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Daily iPhone App: DragonVale

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DragonVale is the newest game from Backflip Studios, a company we've covered in detail here on the site before. It represents kind of a new direction for the company, too -- so far, CEO Julian Farrior and his team have gone after mostly ad views, selling cheap or even free apps to lots and lots of people, and then using ads to monetize them. And Farrior has always said that he's open to monetizing apps in all kinds of ways, so here's another: DragonVale is Backflip's take on the popular freemium model going around lately.

The idea is that you're raising a farm of dragons, more or less, and all of the standard "Farmville" style rules apply: hatch dragons into habitats which earn you money, enabling you to build more dragons and habitats all the way up the chain. And DragonVale isn't a bad example of this game -- it builds up nicely, the art is colorful and fun (Backflip actually hired a former Insomniac Games artist who previously worked on the Ratchet and Clank series), and everything runs quite smoothly. If you're a fan of the genre (or want an easy and comfortable way to see what it's all about), DragonVale is worth checking out.

It'll be interesting to see how this goes for Backflip as well -- as I said, generally the company has depended on larger audiences to support its games, and a title like this definitely could use a big audience, but even moreso requires that dedicated group of players willing to commit a few bucks (or more) to buying the in-game currency. If this all goes well for Backflip, we might see lots more of this from them in the future.

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