When I originally reviewed Haypi Dragon — a free MMO style mixture of Worms and Angry Birds — I claimed that it was a game with a lot of fun to be had from it, but also cautioned people that gaining exp could be very painful and that it furthermore had a distinct lack of fairness in choosing how to match up players in the PVP arena.
That said, despite the reservations I had with the game, I will admit that I have in fact still been playing it – completely of my own free will – ever since I finished my original review a few weeks back. It is because of the fact that I am still actively playing Haypi Dragon that lead to me having a front row seat for the game’s recent version 1.4 update, and I must say it has been a most welcome set of modifications.
In the original review one of the major things I complained about was that while the star based rating system provided an incentive to replay stages again for better grades, the fact that the exp your dragon earned was tied in with your grade – as well as how hard the stage was – made it very difficult to grind for exp rewards large enough to be meaningful. The newest update has rebalanced the number of points someone needs to accomplish a 3 star rating to be far more accurate to what a dragon can reasonably accomplish while playing a stage hard enough that it still provides meaningful rewards.
Furthermore, the amount of exp that a 3 star rating brings has been generously increased as well such that you don’t spend nearly as much time replaying the same few stages over and over. They have also generously increased the rewards for completing your daily list of personal goals that refresh every 24 hours, making the acquisition of in game currency and personal exp far easier as well. I have already, thanks to all of these recent changes, made almost as much progress in the single player mode these last few days as I made in all the weeks I have been playing Haypi Dragon before version 1.4 released.
They have also added Game Center support to Haypi Dragon, which includes both achievements and a variety of leader boards based on different game play factors. The achievements themselves aren’t actually new to the game – as Haypi Dragon already had rewards you could unlock for completing certain achievement like goals, which were separate from your daily personal goals – but it’s still nice to see them now implemented as a Game Center feature all the same. Furthermore – like everything else I have just discussed – the value of the prize awarded upon the accomplishment of each achievement has also been increased, and a few of them now even offer the player free Haypi Coins.
The most recent update also brings an entirely new way for players to achieve money and exp, as well as access to things that previously could only be purchased using IAP obtained Haypi Coins. Tapping the book icon on the right hand side of the screen, once you first have a level 8 dragon, will now take you to the activity list where you can select to participate in the Secret of the Tree. Here you are challenged to see how far you can go through a series of randomized battles, with the opposition in each successive stage having more powerful stats than the last, in the pursuit of exp and other prizes.
The higher you are in the tree, with your progress climbing the tree resetting each and every day, the better the chance you have of winning special items and leaves after each completed stage. The leaves you can earn from the Secret of the Tree are the most significant part of this addition as they can be used in a special shop to buy gear that includes stuff far better than anything you could ever acquire with Haypi Coins, such as highly desirable level 3 synthesis stones. The catch is that each time you die on your way up the tree – where the higher tiers have far more valuable rewards than the lower tiers – you get progressively longer cool down periods that eat up more and more of your remaining time before the tree resets entirely, and they do offer to sell you instant cool down elimination for the price of Haypi Coins.
Outside of many game play updates, as well as long list of minor bug fixes that I won’t be going into, Haypi Dragon has also received a bevy of visual and audio enhancements to the combat system that really liven up the battles. Every dragon on the battlefield – your own included – will now automatically display a range of amusing emoticons in word balloons appropriate to what just happened, such as a target displaying a panicked sweat drop when an attack narrowly misses it. They have furthermore added more songs for the game to randomly select from each time a fight starts, as well an audience that appropriately boos and cheers the performance of the players in a fight.
The only major complaint I had from the original review that has not yet been addressed is that PVP still lacks any form of level based player matching, but possibly that will be addressed in a future update as it seems that Haypi Co. isn’t quite yet ready to rest on their laurels with Haypi Dragon and have already promised more updates.