The Agent Reviews A Game: Hungry Dragon

Live every fantasy fan’s dream; roleplay as Smaug.
Source: Ubisoft

So a lot of my essays lately have been focused on LGBTQ+ – specifically transgender – issues due to their impact on my life. However, I realize that some people might need a break from the heavy topics and just have some fun. So, let’s get back into one of my increasingly favorite topics; mobile games.

In my side mission to find entertaining distractions that I can play anywhere I damn-well please (a big deal in previous months with no reliable Wi-Fi of my own), I’ve developed a sort of affection for fun and simple little games on my phone. And they don’t get much more simple and fun for me than Hungry Dragon.

Yes, from the company that gave us Rayman and Assassin’s Creed comes a manic mobile game with a simple premise; You dragon, they crunchy. EAT. THEY. ASS.

I was immediately grabbed by the visuals. A lot of mobile games claim to have great graphics, but they lack the charm that Hungry Dragon has. All of the detailed texturing means nothing if the design is uninspired. And luckily for this game, the dragons are given so much personally and variety ranging from genuinely intimidating to cartoonishly wicked that almost everyone will have their own favorite.

As for the gameplay, it’s a simple endurance game. You fly around the world eating anything you can fit in your gob – humans, livestock, goblins, OTHER DRAGONS, etc. – while dodging hazards like hunters, mines, and larger predators. Eat enough at once and you breathe a massive gout of flame that makes quick work of everything in your path. Keep eating and avoid starvation for as long as you can to get cool loot.

And the loot is indeed cool. You’ll end up unlocking pets that give stat bonuses, costumes that change how each dragon plays, and larger dragons that grant access to different pray and new areas of the world. Again, there’s enough variety and the designs are inspired enough that you’ll quickly find your favorites.

One of the things I appreciate most about this game though is it’s one of only, if not THE only mobile game I’ve played that doesn’t harass you to play it on its schedule. I’ve railed in the past about my disdain for games that force daily login goals just to keep players and how they make a simple game feel more like work. There’s no sign of that in Hungry Dragon. All you ever get is the occasional notification that an egg you’ve been incubating is ready to hatch. It makes for a much more casual, laid-back game perfect to unwind to after a long day.

While this is easily one of my favorite mobile games at the time, I have my qualms with it. For one, the graphic intensity of the game does tax my phone slightly resulting in some minor loss in frame rate. It’s not enough to ruin gameplay, but it does break the immersion for me. What’s more, I feel the lack of a competitive multiplayer mode is a bit of a missed opportunity. Games like proved that people quite enjoy the concept of a player-eat-player competitive game.

Other than those minor points, however, this is a solid mobile game that I have yet to find myself leaving. It’s relaxed, it looks amazing, and it’s just silly fun to inhale an entire village only to find your controls have suddenly been reversed because you accidentally got tipsy on the town drunk. Download this game – you will not regret it.

One Bad Movie Night: The Agent Watched The Company of Wolves

So, with Halloween quickly coming up, I wanted to talk about some horror/monster movies that I’ve seen. But, as I got ready to do so, I realized that most of the movies I’ve talked about here end with me being very charitable and positive afterwords.

Let’s not kid ourselves; I’m not the kind of person that gives praise blindly. I’m merely human and, as a human, I’m very much capable of dislike. And one of the things that I dislike is The Company of Wolves.

Giving a plot synopsis, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it would be a fantastic movie. A young girl named Rosaleen is dreaming about living on the edge of a dark wooded area and living with her grandmother(played by Angela Lansbury of Murder, She Wrote fame of all people) as she spins yarns of supernatural tales with a distinctly lupine focus to them – specifically tales of wolves disguised as men and how she needs to be wary of them. Oh, and in case you couldn’t catch the more subtle hints, Rosaleen’s most distinguishing feature through most of the film is her red hooded cloak.

Yes, this is a British, horror/fantasy re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood with werewolves. That should be AMAZING.

But, in one of the most frustrating moments in my life as a film lover (second only to counting the number of times I writhed in my seat in rage every time Star Trek: Into Darkness referenced and ruined a line or moment from the original series/movies), what could have been a great example of a fairy tale getting back to it’s darker roots through the art of horror cinema devolved into a pretentious, messy jambalaya of amateur metaphors and grade-school symbolism that would make even the most stuck-up art snobs hang their head in shame.

The plot moves at a snail’s pace as we spend most of the movie with Rosaleen’s go-nowhere, cutesy, burgeoning romance with a young boy that adds almost nothing to the film. Also, bare in mind that this and every other major event in the film is happening via dream sequence (which we are reminded of by occasional cuts back to Rosaleen in bed in modern times) thus removing their sence of agency.

Instead, the main focus is on the short stories that Granny tells which, while absolutely the most interesting parts of the film, seem to happen too far and few between the filler and just make me feel like the writers just really wanted to make a werewolf anthology film rather than waste time with the Little Red Riding Hood plot points.

Besides, the movie finds a way to ruin those moments as well by the end.

Turns out (spoilers for 30+ year old movie), Granny’s folk tales were real and were meant to be warnings to keep Rosaleen away from men in an effort to protect her womanhood.

Yep, they went with the single most annoying interpretation of the classic story; Little Red Ridding Hood as an allegory for female sexual awakening. Trust me on this; if you ever want to piss off an English major, just bring this up.

I hate this interpretation of the story and especially in this form. It’s incredibly sexist to men and women alike – painting all men as sexual apex predators and all women and their virginity as something frail and sacred to be coddled and protected.

To the movie’s credit, it is visually interesting. The sets and costumes are well designed, the wolf transformations are the best I’ve seen outside of Hemlock Grove, and I’ll be damned if Angela Lansbury doesn’t give it her all given what she had to work with (seriously, she’s the best performer in the whole movie).

That said, it simply wasn’t worth sitting through a 95 minute artistic depiction of puberty (Get it. Werewolves. Hair growing in weird places. Hurr hurr hurr) just to get there. If I may be so bold as to paraphrase “The Cinema Snob” Brad Jones, if I want to see Angela Lansbury in a tale of the supernatural, I’ll stick with Bedknobs and Broomsticks, thank you very much.