- System: Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: Inti Creates
- Developer: Inti Creates
- Release Date: January 31, 2019
- Price:$49.99 ($14.99 digitally for reduced content)
- Rating: T for Teen
- Genre: Action, Side Scroller
- Players: 1-4
- Official Website: http://dragonmfd.com/en/index.html
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
Originally released back in late January 2019, Dragon Marked for Death has finally been released as a physical version—versus the digital only original—adding new classes and various bonus DLC pieces. Despite the later release though, Dragon Marked for Death hasn’t changed much and that is a good thing for fans of the original versus or those who wish to have a version not altered. We never played the original version, but we feel that isn’t necessary to give feedback on this current release.
At its core, Dragon Marked for Death is like Castelvania, Metroid and Streets of Rage or any hack and slash old school 2D title. Players assume the role of one of four classes that each come with a variety of skills, abilities and even level variants. The four classes—Warrior, Witch, Shinobi and Empress—each play similarly in design but differ incredibly when it comes to actual combat and usefulness. The warrior is a tank class capable of using massive single strike attacks, activating a berserker mode to deal more damage—in favor of losing defense—and can use a shield to protect himself or others from harm all while offering healing.
The shinobi is an agile fighter who lacks power but makes up for it in speed and skill. Unlike the single strike warrior, the shinobi can target an enemy and unleash a barrage of attacks both close ranged and long ranged. While the shinobi is an easier target to kill, due to the massive speed boost and agility, shinobi players will find it easy to wreck any enemy with relative ease.
Witch players are easily one of the more control focused character classes. The witch can heal players and attack enemies with magical skills. However, the witch is very different overall as a character. Players will need to make magic incantations to use the spells and are open to attack while doing so. For single players—which we have a bit to say in a few moments—the witch is a rough character to utilize fully. Playing it safe from a distance will always be her strongest tactic but it makes fighting less personal which can be boring.
Lastly, our personal favorite class is the Empress and we’ll explain why. The empress class is a bit of an all-around class perfect for multiplayer focused gamers and or single player minded ones. With her dragon head attachment, the empress can fire fireball attacks from a distance or charge it up for a stronger shot. Equally, the empress can use a mighty sword attack—on top of her basic sword skills—for damaging combos that make bosses cave quickly. The empress is a perfect character for those who seek an old school game and one that won’t lose its appeal as soon as the game begins.
While Dragon Marked for Death does many things right—the combat is smooth and the quests are fun—it makes problems appear due to its overall gameplay format. Playing as the warrior class for two hours during our review made us grow so bored of using single hit attacks and charge moves that we put down Dragon Marked for Death for several hours before returning and playing as a new character. Due to the simple combat/gameplay style seen in Dragon Marked for Death, how you play and enjoy the game depends solely on your gameplay preferences. Single player focused gamers will hate the witch or warrior due to their co-op focused style. Meanwhile, co-op—as fun as it is—ruins the challenge of Dragon Marked for Death as lower levels posses a real threat. Even with levels changing based on the class you play as—which is a neat theme if we do say so ourselves—there’s little challenge overall to Dragon Marked for Death if you use the empress or shinobi classes in your single player gameplay. We actually died more times using the other classes then using the low health shinobi and the all-around average empress. Dragon Marked for Death adheres to an old school style which causes it to suffer slightly.
Though if we wish to end our review on a positive note, we must give credit to the graphics and music for Dragon Marked for Death. With sprites similar to old school action RPGs, Dragon Marked for Death is filled with gorgeous designs and retro themed settings. The soundtrack as well hits all the right retro notes giving us a flashback of our arcade going pasts. There are some repetitive dungeon designs here and there and the hub town—which is where you buy gear and play with others—could have been a bit more developed but overall Dragon Marked for Death looks and sounds great.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
- Levels changing based on character class chosen makes no one play through feel alike
- Amazing old school visuals and sound design
- Co-op locally or online is a nice good ole time to be had with friends
- The empress and shinobi classes make for a more modern game within a retro 2D title
- Warrior and empress classes make playing alone feel like a chore
- Very little difficulty overall
- Can occasionally get repetitive