What follows is a review of the free app, “Dawn of Magic,” which is supposedly a throwback to older RPG games. Fair warning: this review isn’t going to be pretty.
How did I find it?
I’ve had Dawn of Magic sitting around on my phone for a long time after having picked it up in one of those “free for a day” promos. After checking it on the app store periodically over the course of several months, I’ve pretty much confirmed that the game’s completely free now. I’m not sure why, but the promo has apparently become permanent. Whatever the reason, it’s rated five stars, so I figured it was worth trying out for an hour.
I want my hour back
Many things become very clear just moments into the game. The first thing that jumps out at you is that there was obviously no one proofreading any of the dialogue in this game:
There were an amusing number of spelling errors like that one in the hour that I played, and they make the dialogue seem less like convincing banter between characters and more like a chat log between two stoners who don’t care about how correctly they type.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg
I don’t expect perfection from a free game, I really don’t, but there are so many problems with this game that I don’t even know where to start.
The music is of a really low quality and sometimes doesn’t loop properly, movement is awkward thanks to the imprecise control pad at the bottom-left of the screen, you initiate dialogue and use objects by walking into things (which is particularly frustrating given the awkward controls), you frequently get into battles with enemies even when you’re nowhere near touching them, equipment is a complete and utter maze of things you can’t even wear until you’re 10-20 levels stronger, and the art ranges from passable (many of the portraits) to hilariously cartoonish and ugly (characters in battle).
That’s not even mentioning the pay-to-win setup
This game is basically a scam to make money. This becomes obvious just minutes in:
“Pay 2000 gold for this! Pay 1500 gold for that!” That’s basically the game in a nutshell. Most games make fighting monsters a feasible way of earning this money—and technically you do get gold by beating monsters—but it’s simply not realistic here. Below is a screen of what I earned for a fight toward the end of my hour with the game:
It would take such a hilariously long time for that to add up that it’s a joke.
Pay, or grind like a mutha
You may have noticed the option to watch a video to earn gold, but that’s also not a feasible way to make money; watching a video nets you 50 gold when you exit the menu, and this doesn’t stack, meaning watching 3 videos before going back to the menu still earns you only 50 gold. These videos are 15 to 30 seconds long and incredibly annoying, so watching a bunch of them to earn gold isn’t realistic.
And the “earn free gold” option?
Take a look for yourself:
I think it’s obvious what this game’s primary goal is.
Now, I can understand a free game trying to make a buck, but not when it’s at the expense of that game’s entertainment value. A perfect example of how this game kills its entertainment value by trying to make money is how it allows you to revive for free early on:
You can do this 100 times in a fight if you want to. Being able to take on anyone without any risk of losing a fight completely ruins the challenge early on, and when this is changed, it swings way too far in the other direction:
“Remember that thing you were relying on earlier as monsters got way stronger and you suddenly couldn’t keep up? Well, now you have to pay. A lot.”
Then there’s the constant spam
Just take a look for yourself:
This kind of thing seems to be around every corner.
This is truly one of the most misleading, least entertaining free games I’ve ever played. Even Hit Tennis 3 blew it out of the water, and slogging through that game was pretty much miserable. Dawn of Magic is really something that most everyone should avoid like the plague, though if you’re committed to either long hours of pointless grinding or paying real money to see a story full of misspelled words, this might be your game.
However, if you’re willing to spend either time or money on this game, please stop gaming altogether for the sake of the rest of us. The kind of people who support games like this are the ones who have effectively poisoned gaming in general by making microtransactions and pay-to-win games acceptable, so it’d be better for everyone if such people were to disappear.