Pet sims have always been popular, and as the web expands a range of them have sprung up. In the new generation of free online Hatching games, one is slowly emerging as a clear leader. Dragon Cave has a simple concept but is easy to grasp and difficult to master.
Users collect eggs from the front page of the game. They then post these eggs around the web – in their signature on forums, on personal websites, in IMs and so on. As users view them, or sometimes click on them, the eg begins to hatch. If it gets enough views or clicks in seven days, the egg becomes a hatchling. Then the user has another seven days to get enough views and clicks to make it grow up into an adult dragon.
It’s a very simply concept but incredibly playable and incredibly easy to get hooked.
The appeal of the game lies in several areas. It is incredibly easy to play, and anyone who is active on a forum should be able to hatch a dragon. There is the element of collecting, and as new dragons and limited edition dragons are released, and some can only appear under certain circumstances, this can prove a challenge in itself.
Dragons are stored on “Scrolls”, which each users has, and which allow you to display your entire collection of dragons. Once adult, dragons can breed allowing you to create more dragons of various types to try and complete your collection. The sprite artwork for the dragons deserves its own mention. It is outstanding and original, unlike many of its rivals, which also sets the game apart from the competition.
To preserve a degree of challenge players cannot tell other players what each egg grows up into, which keeps an element of mystery. Not all eggs with the same description will hatch the same dragon, and aspects such as time of day, year and number of clicks can affect what emerges, making it difficult to breed that elusive missing dragon to complete your scroll.
Finally the incredibly active user forum and support base for the game is another reason to get involved. It is possible to see what is coming down the pipeline, suggest ideas and with the founder of the game, TJ, playing an active role in the discussions it means that players can actually contribute to the way the game develops.
With fansites displaying facilities such as hatcheries to help users hatch their eggs, and emergency rooms for sick dragons and eggs with little time left, this game has an active community, a lot of players and is a good way to start playing hatching sims.