Two years ago, in April 2014, I Kickstarted Dragon Fin Soup. It’s been on Steam for a while now, but I read that it had a slightly rocky start with many patches to make needed changes based on feedback. So I’ve been holding off trying the game until I sensed that it was more stable.
That time has come.
What is it?
The game describes itself as:
Dragon Fin Soup seamlessly blends genres to create a fresh experience: half story-driven tactical RPG and half high-stakes roguelike, with a pinch of crass humor and a heaping helping of murder & madness set in a procedurally generated fantasy world.
A flamboyant description that well-fits the game. This is all pretty accurate. The game plays like a tactical game (think a more fluid FF Tactics) in that you move your character based on grid-squares. It’s certainly an RPG with levels, weapons, armor, crafting, skills and such. The world is procedurally generated – even the town you live in!
There is an overarching story that unfolds in Story Mode as you play. Most of the game, however, has been me taking on jobs at the tavern and going out to get my butt kicked.
I’m probably a wuss, but this game feels pretty difficult, even on casual story mode. I realized this early on when I died in the introduction before I could find the boss enemy I needed to fight.
However, in my defense, the game just throws you in and doesn’t provide an in-game tutorial. Sure, they have some videos you can watch from the main menu, but it doesn’t replace a learning area in the game. So, I was frantically learning on the job, and I have a feeling there’s a few things I haven’t figured out yet.
It took me a while to figure out the movement controls and feel comfortable with them – it was helpful when I discovered that you can use the mouse to click or WASD to walk, depending on what feels better for you. It was just by accident that I realized that healing potions are replaced by alcohol in this game… and I think there’s a toxicity meter where drinking too much of that to replenish health can send you into a rage.
For me, dungeons became a series of saving after achieving small victories and earning treasures. Because every encounter can go two ways: you do really well and hardly take a scratch… or you end up having to chug all your rum as you struggle to stay alive. I have no idea how the same fights with the same monsters can vary so greatly, but they do.
I’ve died and reloaded the game so many times. I don’t even want to know what playing this with permadeath would be like. If that’s your thing, knock yourself out.
Style in Spades
However, I can forgive the game for brutally slaughtering me because it’s got some serious style and charm. The art is wonderful. The story, while not gripping, has my interest. The humor is there, and I find myself amused and enjoying the characters.
When you do complete jobs, you feel fairly rewarded for your time and efforts. I have yet to figure out crafting (though I did complete a crafting quest) and fishing – still haven’t found a fishing pole yet, even though I do have a quest to catch fish. So I get the sense that I’m only scratching the surface of this game.
I do like that the missions are generally short. You can probably pop in the game and play one or two a night if you have about an hour to put towards it, and make progress.
I’m going to do just that, make progress when I can on this game, and keep playing. I still haven’t figured out how to fish, and for me, that’s a crime!
Yes! If you enjoy a mashup of tactics/RPG/roguelike, this game may be what you’ve been looking for!