Google's recent foray into Maps-based monster catching has proven that even full-grown Android users love them some Pokemon. Maybe that's why storied publisher SEGA has decided to make its own entry in the monster-catching genre. But why, oh why, is the core mechanic in Dragon Coins based around those little quasi-gambling quarter-shooter arcade games?

Try to follow along here: in Dragon Coins, your party of anime-style monsters is represented by little drawers in a shelf. Tap on the shelf to drop coins at strategic spots, where a moving wall will push them all forward into the drawers. When one of your monsters gets enough coins it attacks the enemy, another monster hanging out at the top of the screen. Gold coins are spent on upgrades, green coins heal your team. It really is a fusion of the Pokemon/Yu-Gi-Oh monster battling genre and that weird coin machine. No, we don't know why either.

unnamed unnamed (2) unnamed (3)

If you can get past the initial concept, there seems to be a competent enough game underneath it all - lots of critters to collect and evolve, special power-ups and ally attacks, and a staggering amount of stats-based upgrades and combination systems that will allow those who love complex strategy to dive in deep. But at the end of the day, the core mechanic of the game is dropping coins on a shelf. Naturally Dragon Coins is free, and encourages you to spend real money on fake money.

2014-05-08 14.20.43 2014-05-08 14.20.37

Is it a good game? The techincal aspects seem sound. There's lots of depth in the variety and upgrading of monsters. But it all seems really shallow when you're replicating a super-simple arcade gambling game. Dragon Coins is free for Android 2.3.3 and up.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Lumi

    These coin things seemed to be pretty big on the Japan Play Store, maybe they want to try these out on the international market as well?

  • http://mekakiwi.blogspot.com.br/ ED-Z が あらわれた!

    As if (some) developers need a good reason to push IAP down our throats... =(
    That is sad...

  • Shi Qiu

    Got a Nexus 5 and Note 3 Neo and shows me no compatible devices avaible what?

    Edit: Nevermind, not avaible in my country, sob.

    • Crilton

      I have it installed on my N5 right now...

      • Shi Qiu

        See my edit, wasn't because of the device, but because of location restriction.

  • bl_nk

    That's a really uncalled for review.

    The in-app purchases do two things only: let you continue when you die (which is 100% fair use) and let you try your hand at spawning rare monsters, but you will not be able to use more than one or two unless you reach a proper level anyway - by that time you already have a full hand of similarly good cards.

    The coin dropping aspect is a very entertaining and fresh take on combat, I loved it. This is the first pokemon-type game I played too, and it's really enjoyable if a little grind-requiring.