Here Be Dragons Review

Reviewed on PC

Also available on PC, Android and iOS

Here Be Dragons is a satirical turn-based strategy game developed by Red Zero Games.

The story of Here Be Dragons presents itself as a missing piece of history surrounding the voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492. What could have possibly been left out of the oft told tale of Christopher Columbus you ask? Why, the brave sailors that cleared the way of sea monsters of course! While we do see Christopher Columbus from time to time, we the players are instead tasked with controlling other...um...reputable captains. While Columbus is trying to be a pirate, the kingdom's alchemist and higher ups are actively manipulating the poor saps controlled by the player.

Gameplay in Here Be Dragons is a combination of luck and strategy. Each turn starts off with initiative being determined, and someone choking a cherub to spit out enough dice for all battlers on the screen. Said dice are both the source of the luck aspect and initiative as the team with the lowest total gaining the next initiative. Where the gameplay shines, obviously, is the strategic and tactical elements that follow. Each ship and enemy has a set of abilities which can only be utilized by using the appropriately numbered dice. If any dice are left that you are unable to use, the one damage is done per remaining dice. Many battles this by itself turned the tables for me by using my enemy's needed dice against them.

Additionally, each round of battle starts with a salvo attack, which can further be enhanced by assigning dice to your attack stat. The success of salvo attacks is determined by a simple comparison of attack and defense. If your attack is higher than your enemy's defense, then the remaining attack gets through. As you are able to assign all of your salvos before they occur, having both ships attack the same enemy can further overwhelm their defenses. Even more important than knowing what your abilities are, though, is staying aware of what your enemies are able to do to you. By knowing what they are capable of and subsequently keeping them from getting the needed dice, it is possible to stop yourself from getting poisoned, stop the enemy from healing, are so much more.

The story of Here Be Dragons, while entertaining, is not terribly deep. Very little time is spent getting the player invested in each captain before moving on to the next one, with each captain having their own version of dad-joke worthy satire and shtick as their only differentiating feature. I personally enjoyed the word play as lighthearted and fun, though I recognize that it may not be for everyone. I found some elements to be reminiscent of classic Monty Python tropes, ranging from Ni! and inquisitions to even the art style itself. Again, I found this to be a positive quality of my time with Here Be Dragons, but your miles may vary.

Overall

Hilarious satire, clever art style, and increasingly complex gameplay make Here Be Dragons a pleasant experience all around. Mild mechanic hiccups blemished my experience from time to time, but not enough to discourage from taking to the sea time and time again.

TDF SILVER

9

out of 10

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