In some simulation games, you can look after puppies, kittens, or other kinds of animals. But what about dragons, or more specifically, baby dragons? That’s what My Universe: My Baby Dragon lets you do. Putting you into the role of a Dragon Warden, your job is to raise baby dragons from their eggs and prepare them for Dragon School once they’re trained up enough. Some may find this game a little simplistic, but for younger audiences and casual players, looking after cute baby dragons is a great way to relax. This is a game you’ll want to keep coming back to. This review of My Baby Dragon will tell you why.
Story – The Dragon Warden Apprentice
The story setup for My Baby Dragon is very simple. You play the role of a new Dragon Warden Apprentice. Your job is to raise baby dragons from their eggs until they are trained up enough to go onto Dragon School. That’s all there is to it. This might not seem like much, but at least it focuses your attention on what the game is about: raising dragons.
However, the game does make an effort to add some extra story on the side. In the world you play in, there are 5 different characters you can interact with, each with their own mini stories. These stories include the mailman who is nervous of dragons, and a mysterious girl who seems very interested in looking after dragons. You just need to speak to these people to get more of their stories, but they are interesting to listen to and it breaks up the gameplay a little bit.
You can also customize your avatar to make your experience more personal, although character customization is a little limited. You get two outfits, each in four different color swatches, and about two hairstyles with four colors (although you can unlock more in the game). Your character’s appearance doesn’t really matter that much though, as you’ll probably be more focused on the dragons.
Gameplay – Simple Yet Relaxing
Throughout this review of My Baby Dragon, you’ll see the word “simple” mentioned a few times. In the case of My Baby Dragon, the fact that the game isn’t overly complicated is a good thing. If you have a game with lots of rules and mechanics to get your head around, it can sometimes take away some of the fun. While My Baby Dragon could possibly do more, keeping things simple means focusing on the core gameplay.
A Tutorial That Doesn’t Feel Too Forced
Naturally, My Baby Dragon has a tutorial stage at the very beginning. This gives you the instructions on how the game works and the core gameplay. Primarily, it introduces you to raising a baby dragon and guides you through the whole process, from when you pick an egg to seeing the dragon off to Dragon School. Some tutorials in games feel unbearably forced, but I didn’t get that feeling when reviewing My Baby Dragon. I was impressed with how the tutorial walked me through on what to do. I knew what I needed to do next, where I needed to go, who I needed to speak to. It never quite holds your hand, but it also doesn’t let you become lost, while neatly slipping itself into the game, which is what a good tutorial should do. Tutorials should guide new players, but also keep in mind that veteran players will just want to get on with it.
Starting With an Egg
The primary gameplay of My Baby Dragon is raising a baby dragon. Fair to say, this game doesn’t fail there. Since this is mainly aimed at younger players, you can’t expect it to be anything too complex, and it isn’t, but it’s not so basic and simple that it’s boring for older players (but neither is it patronizingly simple for younger players). You might like to see this as a relaxing casual game.
You start the process by picking an egg, in which a dragon will hatch from. You get a random choice of three. Altogether, there are 4 different types of dragons you can raise: air, fire, water and earth. You don’t know what kind of dragon you’ll get until you’ve chosen an egg (although you can guess by the color of their egg). You can identify the type of dragon you have even before it hatches by studying it. This is probably one of my favorite moments in the game. You have to identify the dragon’s shape, scales, magic, and the sound it makes with different tools and techniques. You then have to match these in a book, picking the correct option. I wasn’t expecting this feature during my review of My Baby Dragon and it was much better than just picking an egg at random and waiting to see what came out.
You also have to set up their nest to make them happy and comfortable. This speeds up the hatching process. You’re more successful if you correctly place items that they’ll like, according to the type of dragon they are. I enjoyed decorating their nest, but I wish I could place more objects than was allowed.
Once the egg hatches and the baby dragon emerges (an amazing moment that never gets boring no matter how many times you see it), it’s time to get down to the serious business of not only caring for the dragon, but looking after them. There are two things you need to teach the dragon, regardless of their type: flying and magic. You must raise each of these to level 4. Once you do, the dragon is ready to leave your care.
However, you cannot teach them anything until you’ve done four specific tasks: feeding, petting, washing and cleaning their nest. These are very easy tasks that don’t take long to do, so you can quickly get them out of the way, but it does get a tad tedious after a while.
Nevertheless, it is sweet watching your baby dragon take a bath or gobble up their food. The best task though is petting and feeding them. You feel like you’re developing a real bond with them.
You’ll probably find that once it’s time for the dragons to leave, you’ll feel pretty sad but pleased for your dragon. One really sweet thing is that after they’re gone, you can receive mail from them and find out what they’ve got up to after leaving your care. You’ll also get a framed picture of all the dragons you cared for.
Teaching dragons to fly and control their magic are crucial if you want them to be successful. It’s not the most difficult job in the world, but the two different activities that raises these skills does provide some fun challenge. It would have been good though if there were more activities to raise these two skills, rather than one specific activity for each skill, just to give it more variety and make it seem less repetitive.
Teaching your dragon to use their magic is probably the easier of the two tasks. This mini game is basically a shooting range, where you have to aim the dragon’s magic at targets. It’s made harder by the targets moving around or being blocked by walls that you can knock down. It’s quite good fun, actually. You can also get short-lived boosters such as rapid-fire shooting to help speed up the process.
Flying is a little trickier to master. You have to guide your dragon along a course, getting them to jump on mushrooms and fly up jetstreams and through checkpoint rings, while collecting coins along the way for bonus points. While flying is fun, it can be frustrating at times. My main setback was the jetstreams didn’t always work, not getting me high enough to get to the next checkpoint, but this might have just been me.
One other thing about both activities: they’re both timed. However, don’t be mistaken that when the timer hits zero, the activity automatically ends and you receive a bad score. It keeps going, but counts how much you’ve gone overtime. This once happened to me during flying training and it didn’t seem to negatively affect my final score.
You’ll find that you’ll be able to quickly train your dragons up to the required level. It’ll take you at least 3 in-game days, so it doesn’t take too long.
There’s more to My Baby Dragon than just caring for baby dragons and training them up. You can also collect gems to unlock new items to dress your dragon up in or decorate their nest, and new hairstyles for your avatar. It would have been good to unlock new outfits as well, since only two with four different color swatches are available.
There are a few ways to get gems. Your dragon can dig them up while running around the world. You also get one hundred gems every time you complete a flying or magic activity. You get the most gems though from completing milestones.
Milestones serve as an achievement system in My Baby Dragon. These range from very easy to achieve to being much harder or more long-term to get. These milestones are a great way of keeping you hooked on My Baby Dragon, encouraging you to play out the whole game. Achievements include raising every type of dragon, doing every task a certain number of times, and completing the side stories for each of the characters. The hardest one is probably walking 25000 steps in the game. This isn’t impossible, just time-consuming. I managed to get most of the achievements while playing My Baby Dragon for this review.
Graphics & Audio – Sweet and Calming
My Baby Dragon is aimed more at children, and the graphics reflect that. The art style suits the game perfectly, being cartoonish and not entirely realistic (rainbow-colored grass, as an example). The baby dragons look absolutely adorable and they couldn’t have designed them any better. Every dragon has a unique look as well, rather than being a copy of each other.
As for the sound effects and music, they complement the gameplay and graphics very well. There aren’t any annoying sound effects, and the music is pleasant to listen to as well, although I do have the flying lessons and bathing/feeding music in my head. Nothing’s obnoxious though.
My Universe: My Baby Dragon was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch with a key provided by Microids.