We can all thank Bruce Lee for bringing mass awareness of martial arts to the West. Since then, a lot of people dream about becoming a great martial artist, and the entertainment industry can’t get enough of martial arts movies and video games. Another Place Production’s Dragon Finga is one such game, and even if you can’t do the simplest kick in real life, you can get your virtual kung fu on with Dragon Finga.
Test your might by playing as a Bruce Lee-esque warrior going up against a never-ending supply of baddies. Your task is to see how long your Kung Fu skills will keep you alive against a variety of opponents and bosses. It’s not just a race against time, however; you have 60 seconds to survive and defeat as many opponents as you can, and you can add more time by performing certain special moves. When you run out of time or health, you die. Boxes of fruit drop periodically to heal you up, so you get all the tools needed to last a very long time, but it’s still challenging to do so. The enemies get tougher the longer you survive.
What makes Dragon Finga unique is the method of character movement. Characters move like flimsy, bendy rag dolls, and you have to toss them in order to move around the level. It sounds strange, but it’s also fun. Put your finger on your dude and fling him up, down, or sideways to see what weird rag doll moves he’ll execute, and tap the screen to attack enemies. These funky controls usually work well, except for when things are getting chaotic. In those situations, the controls can sometimes have a problem keeping up with the quickness of your finger movements. The music does its job and gives you a feel of martial arts madness from the Far East, but the sound effects are reminiscent of monkeys having a violent orgy. Dragon Fingaz will make you glad there’s a mute function.
Players start the game with one stage and one character unlocked. There are four more stages and characters to work towards unlocking, but, since this is free-to-play, you’ll be working a long time to be able to afford them. Players earns both gems and coins while playing. You earn coins at a fairly generous rate, with bonus presents of thousands of coins popping up periodically. You can use the coins to upgrade your attack, defense, and dragon power for each character (if you can ever unlock the rest of them). The gems, on the other hand, are not as easily obtained and are used to unlock the stages and characters, as well as allowing you to continue on after dying. Say you get tired of trying to earn enough gems to unlock the very last stage (because you just spent two months trying to unlock all the characters and three stages), and decide to buy them. That stage alone costs 390 gems, and in the store a 380 gem pack is $20. Draw your own conclusions.
There’s a lot of fun to be had with Dragon Finga. The distinct rag doll characters and movements are fun and different from other games. There are extra missions and challenges to complete to earn coins/gems, and a multiplayer version is on its way. The prohibitive pricing, on the other hand, drags down what would have been a unique game. Unless you’re willing to spend some serious change (which you shouldn’t do), you’ll probably be playing with the same character in the same stage for a long, long time.