by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
I normally try and come up with something clever to say at the start of an article. But Dragon Fin Soup is an RPG/ Roguelike which takes place in a world which rests upon a giant dragon turtle god travelling through space and time. What am I supposed to do with that?
The developers wanted to make the type of game that got them into the industry in the first place. The influences of the likes of Zelda and Chrono Trigger on the SNES are plain to see here. Dragon Fin Soup is almost like a strategy game in that as long as you don’t move around the grid based screen, the action will be paused. You can use this to your advantage and plan where you’re going to move and what you’re going to do. When you move, the world moves with you, so enemies will move towards you and attack, and so on.
There are three modes to choose from. Story mode acts as the kind of game you’d expect from an RPG. You will travel around the world picking up quests, earning loot and following the narrative from start to finish. In survival mode, you have to stay alive as long as possible, but you will need to go through every map in the world in order to finish it. Endless Labyrinth is a score based mode, where you have to go as far as possible through the labyrinth whilst earning points.
Beware of little girls with red hoods
We played a little at Gamescom this year, and it certainly scratches that old school RPG itch. In the main mode, you follow the story of Red Robin - think Red Riding Hood as a raging alcoholic with a shotgun. As you can probably tell from the premise I outlined in the introduction, there’s potential for a lot of crazy stuff going on. The gameplay is simple to control, but highly tactical. You can interact with everything in the world. You can chop trees, break rocks, mine for ore, go fishing… just about anything you can think of if you have the right tool. Everything is context sensitive, so it’s quite easy to play using just the mouse.
You can have companions which follow you around, but they have their individual AI, so you can’t tell them what to do. Instead you’ll need to lead them around into the best position, where they’ll do their own thing - and hopefully not die. It’s often useful to let them take the brunt of the damage from enemies. However, you won’t get the credit for kills unless you are directly involved. As well as standard attacks, you have special attacks. For example Robin has a powerful shotgun blast. She also has bombs which can be placed, or even kicked into position, but you’ll have to make sure you’re not in the blast radius when it goes off.
Survival mode is interesting, as you need to progress quickly without dying. You won’t be able to just skip past monsters to get far though. It’ll get harder as you go, so you’ll need to take risks and actually kill things in order to get experience and new items. There are plenty of open slots for equipment too, and lots of stats to consider. If you want to go deep into the RPG elements, you can compare all sorts of statistics such as whether a weapon does piercing, slashing or crushing damage, as well as which kind of elements the weapon is most proficient against. Or you can simply look at the basic level and assume a higher level item is better for you. There’s definitely heaps of choice.
Hours of gameplay
The story alone will be long enough to warrant a purchase, and the extra two modes are something that a dedicated gamer would easily be able to sink dozens, if not hundreds of hours into. If you’re looking for an old school RPG with several modern twists, it looks like you can certainly do a lot worse than Dragon Fin Soup.