DragonCraft on iOS: Western role-playing strategy meets Eastern quirk

DragonCraft preview
DragonCraft preview

The world of mobile games in the West is in the middle of a sea change--wait, scratch that. It's more like welcoming an invasion, an Eastern invasion, that is. Japanese-style card battle games like Rage of Bahamut dominate the app stores where recent hits like Where's My Water once stood tall. It's one risky experiment that Japanese giants like DeNA and GREE are conducting, and it's already looking to pay off.

But ngmoco-owned, Brooklyn, New York-based FreeVerse doesn't want an Eastern mobile gaming invasion, it wants to marry the two worlds. The result of that vision is DragonCraft, a free-to-play, fantasy role-playing, strategy and Japanese-style monster-capture game all rolled into one app for Android and soon for iPhone and iPad. And the latter is exactly what FreeVerse president Ian Lynch Smith and VP Colin Lynch Smith excitedly showed off to us recently.

And boy, has a lot changed since then. DragonCraft now looks more and more like a Japanese monster-capture game while retaining its Western charm. "[DragonCraft] is sort of an evolution in that we're trying to bring some of those mechanics that are in the Japanese card playing games into a more Western theme that's more enjoyable for Western players," Ian confirms.

"We're at an early stage of our evolution where we've discovered these mechanics from Japan and these Zynga mechanics, and they work, people like them, but how do you turn it into the larger game experience that as gamers we really like," Colin questions rhetorically. "Blending those two things is the challenge and excitement for us."


FreeVerse seems to have focused a lot of time and effort on incorporating more Japanese mobile game elements into DragonCraft since we last saw the game. For instance, players can now fuse dragons together to create even stronger beasts--a staple in any monster-capture game from the East. These dragons are not only stronger, but have more energy to make use of in battle.

Of course, players are still tasked with building out their own kingdom to protect like the isometric simulator games that have taken Facebook and mobile devices in the West by storm. On the flip side of that same coin, DragonCraft is designed to grow more social as players progress, something that can't be said of most games on Facebook and mobile. Features like live chat and weekly collaborative events are designed to drive social interaction.

DragonCraft iPad screens
DragonCraft iPad screens

FreeVerse has been in business for 17 years now, shifting from developing games for Mac OS and consoles like the Xbox to blazing the trail into the early days of iOS. DragonCraft marks the game maker's next major shift into not just free-to-play gaming, but bringing two dissonant gaming philosophies together into one (hopefully) harmonious package.

If the two ideologies live in harmony within DragonCraft when it lands on iOS this August, FreeVerse could very well have its next franchise. "I would love for DragonCraft to become a franchise, but I think planning for that--you just make the best game you [can]," Colin says." In the short term I hope DragonCraft is a big hit and helps make us a destination for games. That's the goal. We're just trying to make cool games."

Do you expect FreeVerse's attempt to merge Japanese and Western-style free-to-play gaming to work out? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.