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The Dragoness: Command of the Flame Review

The Dragoness: Command of the Flame Review

Combining aspects of the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise with a hint of roguelike elements, The Dragoness: Command of the Flame sounds great on paper. Has developer Crazy Goat Games created something magical with this turn-based strategy title, or is it more of a steaming pile of dragon dung?

You play as the Commander, a nameless hero who has control over a squad of monsters who fight in their stead. At the start of the journey, the Commander is on their way to meet the Queen of the nearby city of Níwenborh when they are killed by a mysterious dragon. The story doesn’t end there (shocking, I know) and instead sees our protagonist revived by the Queen — who just so happens to be a dragon, by the way — although they are sapped of their powers and corporeal form. From here, the main objective of the game is to rebuild the ruin of Níwenborh to its former glory, which will then aid in the fight to restore peace to the world.

It’s a shame the story doesn’t live up to its potential, as the characters are mostly forgettable — albeit voiced rather well — and the lore surrounding the world isn’t nearly as fleshed out as it could have been for such a magical realm. Natiq, the adorable self-proclaimed “battle pangolin”, is perhaps the one saving grace, as his cutesy quips and comments during the adventure gave a little more life to the goings-on, especially when our main character is a silent protagonist.


Despite The Dragoness only releasing on PC just under a year ago, graphically, it feels like it’s come straight from the late 2000s. Whilst the character art that displays during conversations is very well-drawn, the 3D models — although certainly unique — aren’t what you would usually see in this modern era of videogaming. The environments look decent, at least, and are often dense, tightly packed areas full of places to explore. In terms of the audio, I have no strong feelings towards the sound and music either way. The voice acting is mostly good, everything else was typically generic fantasy fare. It’s by no means bad, just forgettable.

Sticking with the aesthetics for the moment, a quick mention of the user interface. It’s ugly. Ugly and overly complex for what little actions you can perform. This wouldn’t be an issue when using mouse and keyboard, but on the PlayStation 5, it quickly became a slog to have to navigate around the heads-up display to open up specific menus. Why certain buttons couldn’t be assigned for quick access, I have no idea, but rearranging your party, checking your skills, and so on, is much more of a hassle than it should be.


Gameplay in The Dragoness centres around three different areas: exploration, combat, and base-building. The majority of the time will be spent exploring, which is entirely turn-based. Each in-game day gives you a set number of tiles to move, where you’ll be able to discover new upgrades, sidequests, enemy encounters, and more. Although turn-based, enemies stay where they are so you’re able to plan ahead (or avoid them altogether) if you’d rather focus on building up your army of creatures first. Fortune favours those that explore, as you’ll come across many optional paths and areas that will net you valuable resources, upgrades, and potential new recruits. However, this is where the roguelike element comes into play, as after each successful mission, the Commander’s skills are reset. You’ll start with a randomised skill each time and the option to rebuild your party of monsters, and whilst this starts out limited, the available roster becomes quite strong the further into the game you get.

Combat feels a little too slow, with not much required in terms of planning and strategy. Allies and enemies can have close or long-ranged attacks, and I often found that having a few bow-wielding party members — such as centaurs — allowed me to dish out a good amount of damage before the opposing forces even got close to my melee-focused units. That being said, the grid-based area in which battles take place felt way too big, especially when factoring the amount of spaces each unit can move each turn. Although the Commander plays more of a support role in battle, the magic they wield can become invaluable during tougher fights, with healing and party buffs being very useful in a pinch. There just isn’t enough variety in the combat; units are generic and have no personalities, nothing ever changes between areas (aside from the bland grid-based environment), and it felt like filler before I could get back to exploring the far more entertaining overworld.

Finally, we have the base-building aspect, which, unfortunately, is fairly underwhelming. It’s all centred around the city of Níwenborh, with each construct or improvement aiding in your combat encounters or exploration. Areas and structures such as a forge or army encampment are built using materials found whilst out on missions; just be prepared for the grind; some of these city upgrades can get pricey!


I was surprised by how different The Dragoness was from what I initially expected of it. Rather than slowly building up a team of all-power monsters, you’re always able to tinker and experiment with new army builds thanks to how the rougelike system works. Some may find that not being able to constantly level up the same few allies frustrating, but for me, it made for a more unique experience. This doesn’t mean that it feels fresh each time you journey out on a mission, as you could simply use the same party layout every time once you find one that can decimate any foe. It’s a tough balance of genres to get right, and unfortunately, I don’t think they’ve quite nailed it here.

Despite the interesting premise, The Dragoness: Command of the Flame is let down by its mundane combat and simplistic city-building mechanics. Whilst exploring the environments for hidden secrets provided enjoyment for a few hours, a lack of a decent story and a large increase in grinding in the later stages of the game meant that this was a tough one to see through to the end.

5.00/10 5

The Dragoness: Command of the Flame (Reviewed on PlayStation 5)

The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.

Combining turn-based strategy with rougelike elements is a great idea, but unfortunately The Dragoness can’t quite pull it off. Enjoyable for a while, but the lack of interesting combat and engaging narrative will be enough to turn most players off.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Mike Crewe

Mike Crewe

Staff Writer

Bought a PS5 and won't stop talking about it

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