Right then, who's up for a procedurally generated 2D platformer? Don't all raise your hands at once. Oh yes, one or two of you look like you might almost be half interested. OK then. What if we told you those cute little dinosaurs Bob and Lola have enjoyed a bit of sexytime and Lola has laid an egg? That's nice for them, isn't it? Dirty dinos. But the egg has been stolen and is being kept at the top of a mountain! Shall we help them? No? Anybody?
DragoDino lets players choose between controlling either Bob or Lola, before sending you on a mission to retrieve said love egg from the aforementioned mountaintop. There's very little to distinguish between the two characters, other than Lola is heavier/slower and can take one extra hit before dying. Unfortunately, indistinguishable protagonists are the least of our worries.
The game is split into 10 stages, which in turn are divided into several sub-levels. Players need to reach the exit of each sub-level at the top of the screen in order to climb the mountain, but before you can do this you'll need to collect three or four blue crystals which power up your jumping ability which for some reason resets at the start of each section. Crystals are found by defeating handily-marked enemies, which means there's very little reason to bother tackling the majority of baddies on screen.
Bob and Lola aren't very sturdy and will die after taking three hits. Dying sends you back to the bottom of the current stage, but it ends up being immensely difficult to tell where you are because each level is randomised. Sub-levels aren't numbered and there's no map, so it's almost impossible to work out how far you've gone or how much further you need to go.
Everything is nice and cartoony but starts to all look the same very quickly. Enemies often blend into the background, leading to deaths that feel cheap rather than down to player error. It doesn't help that the controls are quite floaty, which makes platforming more difficult than it should be. The glide mechanic can also be quite unresponsive, leaving you to fall to the floor when you were expecting to sail through the air to a hard to reach the platform.
On more than one occasion on we reached a point where the game generated some crystal-holding enemies on a higher platform than we were currently able to reach. With no option but to restart, we expected to be taken back to the beginning of that particular stage. Quite annoying, but not too much of a problem. But no! Exiting the game - something forced on us by the game's own design - actually sent us all the way back to the start of the entire game! To add insult to injury, the loading times are outrageously long. For some reason, it can take 2-3 whole minutes to load a static map where all you're able to do is press A to start the next level. And then we're back to staring at another loading screen (completely black, save for an egg in the corner) for however long it takes this time.
It's a shame that DragoDino demands certain things of the player but then fails to provide the necessary mechanics to make these possible. We're not really sure who we could recommend this one to - you'd think it would appeal to younger players with its cartoony style, but frustrating controls and confusing layouts might be a bit too much for youngsters to contend with. At a push, you might be able to find some enjoyment here for half an hour or so, but there are many other games that are way more deserving of your time and money.
DRAGODINO / DEVELOPER: TEAL ROCKS STUDIO / PLATFORM: PC, PS4, SWITCH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW