Games that Don’t Suck: DragonVale

Today’s game that doesn’t suck is DragonValeicon (free/universal) , a Freemium title from BackFlip Studios. Before I go into why it doesn’t suck, let me just point out that this game actually came DANGEROUSLY close to getting a “Suck” rating, solely for the one fatal flaw that I will go into later in this review. However the awesomeness was ultimately able to beat out the suckage, so If you’re into Sim-like time wasters to help you escape the tedium that Is your real life, there is much to like in DragonVale.

Watch the above video if you don’t feel like reading anymore. It should give you a decent idea of the gameplay.

Long story short, DragonVale is a Sim-like game where you are put in charge of creating a (hopefully) successful Dragon Zoo. In order to bring in visitors to your park (or more importantly, your visitor’s MONEY into the park) you will need Dragons, and the bigger the better. There’s a quick tutorial that does an excellent job walking you through the basics of the game, and gets you set up with your first dragon, dragon habitat, and goes over the basics of how to feed and breed your dragons.

The breeding Cave is where you can corss breed species to create new ones.

Two of the biggest things DragonVale has going for it is that unlike other similar games, like God Finger, there is no real downside to not playing DragonVale for a couple of days. Your gold does not “spoil” or anything if you neglect your park, you simply don’t make any more money than each exhibit can generate until you collect that money. But second, and more central to what makes DragonVale so fun to play, is the ability to cross breed your dragons and create entirely new races of dragons. For example, you might decide to cross a Fire Dragon with an Earth Dragon and create a Lava type dragon, or a Plant and Fire Dragon to create a Poison type Dragon. For some reason there’s a very Pokemon feel to the game in that each of your dragons starts out so adorably cute that you might not want to evolve them, but bigger dragons bring in bigger paydays, so feed them you will until they turn into very cool-looking adults.

All the dragons are adorable – At least as babies

Another big plus is the level design and art work. DragonVale is extremely colorful, and the animations are fluid and oddly fun to watch given how repetitive they ultimately are. There is much more to the game than I am going into here, but you probably will need to invest a good 6 or so hours playing in order to unlock some of the cooler achievements. Similar to other freemium games like Tiny Tower, you can speed things along by using the game’s “real money” currency of gems. However, you do not need to spend any money at all if you’re patient, and you can actually earn gems by having Game Center friends gift them to you (incidentally, my Game Center ID is “Dr Macenstein” (no period) and my iPad is “MacensteiniPad” if you have extra gems lying around…).

As you advance, you can purchase additional worlds to expand your park into

Kind of sucky though

Earlier I mentioned there was something about DragonVale that was so lame it almost cost it the coveted “Games that Don’t Suck” rating, and that thing is that for some reason I cannot fathom, it requires an internet connection to play. There is nothing about this game that is any different from Tiny Tower which plays fine on an iPod touch on a plane or long car ride, yet for some reason the game tells you it cannot launch without internet. The fact that DragonVale feels it needs to constantly talk to its server has me a little wary of what it’s doing and what it’s doing to my iPhone’s battery life/data usage when away from WiFi, but more importantly it alienates a HUGE potential part of the game audience – kids. If you’re an iPhone user, odds are the internet connection thing won’t be a problem, but since I got my kids addicted to the game as well, they have expressed their displeasure about this via the only way they know how – whining. And I have to listen to it.

So if BackFlip can just switch the way the game handles internet requirements (and again, I suggest the Tiny Tower method of check-in when you can, but play fine when away from internet as well) this game will be the perfect colorful timewaster.

203 Responses to “Games that Don’t Suck: DragonVale”
  1. exil says:

    add me please, i just started and am figuring out the games and don’t have any friends yet. Will send gems back. ID: alexisanne6

  2. ULTIMATEDV says:

    ADD ME ON DRAGONVALE! SENDING GIFTS EVERYDAY ESPECIALLY TO PEOPLE WHO SENT ME A GIFT!! gamecenter account: REXOTÍC (please note that its not a normal i)

  3. Jayson says:

    Plz add me name is doctor who lord and how to get rainbow,moon,sun???!!!

  4. Castle says:

    Jcastle347. Add me. Anyone know why I can’t currently gift? Friends are greyed out and touching free gifts does nothing.

  5. spacer says:

    add: irspaceman on game center

  6. popay!! says:

    To get a rainbow your best option is to get a crystal and blue fire.

    To get a blue fire you must breed an ice (preferably or any cold hybird for hybrids dont have oppisites) and s fiore dragon. You must use an ice hybrid because cold and fire are opposites and you wont be able breed them….. there is still chance it will come out other wise but this is the best option.

  7. rawr n stuff says:

    hey everyone reading this add me xxglarebearxx, im addicted to dragonvale so i will send gems back to you, <33

  8. Waffles5765 says:

    Add me will send gem 4 gem ryuu5765 or

  9. Xzabia19 says:

    I have stumbled across this blog and I have to agree 110 percent about the Internet sucky-ness. I myself thought the game alil stupid at first but my 6 year old has gotten several of us addicted. And I have from the first time he played thought it alittle retarded that u can’t play this game on the iPod without Internet. I am assuming the game was intended for younger ppl and should have been modified for them with the knowladge that not all 6 year olds can afford a phone bill for an iPhone or wireless connection. Maybe if we all send in comments to the makers we can have them tweak the program they are using. If u need or would like more gems –, and/or devgummybear19. We will return the gems. Also my son has made a valid point it would be nice if we could trade dragons and or eggs. Maybe even be able to interact with eachothers dragons some how. The game is very reparative but deff addicting.

