With HBO’s Game Of Thrones having returned for a sixth season, pop culture fans all over the country are once again diving headfirst into Westerosi lore. Jon Snow fanatics are insisting their favorite character will find a way to rise from the dead, various theories are flying back and forth across the Internet, and discussion about the show has become such a big deal that HBO introduced this show as a sort of roundtable recap to follow each new episode. But in addition to all this, the return of Game Of Thrones evokes one more feeling in all of us: secretly, we all just want to be the blood of the dragon.
Depending on how you feel about the show you may have grown a little tired of the Daenerys narrative, and where the show is now her young dragons aren’t of too much use to do. But if you watched the end of season five (spoiler alert), you saw Daenerys in a certain death scenario only to be saved by a fire-breathing monstrosity who flew into a gladiator arena, did some major damage, and flew off with her to a peaceful grassy knoll.
I’ve been a little surprised, actually, at the lack of focus on video game dragons in the aftermath of Game Of Thrones’s rise to the top of the TV world. There are multiple Game Of Thrones-based games out there, but none put much (if any) emphasis on the dragons, and outside of these titles, nothing really addresses the fantasies from the show. For some time, a slot game here was perhaps the closest thing to a mainstream, modern game based on dragons. Called Dragon Kingdom, it’s simply a casino arcade game that embraces the mythology of dragons for artistic purposes. Images of different dragons and burning icons are certainly fun to look at, and make for great improvements on standard slot reel designs, but it won’t exactly make you feel like the blood of the dragon.
But last year, a mobile game emerged that might be the closest thing you can find to, shall we say, the Daenerys experience. And though it was largely overlooked upon its release, the app – War Dragons, by Pocket Gems, Inc. – is actually one of the better mobile gaming experiences to come out in the last few years.
Built as a real-time strategy game with co-op and versus multiplayer elements, it’s essentially a dragon RPG melded with a better-looking Clash Of Clans. Your task is simply to collect, train, and improve dragons, with over 100 different breeds, so to speak, available (as well as one particularly deadly monster named Khrysos). Not only do you gather a team of dragons, but you also design an island fortress with human defenses to guard them as you look to ascend to the crown, either on your own or alongside other players in a guild. Along the way you’re always collecting and improving, and can even win treasures and new dragon eggs as achievements.
It’s not related at all to Game Of Thrones, but it’s about as good a simulation as you’ll find of being a “dragon lord,” or as the show puts it, the blood of the dragon. That’s pretty appealing in and of itself, but intelligent game design, engaging multiplayer options, and absolutely gorgeous graphics push War Dragons over the edge. This is a very satisfying mobile gaming experience.