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Rise of Berk - Detailed Review

A Detailed Review of Rise of Berk
I’ve been playing Rise of Berk for approximately 2 years now. I’ve been a Rider (paid subscription) for the majority of this time period. I’m finally going to put my analysis into words.

Who is this game for?
Audience: Anyone, but parents should ensure their phone is set up with purchase protection measures.
Accessibility: Colour-blind people and epileptics should be able to play this without an issue.
Requirements: A fairly modern phone is preferable.

Design: Fantastic
True to the media. The new designs and models canonically follow the universe and its themes. The UI is perfectly themed, the dragons are noticeably ‘HTTYD’, yet also somehow refreshingly new. It amazes me that there are 500+ original dragons with names that fit the universe and its core ideas.

Graphics: Good with a Catch
The models are modern and each dragon can be investigated closely from every angle. The shape, animation, and colours of the dragons are fluid and believable. However, a gripe I have with these higher poly count models is that the game will understandably become more demanding on the hardware. The map is getting larger, the amount of dragons you can have on Berk at one time increases with each update. However most mobile devices cannot handle this amount of assets on the screen at one time. I found, the more I progress, the more jagged my game becomes.
How Can This be Fixed?
We do NOT want assets to be removed. But if the quality could be optionally downscaled, that would fix a lot of problems. Most large 3D games have the option to change the quality of the models. This would be highly beneficial. This means that new players can still play at a normal quality, enjoying a smooth experience with smooth designs. But also allows older players, who have already been entranced by these designs, to still enjoy their game in a smoother capacity.

Music: Nostalgic but Repetitive
The HTTYD soundtrack is gorgeous, but with such limited menus, the music becomes quite repetitive. Honestly, I play with audio off most of the time. I will admit, music isn’t the most important detail for phone games. The point of a portable device is to - as you can guess - play it in multiple places. I’m hardly going to listen to game music when I’m out and about (or working in the office).
How Can This Be Fixed?
A variety of songs is always welcome, but it’s not a big priority at all.

Difficulty: Perfect
I do appreciate that there are a variety of game modes that both challenge you, and give you a respite. Not every aspect has to be relaxing, and not every aspect has to be extreme. Some gauntlets are a ride in the park, some gauntlets require a bit of thought. Brawls start off easy, and aim to increase in difficulty the more you win. In my opinion, the difficulty is perfect as is. It’s balanced… (see Defend Berk).

Progression: Addictive
With a majority of mobile games, this game is a grind. If you can’t practice a bit of patience, this isn’t the game for you. However, one thing I highly appreciate about the progression is that it’s linear (excluding infrastructure). With each week, you have something new to obtain. Each day you have dragons to train to different levels. You always have something to do, and something to look forward to the next day. Legendary dragons are reasonable to obtain, not impossible, but not too quick to get either. The game is very good at giving you new things to use and to come back to. The infrastructure (population and training) is less linear, but the other aspects of progression makes up for this.

Subscription: Mostly Decent
You can get (almost) everything for free in this game. Understandably you just need to work a little harder. The only assets you cannot obtain as a free to play user is the Light Fury herself, and Big Buff. I’m personally unsure of the balance of this. On one hand, it would be good for free to play users to have access to the entirety of the game. However, that would devalue the prospect of a subscription. Riders having earlier access to events with an easier route of obtaining them is a great idea. But I think free to play users should have the ability to obtain every possible dragon.

Brawl: Balanced but Repetitive
Simple but effective, I find it to be reasonably balanced. You have some great dragons, some not so great. But you are open to choosing whatever you prefer. However, it does get repetitive. After you get into the last arena, you’re only playing for daily objectives, and in the long term - the rune rewards. However they are far and few between.
How Can This be Fixed?
Add more rewards for general Brawl play - whether that be runes, mystery packs, or whatever; just something a bit more exciting.
The wood/fish rewards from wins are barely noticeable and not exactly satisfying.

