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Game Review: Mia and the Dragon Princess

A young waitress frustrated with her mundane life finds a time-displaced warrior who will set off an explosive adventure that will give her the thrilling spark she has been missing in Mia and the Dragon Princess. Developed by Dead Pixel Productions, Wales Interactive, and Good Gate Media, Mia and the Dragon Princess is a Full-motion video adventure title that lets the player make decisions for Mia, a spunky waitress working at the Smuggler’s Tavern. On what seems like an ordinary day for Mia quickly spirals into chaos with a strange visitor and greedy thieves looking for a lost treasure.

As with traditional adventure games, this title is about exploring decisions and experiencing the consequences. The gameplay focuses on the player making certain choices for Mia (played by Noa Bleeker) that affect her actions like talking in a friendly or assertive tone or attempting to get involved in a fight. All these choices add to shape Mia’s character and can result in some funny or deadly outcomes. Mia works in a dive bar that has lost some of the luster with newer and more expensive options in London. But the tavern has small but loyal customers and quirky workers that don’t make her job too boring. When is not serving drinks, she yearns for something more to her life. On a chance encounter, she meets Marshanda (played by Dita Tantang), who appears confused and helpless about her surroundings. Marshanda has awoken and escaped from a hospital but is actually a lost royal pirate warrior that was thawed out of ice. She is drawn to the Smuggler’s Tavern and hopes to find something there to help explain her situation. However, Mashanda’s appearance brings the attention of crime boss Walsh (played by Paul McGann) who also has been hunting for the lost treasure.

The first decision that the player can make is deciding if Mia should be compassionate to the Marshanda or try to signal help. This obviously affects Mia and Marshanda’s initial trust in one another, with Marshanda being accepting or wary of Mia. Other characters will react to the way Mia handles herself and will open or close out branching paths in the story. Her allies will be likely motivated to help or panic. Her enemies can be more aggressive or surprised. It’s up to the player to make the decision and see what happens. The decisions and consequences are not so oblivious and subtle that you can easily find the best ending on the first attempt. Mia has good intentions but just not really to jump into being an action hero. There aren’t leaps in decisions that make Mia seem like a totally different person from the start of the game, but the escalation of crazy events does make her performance more way work than waitress duties by the end.

The performances by the main cast are the strength of a good FMV title and Mia and the Dragon Princess keeps the player engaged long enough on the first play thru. The story is rounded out by funny or intense performances that are straight out of a campy action movie. The action sequences are great, with Dita Tantang’s martial art performance selling a lot of the hits and the fluid fight choreography by Marcus Shakesheff. The tension is broken up with a few jokes from characters like Eddie (Jon Xue Zhang) and Benni (MyAnna Buring) who play small but great roles.

Mia and the Dragon Princess is an entertaining but brief title that has the flexibility to tell an adventure tale or a chaotic unsolved mystery, depending on the choices of Mia. One of the downsides is that the game feels like there are only two acts. You spend time learning about the characters but the second part feels like it follows into a narrow outcome by its conclusion. There are no radical shifts that feel out of place but I was hoping for a few more unexpected situations or options that take the story to another level. It’s a tight narrative that follows what it sets out to do with martial arts, drama, and comedy. It’s a fun title for action fans to enjoy with a group to watch and play and replay to see where the other choices lead. Mia and the Dragon was released on May 3rd and is now available on PS4/5, Nintendo Switch, mobile devices, and PC.

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