Playism’s publishing means people on a Switch get a chance to experience a lot of doujin and indie games that might not make the leap from PCs otherwise. This means that yes, a game perhaps won’t be perfectly suited for the system. Still, it’ll be interesting to see it there and take a chance on a smaller title. Drago Noka is a game with farming, building, and simulation elements that isn’t exactly perfect or easy, but is unique and interesting enough.
You’re basically tossed into Drago Noka with little fanfare. Players’ avatars land on the back of the Grand Tortoise (Grant) dragon. As is typical for a game with farming and village management, you’re an amnesiac. Immediately upon waking, Nona asks for your help in pushing her father’s coffin off the side of the dragon. She is a priestess who lived alone with her father there. When the government agent Mimimi arrives, the player is put in charge of Grant since Nona doesn’t want the job. Your goal is to build homes for potential villagers, farm, raise animals and develop the area, while also exploring occasional ruins and facing other dragons.
From there, it is sink-or-swim. Attempting to start a farm isn’t even broached initially. (It also doesn’t explain how to leave food for villagers in Nona’s hut so they don’t get sick.) You’re tasked with building viable homes either from the broken down remnants on Grant or via original construction. You get tools like an axe and hammer to start getting wood and stone, and there are plants to gather on Grants’ back. Items gradually respawn, and a wyvern rider named Yuni stops by every day to collect goods you might be shipping, act as a merchant you can buy from, and get new residents once you have homes for them. As GeSei unkan built it in WOLF RPG Editor, this doujin game has a definite RPG Maker feel to it, though with a rudimentary Stardew Valley or Story of Seasons approach.
Things can generally be rather freeform. After getting the village established with a few houses and starting an initial farm, you can start doing what you’d please. That can mean resource gathering for crafting, so you can add more furniture or engage in more customization. You might direct Grant to move around the map, so it will change the current “season.” This influences materials and the weather. It can also cause enemies to appear or result in dragon encounters. Which means you’d need to feed your dragon ahead of time to prepare for that kind of eventuality or be ready to defend the homes on the back of Grant from any foe that lands there. You can also eventually form relationships with different villagers,
A good way to describe Drago Noka is ambling. This is a game that takes its time. From the hours I’ve spent with it, it doesn’t seem like I’m being penalized from pursuing a relaxed approach. Even if you aren’t farming yet, some trees feature food, so I could take my time without worrying about Nona starving. The only time limits I noticed involved furnishing villager homes after recruiting them. However, waiting to start the process until I’d already started getting homes and some items for them together helped a bit with that.
However, as this is an indie game, that means Drago Noka suffers from not often telling you what to do. For example, it is very freeform about getting things set up. It doesn’t teach you how to build a house. You need to set up floors, walls, windows, doors, and roofs on your own. (Fortunately, working off of a dilapidated one gives you the framework you need to learn.) Learning how to interact with villagers comes down to trial and error, though it seems like asking them for something is the best way to get them working toward a goal. It took me a moment to realize how to leave food for Nona, as initially I accidentally cleaned out the initial supply. But given the nature of the game, someone needs to expect that it will be rudimentary. Also, while short, there is a Steam demo that lets someone get brief feel for things.
Drago Noka isn’t the first farming and village life simulation I’d recommend. It’s definitely the sort of game you should try first, to see if it will be for you. But it does offer a very relaxed approach and does some interesting things, what with everything set on the back of a dragon. Getting a chance to see an indie interpretation of a genre is always interesting. You won’t get the same level of investment as in, say, a Stardew Valley or Story of Seasons, but it can be fun to build up a village in terms of its appearance and spend some evenings farming and exploring.
Drago Noka is available for the Nintendo Switch and PC.