On the surface, Fight the Dragon is a dungeon crawler RPG in the style of Torchlight and Diablo. You know the drill: choose from the archetypal fighter or mage character and hammer enemies with your RSI inducing main attack, while using special area of effect or high damage moves by spending from your mana/rage pool. It's nothing new and at the moment combat unfortunately feels rather flat; a lack of moves, variety and sound design reducing the sense of impact. As you cut your way through enemies you'll level up, allowing you to put a point into either Strength, Defence, Luck or Endurance. And of course there's loot, a lot of loot... maybe even too much loot, as stopping to hurl away all the useless junk you've amassed every five minutes when your inventory becomes full is infuriating.
The graphics do the job but the art style is hard to pin down - not quite pixelated, it's a cross between Minecraft and Fable, going the cutesy route but not exactly setting itself apart from the oversaturated crowd looks-wise.
The game also suffers a from a lack of story: the small amount of flavour text introducing the levels isn't enough to give a sense of place or purpose to your wanton butchery. What does drive you forward however, is Fight the Dragon's other unique feature: the titular fighting of the dragon! Fight the Dragon is a separate game mode accessed from the game's hub, through tickets which you earn as you make progress through the game. Tickets give you three lives and a bout in the dragon arena. The dragon itself has massive amounts of HP and will for certain wipe you out on your first go (and second and third) - but the damage that the dragon takes is persistent, driving you to dive back into the adventure and user generated content to earn more tickets and more opportunities to whittle down the Big Red's life force.
In addition this dungeon crawler isn't a lonesome affair: levels can be taken on solo, with local co-op or drop in multiplayer; the wealth of options is welcome but unfortunately there don't seem to be many online players available to quest with at these early stages, so for now I can't say how much of a difference it makes.
On first look, Fight the Dragon feels disappointingly standard: an RPG with simple combat, shallow leveling, bog standard looting and uninspiring audio and visuals... but what sets Fight the Dragon apart is its user created content system. The game sports a robust content creator that makes creating and sharing your own mini adventures a breeze. So far 'simple' has been a put down but with a game editor it's a boon. Point and click, grid based and items with scripting (loot, switches, enemy attack types and character dialogue written by your ownself) make intricate, interesting levels a doddle to create. And here is Fight the Dragon's saving grace: hopefully this and the creativity of a community brought up on Diablo will add some spice and longevity to the game.