As a big fan of the TV show here in the U.K., I was very much looking forward to the release of the Dragons’ Den official game when I heard it was making its way to the App Store. With little disposable income in real-life, I was looking forward to getting my hands on some virtual millions and carefully investing in some whacky inventions.
I downloaded Dragons’ Den from 2waytraffic as soon as it hit the App Store, but I’m rather disappointed with version 1.0.
When you begin you have 5 Dragons to choose from – all of whom are fictional and don’t actually feature in the show – but are rich nonetheless. You get £750,000 which you must invest wisely into inventions which you think will be successful. The aim is to have raked in more cash than the other Dragons by the end of the game.
You will be pitched three – yes, just three – inventions from 100 real-life companies whose ideas were either a multimillion pound goldmine or an unfortunate flop. All of the pitches are supposed to be cryptic, so you get very little information, and it’s up to you to basically guess whether or not each invention will be a hit.
Some ideas you will recognize as successful companies, inventions or products, but I didn’t find this to be all that often. Others ideas are just so crazy that you struggle to believe they are actually true, such as the ‘Blaster’ – a “car-mounted flamethrower… legal in South Africa… to help protect people from car-jackings.” Seriously:
Each pitch is just one paragraph long and loosely – very loosely – describes the business idea. The contestant will then tell you how much of your money they need and how much equity they’ll give you in return. You can’t assert your virtual mastery by interrogating and intimidating the contestants as they do on the real show; all you can do is decide whether or not you wish to invest. You can, however, ask for more equity when you make your offer, but I found when doing this another Dragon would always undercut me and got the deal.
Once all Dragons have had their say and decided whether or not they wish to invest, the game reveals whether the idea was a goldmine, a hit, or a flop; and what actually happened to each product in real-life.
If your venture was successful, you’ll make a profit on your investment and you’ll climb up the leaderboard. If it was a flop – like my £500,000 investment in the ‘Blaster’ – then you’ll obviously lose your money and potentially end up bankrupt.
After just three pitches the game is over, and you are returned to the main menu wondering where the rest of it went. At most… if you really take your time… maybe make a drink and get a snack in between pitches… then let the dog out in the garden… maybe call a friend… then your single-player game could last all of about 7 minutes to complete.
There is a pass & play multiplayer game mode for up to 5 people, and although this can breathe a bit of competition and substance into an otherwise short, lifeless game, you are still presented with only three pitches and you get the feeling the game isn’t quite finished.
The basics aren’t too bad: the graphics are okay and it’s a nice idea, however, it needs a lot more to warrant its £1.79 price tag. Even £0.59 games offer a great deal more than Dragons’ Den. It has OpenFeint achievements and leaderboards built-in, but it really doesn’t need it right now.
I’m hoping a future update will set things right. The game needs to be much longer and we should be given the chance to select how many pitches we’d like to see when we begin a game. I’d also like to see a career mode that lets you gamble with your fortune on a weekly basis and sets you goals and targets to try and achieve. Online multiplayer would also be nice.
No matter how much you love the show, Dragons’ Den for iOS really isn’t worth your investment in its current state. It’s fun for a very, very short period of time, but you’ll be bored and disappointed with it incredibly quickly.