Everyone comes to that crossroad in life where they must decide between dragons or dragons.
Dragon Crossroads is yet another in an incredibly long line of time management games that take place in a fantasy universe full of goblins, bandits and dragons. Only instead of being a fresh, polished experience, Dragon Crossroads is a game with multiple personalities; a game with fine basic mechanics, but disappointing… everything else.
The game takes place in a medieval fantasy setting, once guarded by a powerful dragon. The dragon’s child has been taken, leaving the dragon to fall into a dark depression, and the world to fall into chaos with goblins, bandits, broken roads and much more standing in your way as you attempt to set things right. Each level of this time management experience comes with a set of goals to complete, from fixing roads and buildings to defeating bandits and more, but many tasks are repeated level after level, which makes the game feel a lot less varied than it ultimately could.
Regardless of its final goals, each level will see you balancing the use of items like food, wood, stones, gold and more. Each item is created in a different building, with most being upgradeable over time. Upgrades obviously increase a building’s productivity, but purchasing these upgrades takes resources away from the end goal(s) in each level. This brings about the basic amount of strategy that you’d find in any similar time-management game, as the time limit on each stage offers Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals depending on how quickly you can complete the required tasks.
Thankfully, the workers in Dragon Crossroads move incredibly fast, without the need for special power-ups. Similarly, actions can be queued far into the future, so long as there’s a clear walking path from your worker to whichever item the action is going to be performed on. It’s definitely possible to play the entire game a few seconds into the future, as you wait for your workers to catch up in the background (which is a good thing), but at the same time, some of the level designs are so convoluted, with only one specific path being available for progression, that it makes things more confusing than fun.
Even though fast workers are a huge plus, the rest of Dragon Crossroads starts to fall apart pretty quickly. Early on, goblins are introduced to the game, and they steal 20 seconds each from your overall clock at the beginning of the level. There’s nothing you can do to stop these goblins, so you must instead waste 5-10 second at the beginning of each stage clicking on them to reclaim your lost time. This is a completely unnecessary feature that simply feels unfair, as goblins may be hidden behind trees or other structures. Additionally, the game’s graphics are downright ugly. Animals and trees in each background image are static and have skewed shapes, workers and goblins have ugly character models, and there’s no flash or polish to the game’s text menus or tutorials.
Dragon Crossroads looks and plays like a game that was created with the best of intentions, but lacks an attention to detail that would make the game really pop. The basic gameplay here works, and actually works well with the aforementioned fast workers and task queuing, but everything else feels amateurish at best. With so many other (better) time management games up for grabs on Big Fish and beyond, this is one you can easily skip without a regret.