Gauntlets: Exciting
Gauntlets have been changed very recently with the addition of Survival modes. I find these contrasting game modes to add an exciting and different level of strategy to it. They do give you an excuse to try different teams and different methods in order to win. The rewards are also highly favourable.

Defend Berk: No Challenge
One of the more disappointing game modes, Defend Berk does not give a clear indication of strategy. If there is a strategy, it’s not obvious. To win, your best bet is to just level up your dragons and win through brute force of power. This is not satisfying, and means beginner players have access to a gamemode they can hardly win.
How Can This Be Fixed?
Add more depth to the different Defend Berk classes of dragons. Sure, some have longer range, some have more health. But these don’t add up to really make a difference. Perhaps change it so that only some ships can be destroyed by a certain type of dragon. This would require planning and thought into your lineup, rather than choosing the first five most powerful dragons you have.

Bugs: Oh No
One of the game’s biggest downfalls. Crashes, bugs, glitches galore. The game is not tested enough before release, and I believe this is due to the time crunch of having seasonal updates. There are bugs that have existed for years, and not resolved due to ‘no evidence’, despite this bug being replicated amongst many different players. There are cases of rollbacks, lost data, and even more concerningly - broken purchases.
I unfortunately have had to contact support a few times to resolve purchase issues, including when I’ve been charged for something I shouldn’t have been charged for. I’ve only had to contact a game’s support a few times in my life, and this game takes up more than half of those cases. These bugs are the main reason why I do not recommend this game to others - because losing your progress is frustrating, and there are plenty of other games that have this kind of gameplay with fewer bugs.
How Can This Be Fixed?
It’s easy for me to say ‘fix your game’. But I understand it’s not that simple. I know that the support team is struggling to attend to tickets in a timely manner. I have a suspicion there is an underlying issue but I’m not Ludia’s management so I would not know. But it is something that needs to be raised and dealt with.

Developing Tools + Guides: Could be Better
This is personally coming from the creator of the Book of Dragons Discord Bot, and one of the creators of the Companion Tool. All of our data to strategize and plan our games unfortunately comes from our own hands. This leads to inaccuracies, mistakes, and waiting until we finally get the right information.
What’s more, is that some of the information about these dragons are not known unless you’re at the end of the game. The in-game Book of Dragons does not give you the expense for iron, nor does it tell you what resource is required - these are quite important in evaluating a dragon’s usefulness.
How Can This Be Fixed?
A shared API, a database of information to reference. I can’t imagine it would be too difficult to implement, and it would allow the user base to use this information for a variety of helpful tools. Obviously this isn’t a necessity, but it would make our own experiences much easier!

As a summary, the gameplay is great. There are a few aspects that can be worked on, but the game is overall enjoyable. The bugs however are really a let down, and can hugely impact one’s experience. I hope Ludia will focus on the issues currently in place, and work on balancing some of the processes they already have - rather than focusing on new features and dragons.


Well said! If my brain weren’t jello right now I would write a reply. :heart:

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Honestly, I think the music is fine. Given how horribly repetitive the music is on many of the games I play, RoB is doing quite well in having a) a longer loop for the world BGM, and b) world BGM that doesn’t have a strong melody (which makes the repetition more annoying). Sure, it can always be better, but this is definitely not something I would prioritize.

Bugs, on the other hand… yeah, the QA is terrible, and there are quite a few bugs that have existed for a long time, sometimes as long as the feature to which they pertain, with no signs they’re ever going to be fixed. I would be thrilled if Ludia would stop adding dragons for a few seasons as it’s frustrating anyway to have that ever-changing “completion” goalpost, and actually fix some bugs for a change.


Very true and I do admit the music is repetitive it should give u a selection of all the songs from all 3 movies and u can set which ones u want adding want to play and every else is spot on

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I’ve only got one bug in my game I can’t see the Vikings or sheep and the music is good and calming I’ve fallen asleep listening to it a few times but a little boring when I’ve heard the same music from day 1 being played over the last 7 years and I really like the fact there always adding dragons gives me something to look forward to getting

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My longer response!

Rise of Berk Game Review (Responding to Jeb_CC’s Forum Post)