is anyone’s guess. Dragon Collection for iOS doesn’t address that ancient mystery. In fact, there’s little about this CCG that’s original in what’s rapidly becoming a very crowded mobile genre. Regardless, the game’s sense of humor, busy community, and anime artwork are compelling on their own.
There isn’t a whole lot of story behind Dragon Collection. Your job is simply to build up decent Attack and Defense decks, which is primarily done by working through the game’s Quest mode. Questing involves helping old ladies and beating up bandits, so you’re presumably a do-gooder of some kind. Either way, you press on through static backgrounds until you stumble on opponents and/or monster cards. Many of the cards that you pick up off the ground aren’t powerful, but luckily your vendor trash monsters can be used to enhance your rare cards.
You can break my face with one hand, but you still gotta do what I say.
Dragon Collection is powered by a very busy community, and other members may opt to become your ‘Allies,’ which can grant a welcome edge in battle. The game is free-to-play, and every move you make drains energy, which refills over time. If you’re a low-level player, however, you can get up to three free energy refills a day, which is a very nice option if you find yourself engrossed in a quest.
‘Engrossing’ is a good word for Dragon Collection. The artwork, though static, is very compelling, and bears a strong resemblance to the works of Akira Toriyama (the Dragon Ball manga-ka who also supplies artwork for the Dragon Quest RPG series). The in-game text is kind of funny, if poorly translated — which is part of its charm, admittedly. You can battle other players in quick, murderous sessions and experience the thrill of victory and/or the agony of having your money peeled away from you because you under-estimated an opponent.
Yeah, yeah. Now hand over that generic hunk of anime meat. It’s lunchtime.
Dragon Collection works because its ingredients come together to form a relatively polished product, but it’s not an original game by any means. If you’re not into free-to-play CCGs that keep you tapping at the screen like a monkey with some bare hope that you’ll find a rare card lying around, Dragon Collection won’t do anything for you. If you like CCGs, however, and you’re not baffled by the very idea of fiery snakes and demon dogs being regarded as ‘common’ monsters, GREE’s title is a decent addition to your own collection.