Feed That Dragon Review

Question: What does a big dragon eat? Answer: Whatever the heck it wants. Feed That Dragon, a new physics-based puzzle game from Miniclip, stars a voracious reptile who knows exactly what he wants for dinner: burgers, pizza, cake, doughnuts, and everything else that will potentially land him in the dragon hospital for a triple-bypass 10 years down the road. It’s up to a hapless peasant named McDuff to feed the dragon. Unfortunately, it’s a tedious and often frustrating job.

When McDuff receives a royal order to feed the royal dragon, he jumps into work immediately. But this isn’t a dragon that nibbles at a cracker and then goes to sleep. No, the dragon must be fed over and over across dozens of levels spread over three different worlds.

If you don’t feed him, he’ll kill us all.

Typical of most gravity-based puzzle games, each level of Feed the Dragon has irregular terrain that’s dotted with all kinds of tricks and traps, including black holes, portals, fans, and running water. McDuff slings the dragon his food via catapult (as it’s not advisable to feed a dragon by hand), but the treats don’t simply follow a linear path and land in the beast’s mouth. You must utilize the wooden boards and elastic bands in each level to help the food bounce along and into the dragon’s food dish.

Sadly, the solution in each level is as rigid as the aforementioned boards. You must place each elastic band and plank at just the right location in order for the food to bypass the level’s traps. There is some room for player innovation, seeing as you’re also rewarded according to the number of stars you are able to grab out of the standard 3, but not very much. Attempting a level over and over again in order to get the planks and bands “just so” is mind-numbing. By contrast, Backyard Bounce, another recent physics-based puzzle game for the iPhone, gives you a wide variety of gizmos and gadgets to help you guide a basketball into a hoop. The more efficiently you perform your task, the greater your reward.

Lob it like you mean it.

Feed that Dragon has another major flaw: if you’re stuck on a level, you’d better figure out a solution, ’cause you ain’t going nowhere until you do. You can throw up your hands and opt to let the game show you the level’s solution, though a gentle hint or two would be far more appreciated than the total answer–especially since you have a set number of solutions allotted to you. Want more? Buy them. Want to skip a level? Buy new levels to unlock them immediately. Otherwise, it’s back to trial and error until you get your solution–or just give up on the game.

It’s too bad, because Feed that Dragon has some very nice animation and a very friendly dragon whose mannerisms match those of a gigantic puppy dog. You really don’t want the big fella to go hungry, but not all is fair in the sport of dragon-feeding.

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