The Dragoness: Command of the Flame pairs turn-based combat, world exploration, and empire-building in a Heroes of Might and Magic-style nostalgia trip that will leave you mostly satisfied. Developed by Crazy Goat Games and published by PQube, The Dragoness: Command of the Flame fills a market gap that many HOMM fans have been desperate for. Sure, there are plenty of imitators out there using the same gameplay style, but, despite its flaws, The Dragoness: Command of the Flame seems to come the closest to satisfying the market for this game style.
There are three elements to gameplay within The Dragoness: Command of the Flame. Firstly, you have HOMM-like exploration. This for the most part is probably the most fun. Turn-based exploring the maps, collecting resources, encountering villains, and completing side-quests. Along the way, you can replenish your health, mana, and troops by spending collected resources at taverns or using fountains and shrines. At the end of each turn, you consume one portion of rations, which if you run out will weaken your army. This gives movement an element of strategy as it’s vital to think carefully about your route and what enemies you’ll encounter. Each stage has a set objective to further the story.
In-between each area you will find yourself in the main city and able to upgrade buildings which can develop your skills. Resource management is very important in The Dragoness: Command of the Flame, and there are quite a lot of them to manage.
Finally, combat discussed later in a little more depth, is a turn-based grid system.
Combined, it makes for a steep learning curve, and I wish the UI was simpler and more intuitive so managing these three different aspects felt more cohesive. There is an amount of replayability, however, because you can go back to each stage and aim for different victory conditions and complete different challenges.
Combat in The Dragoness: Command of the Flame
One of the unfortunate issues with The Dragoness: Command of the Flame is the combat system. While I don’t normally have any issues with turn-based combat, the combat system in this game feels especially sluggish.
The range of movement is typically very small so traveling across the grid to the enemy takes a long time. The combat sadly only takes place on a square grid without any real obstacles or visual interest. Units attack each other, or you can use a spell per turn. While the animations aren’t that varied, the progression system very much is. Within combat, you can use spells and buffs in your turn which can aid you in combat against stronger enemies.
Story and Visuals
You play as the Commander, caught in the middle of a war between two dragon houses. You find yourself in Níwenborh, with the task of rebuilding the city and bringing peace to the world. Most of the story is told through static art and text, thankfully it is all voice acted as well. This is the same in the game world too. As you progress you will often find NPCs asking you to undertake side quests which can yield useful items for your quest. All these interactions have voiced dialogue. While the player character never speaks, a battle pangolin, your aide, does all the talking and will point things out along the way.
Is The Dragoness: Command of the Flame worth playing?
The Dragoness: Command of the Flame is just fine. With so many games out there, I would say you would need to be a huge fan of this game style to spend any amount of time on it. The city building is light, the combat is repetitive, and the UI needs simplifying and polishing. Despite all of that, however, the desire to take ‘just one more turn’ and learn more about the characters and the world is appealing. If you have an open slot in your game schedule, The Dragoness: Command of the Flame wouldn’t necessarily be a bad option.