Fight The Dragon is a simple, community-driven dungeon crawler for up to 4 players, populated with maps designed by the players themselves. There are twelve customizable character slots, and four classes to choose from, each with different weapon proficiencies and four unique abilities: the fighter, the rogue, the ice wizard, and the pyromancer. If you've played a fantasy-themed game before, those classes shouldn't be unfamiliar. The playstyles are all a tad different, but early on, it becomes quite apparent that ranged combatants are considerably easier to play, and arguably more effective as well.
The look of the game is a bit classic. It isn't voxel, and it has smooth textures, but the shapes of the in-game models look quite crude in a few cases. Controls are fairly simple, and the mechanics of the game will come naturally to anyone who is familiar with the genre. The gameplay itself is smooth, if a tad unbalanced; it's rather easy for a map designer to make an area too difficult, whether intentionally or not, by saturating it heavily with certain, more powerful monsters. A good example is a trio of enemy pyromancers- they deal so much damage in such a short time that they will instantly kill you with fireballs and pillars of flame if you stand still for more than a thoughtful moment. Loot appears rather frequently, so it isn't too difficult to find a decent set of gear that compliments how you choose to play. A feature called the 'Loot Shrine' acts as an alternative to the typical store you'd find in the 'safe zone' of a dungeon-crawling RPG. Rather than buying and selling items, the game allows you to 'donate' all of your gold and unwanted gear for a chance at progressively better loot- the more you donate, the better the rewards, which come in the form of rare armor and weapons, extra stat points, increased inventory space, or other miscellaneous character upgrades. Although the game offers you three choices (typically one item and two 'other'), the choices are completely randomized, so you may end up finding some unattractive offers when you decide to cash out. I find this feature to be a refreshing change from the norm, and i've abused it quite a lot in my own time playing.
The gimmicks that make FtD stand out from similar titles are it's trademark Adventure Creation Kit, and the titled battle against the Dragon. The Adventure Creation Kit(ACK) allows a player to construct a dungeon, then play in it against his own creation, or upload it to the server to share with friends or the community as a whole. The ACK is very user-friendly, and it's fun to play with. The design options that it gives you allow you to make maps of all sizes, or even chain multiple dungeons together to create a full campaign with multiple levels. The designer truly allows for an impressive amount of customization and creativity.
Fighting the Dragon, as many would assume from the title, is an integral part of the game. At any time, provided your character has recieved a Dragon Scroll by completing a dungeon, you may challenge the dragon arena. The Dragon itself is extremely strong; with a massive, constant HP pool and tons of damage output, he's an extremely tough opponent, only killable with determination and lots of patience (and Dragon Scrolls). Each scroll you use gives you three lives to deal as much damage as possible to the Dragon, before inevitably getting massacred and sent packing back into the player-made dungeons. Fortunately, the Dragon's health bar is consistent through attempts, so the damage you deal in each battle will carry over to the next time. Each time you reach a certain point of progress(by consistently putting tiny dents in his health), you will get a shiny red piece of Dragon loot that has a very special effect, but will disappear after you've used it for a certain time. I find that these two features really do make the game a special one, and it allows the player to take a much-needed break from the constant loot grind.
Overall, the game is put together well, and only suffers from a few minor bugs and glitches. The biggest issue I have with the game is a lack of balance and character development; aside from getting a new ability at level 5, 10, 15, etc., your gear makes your character what it is, and there is very little variance between two characters of the same class. Ranged weapons and kiting tactics seem to be the way to go most of the time, especially when the difficulty ramps up so quickly in most cases. The enemies deal a legitimately high amount of damage per attack, and some fights can cost the players a few lives before they can get a grasp on the situation. Aside from those few complaints, however, this is a gem of a game, would recommend to fans of the genre and RPGs in general.
Appearance: 3.5/5, basic textures, mostly attractive, sounds get repetitive and could have more variety.
Controls: 4.5/5, easy to pick up and play, mechanics aren't too hard, everything works how it should.
Gameplay: 4/5, bugs are few and far between, the ACK is fun, character building could use more options.
Replayability: 4/5, the ACK keeps the game fresh, but enemies get a bit repetitive.
Overall: 4/5, a good, solid dungeon crawler with some fun gimmicks and extra tools to make the game unique.