Dragon Star Varnir Image
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
7.1

Mixed or average reviews- based on 34 Ratings

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  • Summary: Fight enemies midair in a unique, vertically-oriented battle system. Strategically position your party at different tiers to attack and disable the enemy’s skills, one level at a time. Perform enough attacks to unleash the dragon within, transforming each character to unlock devastatingFight enemies midair in a unique, vertically-oriented battle system. Strategically position your party at different tiers to attack and disable the enemy’s skills, one level at a time. Perform enough attacks to unleash the dragon within, transforming each character to unlock devastating skills and newfound strength during battle. Weaken an enemy dragon to devour its element! When the element is pierced into a character, they can absorb that dragon’s skill tree. But at what cost…? Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. 90
    A really quite brilliant game. There is fan service in there, and some people will look at that and the anime trappings and not be able to move past it, but underneath this exterior lies a heart that is in many ways the precise opposite of what you might be expecting. It's almost - dare I say it - feminist in the critique it provides over the way that women are treated in this fairy tale world.
  2. Jun 6, 2019
    81
    Dragon Star Varnir does what few JRPGs do as it features in-depth party customization as well as a delightful cast of characters. Factor in a boatload of additional content to master and you're left with a must-have RPG.
  3. Jul 3, 2019
    80
    There are things that are easy to point out as flaws, such as the unnecessary and weird flying battle system, but the root of Dragon Star Varnir is solid. The story is interesting, the characters create a curiosity to see where the plot goes, and the darker tone is so revitalizing to the genre. Yes, anime tropes exist, but when the plot revolves around girls trying to save their life from the creature growing within them, a lot of these issues can be overlooked. The beautiful artwork of the characters, the graphics of the dungeon, the music are all high points, adding the cool plot brings this package to a high recommended level for JRPG players.
  4. Jun 19, 2019
    75
    The sensitivity with which the narrative plot approached delicate themes such as fate or madness, combined with the wise management of the main characters, make it a must-have product for lovers of the ruolistic genre.
  5. Jul 16, 2019
    75
    Deep, strategic combat and an intriguing story will keep you playing, even though Dragon Star Varnir mostly plays it safe. The level design is especially old-fashioned, but don't let that stop you.
  6. Jun 28, 2019
    75
    The battle system as well as the ability mechanics are interesting, but Dragon Star Varnir seriously suffers from a lackluster presentation.
  7. Jul 24, 2019
    60
    Dragon Star Varnir's dark world of witches and warfare is unlike anything else Compile Heart and Idea Factory have put out. Unfortunately, the experience is brought down by less than stellar visuals and doesn't make the most of its main gameplay innovations.. There's an interesting story to unfold here, but actually playing the game to get to it might be a challenge best left unmet.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jun 12, 2019
    8
    An amazing cast of characters, one more lovable then the next. The gameplay is a combination of what Compile Heart and Idea Factory fans haveAn amazing cast of characters, one more lovable then the next. The gameplay is a combination of what Compile Heart and Idea Factory fans have grown to love and a more in-depth costumization making it possible to make each character any "class" you would like, tho obviously each character is suited better for one or 2 things respectively. All in all another great niche title that anybody fimiliar with this style of games will most certainly love. Expand
  2. Dec 13, 2019
    8
    I really liked the game.
    for me it wasnt as good as Death end Request but still a really good Iffy RPG.
    i think the combat, game mechanics
    I really liked the game.
    for me it wasnt as good as Death end Request but still a really good Iffy RPG.

    i think the combat, game mechanics and characters were very interesting and even better than in death end request but the Main Story was kinda lacking and not as strong. I really liked the gifting system which kinda reminded me of persona social links and also the dragon collecting mechanic also felt similiar to Persona Games. Level design was never Iffys strong side but this time it felt espacially bad and was probably the weakest part of the game.

    All in all i would still highly recommened the game espacially if you like other Iffy Games.
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  3. Oct 19, 2020
    7
    Idea Factory has its ups and downs, and this is definitely one of the ups. Similar to Fairy Fencer F, but more focused in scope, slightlyIdea Factory has its ups and downs, and this is definitely one of the ups. Similar to Fairy Fencer F, but more focused in scope, slightly shorter, better writing, and a more experimental combat system.

    The setting is quite interesting and unique. There are divisions of witches, dragons, and humans, all who are against each other for various reasons. Witches are essentially going extinct due to their cursed nature. They gain their magical powers through dragons growing inside them. Eventually the dragons mature and eat their way through the witches (or the witches become the dragons - that's not too clear), ending the witches' short lives. Humans hunt witches due to them producing dragons. And dragons eat everything else.

    You take control of a group of witches, including one unlikely recently-turned witch, and start the game primarily trying to stay alive and out of reach of humans and stronger dragons. As you progress through the story and meet other witches and humans, you learn more about the world, each character's history, and a possible way of ending the witches' curse.

    While doing this, you're also basically managing the health of three younger-generation witches (around 10 years old). You must feed them just the right amount of dragon meat - too much or too little will cause them to turn into dragons, which leads to one of the less-optimal endings.

    The game's writing quality is good. There's very few plot holes, characters don't make dumb decisions, cool stuff doesn't happen for the sake of cool stuff happening, and the characters don't overly-explain their actions, as the reasons for their actions are self-evident to the typical adult. And while limited in scope, the game's handling of themes such as racism (humans vs witches) and sacrifice for the greater good, are handled well. So if you're tired of the typical dumbed-down JRPG story, you might like this one.

    Combat mechanics are good and unique. You fight on three different height levels, primarily against a wide variety of dragons, on a semi-grid layout. The grid only applies to enemies, and you can cast spells or do physical attacks in their 3D space. Depending on your attack type, you can target a single enemy, a specific grid size (such as 5x5) on one level, or a grid size on all levels.

    I recently played Bard's Tale IV with its excellent strategic grid-based combat system and this game isn't as good in the strategy department. While the height-based combat is interesting, it doesn't really add much to the typical turn-based JRPG combat formula. Though while it doesn't innovate as much as I'd like, the combat here has no major downsides.

    And then we we have character ability growth. This is done through devouring dragon enemies. As you do damage, the percentage that you're able to devour and kill them goes up. When devouring a new enemy, you get an individual sphere grid (like Final Fantasy X), and can spend points to unlock new skills and base stats. This works decently well, though there's not a shortage of grid-unlocking points, so it's very likely that all of your characters will be relatively the same (with the same grids unlocked) during most of the game.

    Differentiation in your characters primarily comes through the limited number of spells they can equip and their weapons. Some characters naturally have high physical damage weapons, so you'll likely make them physical attackers. While you'll likely make everyone else magic users and equip their strongest spells. You can then equip characters in your back row with different elemental spells, so you can switch them in (at no turn cost) during battle to use those spells when needed.

    Overall a good Idea Factory game that's above average for them in just about every aspect. Definitely for you if you liked Fairy Fencer F, or you like the Neptunia games, but wish they were less fanservicy and more mature.
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