This follow up to 2015’s Dragon Hills moves from a fantasy realm to a sci-fi setting. The burrowing/leaping gameplay of the original has been retained, but the level of destruction has been ramped up to create some joyous, addictive gameplay.
In Dragon Hills 2, the world has been overrun with zombies! You must travel back in time to prevent this uprising of the undead. But, oops, you just lost the components for the time machine. Luckily, you have a robot dragon with tunnelling capabilities to help get the items back and smash some putrefied fools along the way.
The main objectives are to collect zombie brains for time travel fuel and to defeat the bosses to retrieve the time machine parts. Holding your finger on the screen makes the dragon burrow downwards; the longer you hold down, the further it will go. Releasing your finger will send the dragon back up to the surface so it can plough through zombies, vehicles, and buildings. Or you can just leave it to slide around on its belly, but it’s not very dignified. There are some additional rules that affect the dragon’s movement: it automatically tunnels upward through buildings, and additional momentum can be gained if the player emerges from the ground and passes through a building. This can result in some spectacular leaps. Metal bridges can’t be passed through, and they slow the dragon down. But speed can be gained underground by rhythmically moving the dragon in a serpentine wave. The player must be careful with this though, as spending too long underground can result in the dragon taking damage. The game’s control system is simple and accessible, but avoiding the level’s hazards, including pits of zombie ooze, laser fences, and zombie gunfire, requires speedy decision-making and sharp reflexes.
Because of the basic dragon controls, sometimes you can set yourself on a collision course with an unavoidable hazard. For example, you could end up dropping helplessly into an ooze pit, like a pinball falling between the flippers. But it never gets too frustrating; it’s so fun and compelling that you’ll just get right back at it. The bosses each provide a distinct challenge, and the tougher ones have plenty of hit points, but with the upgrades available, they won’t be taxing for too long. Progress through the game is enjoyably steady.
The demolition sound effects really make the rampage thrilling. The cacophony of percussive sounds gives the game a visceral energy.
Dragon Hills 2 has a pleasant, if perhaps well-trodden, Flash cartoon aesthetic, vaguely reminiscent of games like the Rayman series or Angry Birds. The game’s destructible environments are where it really shines though. It’s glorious. The explosions, structural damage, and ragdoll zombie launching are super satisfying. But the game’s strongest suit is its sonic texture. The demolition sound effects really make the rampage thrilling. The cacophony of percussive sounds gives the game a visceral energy. There is also a cool, spooky-rockabilly, Munsters-esque soundtrack.
In addition to zombie brains, you can collect coins. Collecting enough blue/yellow ones grants a speed boost. And the gold ones can be used to augment your dragon’s stats or spent on an array of unlockables. These comprise new dragon abilities, guns that your purple-haired Daenerys can temporarily wield, consumable powers, and new zones. There is also the option to purchase coins for real cash. There’s certainly plenty amongst the unlockables, as well as the inclusion of achievements and leaderboards, to encourage long-term gameplay.
Dragon Hills 2 isn’t the most innovative game in terms of its story concept or visual style, but it will provide addictive gameplay and satisfy an appetite for destruction.
|Compelling gameplay. Satisfying destruction. Accessible controls. Steady progression. Great sound effects and music. Long term value.||Unoriginal in some ways. Occasional unavoidable hazards.|