Juggle a zoo of dragons, imps, trolls, and more in Dragon Keeper 2

Forget ant farms and sea monkey colonies. It’s time for treasure-filled caves populated with dragons, imps, trolls, bandits, and a ton of other fanciful, scaly inhabitants. In Dragon Keeper 2, you’ll play parent to a bunch of dragons in order to combat an evil witch. Yeah—a little more exciting than tending to a hermit crab tank.

In this follow-up to last year’s Dragon Keeper, you play a princess who’s looking for a an malevolent sorceress who’s morphed the princess’s love into a hapless fish. You’ll execute this quest by breeding gem-laying dragons. You use the gems your fire-breathers produce to unlock information about the witch’s whereabouts.

The basic premise, and much of the jewel-scooping gameplay, is identical to the original game. It’s a time management strategy game that requires you handling several creatures with different abilities, much like the classic, Insaniquarium. You start out with your dragons (which you only begin with one of), which must be fed in order to poop out colorful precious stones you’ll use to make sellable jewelry. As you earn more money, you can buy peripheral critters: imps to clear land to raise your cave’s population, allowing you to add more dragons, for example. There are also trolls that can beat up jewel-plundering thieves.

The fast-paced strategy was carried over from the original game, as well as the rest of the best of Dragon Keeper: beautiful graphics, for one. The developers have also added some pluses, like a much more advanced tutorial, as well as Survival and Endless modes. (They’re unlocked once you’ve made progress in the main Story mode.) There are still lots of upgrades and items that are staggered throughout the game at a good pace.

Dragon Keeper 2

Dragon Keeper 2

I wish the sequel could have improved upon a few things from the original, though. I still would like to see many dragon breeds crammed in your cave, as opposed to the usual three. It also would be cool to play more than one cave at once, giving the player more opportunity to think holistically and problem solve. Juggling several caves and bouncing between them would feel even crazier and more manic, in a good way.

If you liked the first Dragon Keeper, chances are you’ll like this one too. It’s a cute, colorful, yet serious challenge that forces you to take serious care of your magical creatures. New characters, new spells, new graphics, and new modes of gameplay gives both newcomers and veterans to the Dragon Keeper series incentive to pick up Dragon Keeper 2. If only sea monkeys were as engaging….

[While available on multiple platforms, our review was constructed using the Mac version]