Shadowrun: Dragonfall Review

Shadowrun: Dragonfall Review

Feb 13, 2015

Shadowrun: Dragonfall starts off great. Players are offered a bewildering array of skills and races to choose from. All of them are clearly described and it is really possible to make just about any character you like. Rifle toting elven dignitaries, dwarf computer hackers and troll mages are more than possible.

Screenshot_2015-02-03-05-26-23Shadowrun: Dragonfall is a tactical RPG. Combat is all about good positioning and flanking attacks, using cover and picking off enemies smartly. Using your party to support each other is essential and running in guns blazing will result in death in record time. The game is difficult and fans of X-com or other rock hard tactical games should settle in for a long tough campaign full of exciting tactical gameplay.

A robust help system also teaches gameplay concepts in a fast and simple way. The game’s branching dialogue system is loads of fun and the game is very well written with lots of funny moments and character nuances. The game has a real magic vs tech feel to it as guns exist alongside mages and totem sprits. Shadowrun’s world is vibrant.

Unfortunately, nearly every other aspect of Shadowrun: Dragonfall on Android besides the character creation and story is a dismal failure.

Screenshot_2015-02-03-05-01-37Even on the biggest phones on the market, like the Note 4, Shadowrun is the definition of unplayable. Fonts are completely unreadable. Interface icons are so tiny it’s difficult to press the one you meant to and characters and enemies alike are indistinct, vague shapes on the large 5.7in screen. There is no excuse for this whatsoever. There isn’t even a zoom control. X-com Enemy Unknown, a simular (much older) game managed to be playable even on the smaller S4 and it is even better on the Note 4. The sheer smallness of everything in Shadowrun makes it impossible to see what skills do, let alone coordinate combat in a meaningful manner.

Things don’t improve very much when output to a big screen either. There is still no zoom control and you still need to use your phone to control the game’s tiny, tiny interface.

Shadowrun: Dragonfall looks poor. The game looks a year or two old and the muddy textures, flat colour palette and microscopic size of everything make it a dull looking game to say the least. The game is also extremely laggy. It takes multiple attempts to get taps to register and movement feels very stilted. The sound is very flat. Unexciting gunfire and quiet, subdued spell effects add no atmosphere to the game at all.

Shadowrun: Dragonfall takes a great PC game with a great story, impressive writing, fascinating skill trees and interesting tactical gameplay and ruins it with zero mobile optimization, appalling performance problems and one of the worst interfaces seen in an Android game in recent memory. By all means buy it for PC, but stay far, far away from this unplayable port.

Bungie Announces “Aerospace” Mobile Publishing Initiative

Bungie Announces “Aerospace” Mobile Publishing Initiative

Jul 5, 2011

When it comes to independent gaming, there is one name that does not come up: Bungie. Well, at least not when counting the past decade or so while they were owned by Microsoft, though their roots lie as an independent developer making games for Mac, and are now technically independent again. It remains that Bungie and their massively popular Halo series that they created are the antithesis of what most modern mobile games are about. They’re all about the latest graphics, extremely high production values, all using the now-standard template of first-person shooter gameplay with space marines fighting aliens that the game popularized. So, when Bungie announces a new project, there’s obviously the expectation that it would follow in these footsteps, no? That’s the thing about expectations; sometimes they are defied. And that’s what Bungie’s Aerospace has just done.

Aerospace is not a game, per se; it is a program “created to help small, independent developers launch their mobile and social games.” What this program is offering is access to Bungie’s resources, while keeping their creative freedom. This means that they will be able to access services like, which has provided the backbone for the Halo series’ stat tracking and media sharing in recent years; developers making their mobile and social games might be able to utilize similar features with’s infrastructure.

The first game that is launching under the Aerospace program is “Crimson,” created by Harebrained Schemes. This studio is lead by Jordan Weisman, known from his work with FASA Interactive (Shadowrun, MechWarrior), and specifically with Bungie on the “I Love Bees” Alternate Reality Game with Halo 2. Most interestingly, this game is launching on both iOS and Android later this summer. It appears as if the Aerospace program values multiplatform releasing, not just releasing on iOS. Read the announcement and FAQ for Aerospace here.

The Halo series presented great production values, and the news of companies funding smaller developers to allow them to make projects they might not be able to make without some additional money is a very good thing; Gamevil recently announced a $10 million fund to help support independent development as well. Hopefully more high-quality projects from smaller developers will come of these funding efforts.