PAX Prime 2014 Impressions: Dragon Fin Soup

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

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PAX Prime 2014 | Dragon Fin Soup

If you followed my exploits at PAX Prime last year, you might recall my impressions on a game called Dragon Fin Soup. It was highly impressive back then, even though they didn’t have a playable build on hand, and it’s only grown in the time since. Now that it has succeeded on Kickstarter, reaching 500% of their initial funding goal, I was curious to see how the game has improved. Luckily, I was gifted with an opportunity to swing by again this year, and met with Ash Monif to discuss the improvements. I also got the chance to play the game myself, and it is quite challenging and charming.

PAX Prime 2014 | Dragon Fin Soup

According to Ash, Grimm Bros got into the production of Dragon Fin Soup in order to make the games they grew up playing, such as Earthbound, Shining Force, Legend of Zelda and Chrono Trigger. Tired of making other people’s games, they set out to make one of their own.

One facet of the game that came into clearer focus this year was the backstory. Dragon Fin Soup takes place on the back of a massive dragon turtle god named Asura, which swims through the multiverse. This in turn opens endless storytelling possibilities, anything from robots to magic to hillbillies. Upon Asura’s back a cataclysmic war erupted between humans and Wesen. This was a war of extinction, ended only by the sacrifice of a human princess and her bastard half-breed child. After he grew up, the child founded an empire through force that lasted through 1000 years of peace until the advent of a burning rogue planet. This rained magical crystal shards over Asura, causing everything to go insane. You can see a glimpse of this vision in the following trailer.

As far as gameplay, they added Endless Labyrinth mode, a new player character Mortiana and more. Better yet, Dragon Fin Soup supports multiple inputs, including keyboard, mouse and touchscreen, which are all active at the same time. This was in part to satisfy their desire to combine classic console games with roguelike elements. Since everything is procedurally generated, from the weather to the world itself, it intends to constantly keep you coming back for more.

PAX Prime 2014 | Dragon Fin Soup

You can take your time to assess the situation or run and gun. The game is even turn based, but in a subtle way, as every action takes turns but your freedom of movement is never hindered. As far as combat goes, different weapons have different attack patterns, ranges and damage. Fans of roguelikes will also appreciate that you can dual wield practically any and every weapon.

Speaking of which, there are over 150 items to craft. And for the hardcore, there are 18 different stats for items, including various melee damage types (crushing, piercing and slashing, elemental).

PAX Prime 2014 | Dragon Fin Soup

Story mode intends to make roguelike elements more approachable, while Survival mode is much more intense. It serves as the true “roguelike” experience. While you can save there, it’s game over if you die once. To further complicate things, you have to explore all of Asura in that one playthrough. This is aided greatly by the Metroidvania mini map.

While Grimm Bros is still working on online leaderboards and making the game as polished as possible, they hope to have something playable for this holiday season. I can say it will be worth the wait, and encourage you to check out their site and see what they have to offer. I was glad to meet with Ash and Grimm Bros again, and hope to see even more future efforts!

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.