Dragon Bros Hands-On: One Small Bite Helps Make This Little Indie a Big Deal


 

So, yeah. I’m buried under games even more so than usual, but when something cool and FUN like UK-based Space Lizard StudiosDragon Bros pokes me in the eye (ow!) with a free demo I read can be completed in five minutes or less, I have to stop, drop and roll away from my backlog and get some quick hands-on time. That five minutes and twenty-seven seconds it took me to finish the demo build was pretty invigorating to say the least. Yes, they got my vote on Steam Greenlight and I want to see this one get done up right.

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Dragon Bros is a super-charged cute run & gun very much like you’d be playing on the Sega Genesis or SNES (minus that console’s better color palette). Your little dragon with the big gun is out to rescue his mom (in solo play, the game will be solo or co-op), and those robotic dopes shooting back aren’t going to stop him. well, unless you’re lousy at these types of games. As with many old-school games, this one’s a side-scroller where you can’t back up if you’ve missed a weapon pickup or dropped coins. Still, the action is fast paced and a slider on the options screen lets you choose difficulty on the fly. There seemed to be a few secrets just out of reach easily lost when the current screen slid over to a new one. But replaying the map and paying attention to spots where one can jump up to or down from helps out a great deal.

As the game is still early, there are some obvious tweaks that need to be done. The options menu needs some character sprite love for sure. The developers note on the Greenlight page that the game is still a WIP and has a ways to go before completion, but so far, they’re well on the way to making an instant classic in my bookIm.

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Go click away above, try that demo out and see for yourself what’s what. I think this team and these Bros. deserve a shot as well a space in your game library. That, and snapping up the Bros when they hit Steam means THIS can probably get made sooner. Wow.

UPDATE: Okay, I played a bit more and Got my time down a bit, but I need to slide away from this and get back to work. That backlog is staring at me and tapping its fingers waiting. Back in a bit.

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2 thoughts on “Dragon Bros Hands-On: One Small Bite Helps Make This Little Indie a Big Deal

  1. Hi Daf, big thanks for your article!

    It’s the Dragon Bros dev here, I think you made a very good analysis of our game. We had a lot of internal argument about the camera not backtracking, indeed it’s not an easy decision to make. The pros we found about it were:
    – it forces you to move forward and keep the action to the max all the time. If we allowed you to move backward, then we would either accept that the tension will go down a bit for you, or that we need a system to spawn enemies when you go backward.
    – as you said, you may notice it on your first try and miss it, so it forces you to replay the level and find out how to access it.
    – as we need to keep the two players on the screen, going backward would mean that we need a clever camera that understands where the players want to go. We don’t want to zoom out to keep it pixel perfect, so that means quite a lot of work and test on the camera algorithm!
    – at the moment we made sure that you never get blocked when moving forward (especially when playing 2 players). Doing the same for the backward movement complexifies level design and limits us.

    The cons of course is that you feel stuck and prisoner of the camera!

    So in the end we went for the easy and kind of working solution, believing that if metal slug was successful with no backward movement, we could make a cool game with no backward movement. Fingers crossed!

    And yes, if Dragon Bros is successful enough for our company to continue, we totally plan to do Vampire, Guns & Rock n’ Roll. It’s like 100% more promising, but first we need the tech, the xp and enough money to survive for a year (and possibly move away from the UK post brexit).

    Cheers!

    Like

    • Oh, you’re welcome! I realized soon after I posted on Steam that the wild camera idea I thought up was quite tricky to ask for (I blame too many polygon-based games in my brain with more freedom of movement!). Yep, the replayability thing is crucial because too many gamers these days blow through content *once* and don’t grasp the idea that finishing a game isn’t COMPLETING a game. Even more important, a good game is one that gets replayed frequently and not tossed back on the shelf, traded or deleted from one’s account.

      I want Dragon Bros to do well and yes, see VGRnR live to see the light of day. That screen (mock-up?) sure looks good enough to get some funding your way should that be an option. That said, I’ll keep spreading the word about the Bros in the meantime.

      Like

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