Snappy Dragons blends elements of Angry Birds and Worms to create something wonderfully unique

Extensive Studios has just released a new title for iOS by the name of Snappy Dragons. A combination of both old and new design elements, it is an app that plays similarly to Angry Birds, boasts the destructive style of Worms, and incorporates an original flavor all its own. It’s a physics puzzle game that challenges users with one basic goal, and that is to eliminate all enemies on screen.

It sounds familiar, and at first glance one might think it to be another clone where players lob objects at structures to kill all inside. This is not the case with Snappy Dragons, though. Players take control of a dragon (sometimes more than one) and from a static vantage point must catapult fireballs onto a level peppered with evil wizards. The idea is to eliminate them all.

The control works almost exactly like Angry Birds, but in reverse (meaning players don’t tap and pull backwards on the dragon, but forward). A moderate arc is displayed for aiming purposes, and the fireball travels with standard physics. The key difference here is that the levels are all destructible. What this means is that players will often have to destroy certain enemies while strategically destroying the environment, Worms-style, so that they can actually hit the other ones. Moreover, the enemy wizards can be killed by a direct hit, falling, landing in the water at the bottom of each level, or through various environmental hazards.

It’s actually quite a challenge too, as players are granted only a limited number of shots. What’s more is that the noted environmental hazards can be hindering to the user as well. These challenges dramatically affect how and where fireballs are shot. Examples include wind direction that changes projectile trajectory, moving stones that cannot be destroyed, and a sort of black hole (which can be used to kill wizards) that swallows up everything.

Snappy Dragons becomes particularly unique when it starts to incorporate different types of dragons and game modes. There are about 80 levels that are broken up into four distinct worlds (e.g. mountains, volcanic, etc.). Each world has its own set of hazards and dragons that can enter the fray, and each of the latter has its own special ability.

A particular favorite, for puzzle-solving, is an ice dragon. This little guy fires a frost-ball that explodes and creates a vortex that pulls all wizards to it. Since many dragons are used in conjunction with the primary fireball fellow, the idea is to pull wizards together, then blow them all to kingdom come with one fireball shot. Like the fireball dragon, the frost dragon has limited shots as well. Another type of dragon is introduced in a timed level and is particularly refreshing as it completely changes the style of the game. Another fire breather, this creature has unlimited fireballs, but the challenge is to hit several wizards surrounded by black holes in 20 seconds.

Snappy Dragons

Snappy Dragons

To add extra thought to the game, there is also the typical means of scoring “three of something.” Here there are baby dragons held in cages. Hitting them with a fireball will free them, but hitting them again will destroy them, so the idea is to kill all the wizards without harming the babies.

On the downside of things, the aiming can be a little bit obnoxious. Since players are tapping and dragging their finger forward to aim, the targets often get covered by one’s hand. That said, this is only picking nits and is far from any sort of deal breaker. The only other qualm that can really be thought of is that it is very easy to get stuck, as aiming needs to be absolutely perfect on certain levels. Again though, this is nit picking.

Fact of the matter is that Snappy Dragons is fun on all accounts. Stylistically, it looks and sounds great, and is a wonderful combination of two popular games. What makes it even better though is that it doesn’t blatantly copy either. Instead, it takes the core concepts of both Angry Birds and Worms and rolls them together with a uniqueness — in both play mechanics and puzzle design — all its own. All in all, Snappy Dragons is a puzzle game that comes highly recommended.