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Kill the Dragon iPhone game buried by bad design

by Andrew Koziara

Upon hearing the game concept of "Dwarven miners killing dragons with dynamite," one would think it would be awesome and totally worth downloading! But in Kill the Dragon's case, one would be wrong. This isn't to say that it's a bad game, but it has some really sloppy game design and horrible user interface choices that keep it from being good.

When starting Kill the Dragon, the player is brought straight to an overview of the first level, with a yellow arrow on the right. Upon investigating the functionality of said arrow, the player soon discovers this is the level select, and there is no title screen. The only way to select levels is to scroll through them one by one, and it can take a couple of seconds for each transition. This is awful, as there are more than 100 playable levels.

When you've finally found the level you want to play, you simply tap the screen, and the camera zooms in on your character, who's controlled by tilting the iPhone. There's no reason for this control scheme. It doesn't add more challenge, it's simply annoying. Often, your character can walk off the edge of the map and die before you ever see him. You can also tap on nearby tiles to mine/destroy them, and you throw dynamite by tapping the player character and dragging out in the direction you'd like to throw. You win a level by knocking the dragon into the endless abyss below. The levels stagnate very quickly, though, as there are never any new mechanics introduced.

When you finish a level, you get scored based on how long it took to kill the dragon, as well as a dwarf bonus, which is never clearly defined, though I assume it's for the amount of non-player character dwarves you kept alive, and a gold bonus for destroying the few rare gold tiles.

Unfortunately, the only way to see your high score is to play and beat the level a second time. This is all really a shame, because there are some great ideas here, but the horrible user interface kills this dragon of an app faster than a dwarf with some dynamite. Luckily, the first 20 levels are completely free, and the 82 remaining only cost a dollar, so you can download it to see for yourself if it's worth it.

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