And, of course: Pay lots of money! Or wait a really long time before you can do anything! Yes, Knights & Dragons from GREE has some fun rpg elements set in a somewhat cliched, but really quite colorful and enjoyable world. Basically, you are a knight who must rebuild your kingdom, fight the bad guys, etc. You’ve heard the story before, and Knights & Dragons doesn’t really do anything new in that area. That really isn’t a deal breaker for me, because it’s the type of story you expect in this type of game, and how it is carried out in gameplay is really the true test.
As you start Knights & Dragons, you get to name and somewhat customize your knight. I say somewhat, because you really can’t do much more than change his hairstyle, and the color of his skin, hair, and eyes. You also get to do that with the other characters in your party, as you acquire them, so you end up with a bunch of guys who really look like clones of one another. That’s mildly annoying, but not that big of a deal. What really annoyed me is the use of the extra characters in battles. They just stand there, until you die. Then they will fight, over your dead body. It’s not really that big of a deal if your guy dies, but what it means is that your other characters do not level up nearly as fast, unless you switch turn orders around between each and every fight, which is again, kind of annoying.
The gameplay in Knights & Dragons is basically battles and building. In battle, you don’t have control over much more than hitting the “fight” button, or hitting the button for a special attack once it has filled. While you can build and enhance your armor between fights, it still feels like you are more watching than participating in the battles. Even your choice of battles are restricted. You must beat each stage several different times at several different difficulties before a new one is unlocked. And fighting in the battle arena restricted to whoever else is on, and oftentimes they are either way higher or way lower in level than you, making it an uninteresting fight either way.
Building your kingdom is a cool feature that involves putting up various types of buildings, based generally on the quests you are given. Fountains, churches, guard towers, etc. all require money both to prepare the land and erect the buildings. You’ll also need to either throw in some crystals or wait for a timer to count down before they are complete. Crystals, of course, are going to cost you, once you’ve used up the few you start with. In fact, just about everything you do will require crystals or a whole lot of time. If your knight gets injured in battle, you’ll need crystals or a half an hour or so to get him healthy enough to fight again. If you do a few battles in the arena to pass the time, you’ll need crystals for more energy before you can fight more.
I would equate trying to play Knights & Dragons with Mafia Wars (or any of the countless social games) on Facebook. You can do a few things here and there, and then you’re stuck. You either have to play it for just a few minutes every day, or pay over and over again. I have said it many times before, and I will say it again here: I would far prefer paying a few bucks for a quality game than sinking time into one only to find out that I won’t get anywhere unless I keep plugging in money. For me, anyways, the microtransaction focus in Knights & Dragons makes it a game I just can’t see myself playing. However, if you’re looking for something to just kill a few minutes here and there, or you don’t mind supporting the developers with some cash, then it is definitely worth a look for its colorful graphics and ever changing world.