In Dragon, Fly! - a free game for Android phone or Android tablet - you play a young dragon pup, sliding and flying across a mountainous landscape, collecting diamonds, completing quests and getting as far as you can before Dragon Mum cottons on to your disappearance and hunts you down.
The controls are straightforward, although a tutorial teaches you the basics of Dragon, Fly! Free. You simply tap and hold a finger onscreen to swoop downhill and release for the upward climb. A perfect dip is called a Swoosh, and three swooshes invoke Fire Mode, in which all points are doubled. Fire Mode is active for as long as you continue to swoosh through each valley and crevice. You gain points for the distance travelled, the number of diamonds you collect, how many swooshes you make and any sky flies (where you soar high into the clouds) you complete.
This one-touch control might sound simple, but we found Dragon, Fly! required a certain level of skill and good timing to master. See also: Group test: what's the best mobile game?
In each game you travel through various realms – the furthest we made it before Dragon Mum caught us was the eighth realm. Each is subtly different to the one before it, with varying landscapes to manoeuvre, but the basic principle is the same in all realms and levels. Dragon, Fly! is incredibly repetitive, but this didn't retract from our enjoyment of the game.
You'll need to complete three quests – things such as making three swooshes in a row, leaving the first realm in Fire Mode or making it to the fourth realm – to advance a level. Your dragon pup then changes colour in recognition of your achievement, and your headstart over Dragon Mum is increased. You can also upgrade your rank from Peasant to Squire, Earl and so on by increasing your high score. After the first few levels, however, you'll need to either upgrade to the full game (99p), which also removes the ads, or hand over 2,500 diamonds to proceed to the next.
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Your diamonds are also used as currency to buy potions. Four are available – Diamond, Fire, Speed and Stealth – and each lasts for three games. They take quite a hit on your pocket, though, costing between 3,000 and 5,000 diamonds each. We collected around 200 diamonds in each game we played, so a few thousand can take some time to collect.
What we really like about Dragon, Fly! is that although it includes the facility to buy more diamonds using real cash – as with many Android games, you can also collect these by installing various apps with which developer Four Pixels has partnerships – you absolutely don't need to do so in order to enjoy any aspect of the game. The alternative is simply to keep playing, collecting diamonds on your travels – and practice does make perfect, after all.
We tried Dragon, Fly! on both our Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc smartphone and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. Both platforms offered seamless gameplay, and Four Pixel's 2D environment was beautifully displayed on even the larger screen. The developer claims a minimum 60fps on all devices, and it certainly felt fast. A settings option also lets you disable all unnecessary graphics to speed things up.
An online global leaderboard lets you compare your performance with other Dragon, Fly! fans, but there's no need to be connected to the web to enjoy the game.
Our one gripe is that you can't have more than one in-progress game at a time, which would be useful if others are sharing your device. You can reset the quests to take you back to the beginning, however.