Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp Review

When the original Dragon’s Lair hit the iPhone, it was an epic event. Although that game has been released on a smorgasbord of platforms over the years, this was the first time that it had been released in all its original glory in a portable format. The only thing that could possibly top it is its over-the-top sequel. Can Dirk the Daring do it again?

Dragon’s Lair 2 has already been released on Blu-ray for HD-loving folks, and we’re pretty sure this one will eventually get the HD treatment for iOS, but the standard definition version still looks great on a retina display. As this style of game is barely a game at all (it’s nothing more than a few minutes of quick-time events), it’s the quality of the animation and story that makes owning it worthwhile, and assuming you enjoyed the original, there is nothing to keep you from fawning over the sequel.

Why are you at the kiddie table?

Time Warp is a much zanier game than the original. This time, the evil wizard Mordroc whisks Princess Daphne away in a time warp in a scheme to take her as his bride, and this sends Dirk through a bizarre trail of familiar fairy tales and alternate histories: Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, and even Beethoven make appearances.

The shift in style certainly differentiates it from the classical fantasy of the original–and that may be off-putting to some–but it also makes for a much more comical outing this go around. It’s short and sweet, but it’s also more memorable.

The control scheme hasn’t changed, and you’ll do little more than tap buttons as they light up, telling you which direction to move Dirk or have him swing his sword. The iPhone version has a leg up over the original arcade and home versions, though. The old game had flashes of light on different areas of the screen to tell you which way to go, but they could often be deceiving, especially when the flash ambiguously appeared in a corner of the screen. Here, your on-screen touch controls also flash, making it much more manageable.

Coming atcha.

Still, you’ll probably die a lot. For old-school challenge, you can play with three or five lives, but if you really just want to experience a quick run through of the animation, infinite lives are also available.

To round out the experience, a Director’s Cut mode is offered that gives you an alternate ending, which is a rare treat in a genre of game that is shoehorned by its canned animations and lack of diversity.

Dragon’s Lair 2, like its predecessor, is a timeless tribute both to the beloved animation of Don Bluth and to the wow factor of the gorgeous graphics that made kids of a bygone era giddy with excitement. For the young at heart, it’s a must have, and for the young in age, it provides a great insight into gaming innovation of decades past.

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