    • FlameFist says:

      “I am assuming the game was intended for younger ppl and should have been modified for them with the knowladge that not all 6 year olds can afford a phone bill for an iPhone or wireless connection.”

      Most 6-year-olds don’t have an iPhone. Those that do normally don’t pay their own phone bill or wireless connection. Their parents do. And if you’re making your own 6-year-old pay that, you’re a cruel, horrendous parent and I’m glad I’m not related to you.

      • :)
        What I was saying is that kids do NOT have iPhones, but the game is geared towards them. Since their iPod touches do not have mobile internet access, they can only play the game at home, where they have wifi, since Dragonvale forces an internet connection.
        – The Doc

  10. Trenk says:

    Add me! GC: Trenk1978

  11. Jake says:

    Add me on game centre and ill send gem for gem my name is tubbsy1231

  12. Chadz4 says:

    Add me “chadz4”. I have a dragonsai gem tree for u guys. :)

  13. ya_you says:

    Daily player, need friends for gems, add please : ya_you

  14. EDI8792 says:

    Send me a friend request and a gem and I will send one back GC account name:EDI8792

  15. I says:

    $ADE$ plz add

  16. john says:

    add me: WUTTHUHFUH

    gem for gem

  17. Jack says:

    Add me jbfn1625 on the gamecenter gem for a gem

  18. Lisa says:

    Please add me I have no neighbors in dragonvale!

  19. fred says:

    add me for gem 4 gem!!!! i got the dragon gem tree!!!!! : crazyhater69
    add me for gem 4 gem!!!! i got the dragon gem tree!!!!! : crazyhater69
    add me for gem 4 gem!!!! i got the dragon gem tree!!!!! : crazyhater69
    add me for gem 4 gem!!!! i got the dragon gem tree!!!!! : crazyhater69
    add me for gem 4 gem!!!! i got the dragon gem tree!!!!! : crazyhater69

  20. Cfuller5566 says:

    Add me i have dragon gem tree: CFULLER5566

  21. Ullis1983 says:

    Looking for new friends, plz add Ullis1983

  22. Brandon570 says:

    I Bought The Dragon Tree About A Week Ago… Its Worked Fine Up Until Three Days Ago.. I Weirdly Wasn’t Allowed To Gift Random People On My Friends list.. And Now Today I Can’t Gift Anyone At All… Keep In Mind I Have A Tree Full Of Gems Right Now And Im Level 19… SoOo Confused..

  23. Partyanimal2012 says:

    Gem 4 gem partyanimal2012 please add

  24. Kay says:

    I have a gem tree and need friends.


  25. Kay says:

    Need friends, Please ADD


  26. yo says:

    add andremimi and mimi et andre for gem 4 gem. Daily online !!!!!!!!!!

  27. Blev's says:

    Hit me up. Gem for gem: Blev110728

  28. Tiff says:

    Add me as a friend if you want to exchange gems. Name: koerner1515

  29. funny guy999 says:

    add funny guy999 to trade gems, if you send me a gift, i will send one back thank you.

  30. Hckr says:

    Add me for gems colinhckr

  31. Nick says:

    Add nickbuddy81 to get gem for gem. I play probably 3 times a day. I have a dragonsia gem tree too

  32. xFalcon18x says:

    Im lvl 20 on dragonvale right now and I have moon and rainbow and I’m still tryin to get a sun dragon but for moon ur best shot is to breed crystal with blue fire that’s how I did it for rainbow I did sonic and storm so if u guys have any questions or want to see those dragons at me xFalcon18x

  33. xFalcon18x says:

    I also give gems each day so add me

  34. xFalcon18x says:

    I also just bred a fire and panlong dragon and just got another rainbow if this helps at all

  35. Mjone306 says:

    Can you pleaze add me for gems my
    is funkeymonkey306

  36. Aye JaqueSs says:

    Add for any free gems;
    Aye JaqueSs


  37. Qwerty546 says:

    Add me please!!!!! I really will enjoy the gems. Add me and I’ll give you gems. I am Qwerty546 on game center (With capital “Q”)

  38. Alex says:

    gem for gem please i’m desperate for them I would appreciate it =D. alexfan2 is my gamecenter name, no capitals.

  39. wiillem354 says:

    i exchange gem 4 gem add me plz:swagga0502

  40. crazydood77 says:

    Please be my friend someone!!!! I dont have any friends yet!!! ID: crazydood77

  41. VeeChanell says:

    I have all the dragons except for the moon. I tried everything but can’t seem to get that 1 dragon!!. Please help!!!!!! Add me: VeeChanell

  42. Jgravage12 says:

    Add me jgravage12 I’ll send gems back!!!

  43. Emma =) says:

    Add me – littlemisssunshine543

  44. Hanna.r.t says:

    Wanna add? :] I’ll send u gems ASAP – hanna.r.t

  45. Ali says:

    Add me : Ali2500

  46. williamsalley29 says:

    gem for gem williamsalley29

  47. Mee says:

    I can not breed blue fire dragon, please tell me how to do that.

  48. Alcestis says:

    Hey guys,

    Please add me too. I will send a gem back for all the gems I get everyday!!

  49. abbie! says:

    hey add me abb-biebs ill send you a gem everyday if you send one back! thankss x

  50. Carayna says:

    Add me for gems! Carayna

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