While the formula behind DragonVale (free) is not original, the fresh theme makes it a welcome entry into the freemium farming genre. If resource-management apps or dragons sound appealing, you might want to give DragonVale a try.
The main premise is to create a virtual dragon zoo in any fashion you desire. You will start with a single floating sky island and the ability to purchase a few habitats and decorative items for your virtual zoo. As you complete goals at each level, you will gain access to new habitats, and the ability to breed new types of dragons and buy bigger and better buildings and decorations.
The artwork and sound in DragonVale are adequate, but not outstanding in any way. The biggest treat visually is the changing animations that each type of dragon will exhibit as you feed them and they level up.
While I did enjoy the planning and design of the items in my zoo, the real draw of the app is the breeding and raising of the dozens of dragon types in the game. Initially, only three varieties will be available to purchase. As you progress, more will become available to buy, but the more interesting way to obtain dragons is by breeding them. Crossing two different dragon types will give an unpredictable offspring with new habitat needs and money-earning potential for your zoo. Breeding, as well as many of the construction projects you might decide to take on in DragonVale, will take some time to complete, sometimes many hours. This will require a lot of patience on your part, or you should be ready to shell out generously with in-app purchases in order to see instant results.
Some probably will find the slow progress of the app too tiresome. I, on the other hand, try to view it as a change of pace from many other apps. It can also be a pleasant surprise to see how far things have progressed after not touching the app for a day or two. Gladly, there are no penalties for neglecting the app for days or even weeks at a time, and the dragon food that you grow will never spoil. The only real drawback to not frequently visiting DragonVale is the loss of potential profits. Each habitat has a maximum level of gold that it can hold, and once that level is met, it will stay put until you have a chance to retrieve it. This mechanic has already been proven to work in other apps, and it even has the bonus effect of keeping you from overdosing on the app in any one sitting. The long and drawn-out pace, should keep DragonVale relevant on your iOS device for quite some time.