Mia and the Dragon Princess – Review
Follow Genre: FMV
Developer: Wales Interactive, Good Gate Media, Dead Pixel Productions
Publisher: Wales Interative
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, Android
Tested on: Switch

Mia and the Dragon Princess – Review

Site Score
Good: Individual actor performances are good
Bad: Tonally inconsistent
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 2.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It looks like Wales Interactive is finally entering the post-COVID era when it comes to producing new FMV games. Their latest undertaking, Mia and the Dragon Princess, is a more ambitious project compared to their previous titles, where the pandemic restrictions were still very noticeable, both in scope and scale. Not only do we get multiple locations here, including some scenes set outdoors, but the FMV producer is even pulling in some big names, including the likes of The Witcher’s MyAnna Buring and Doctor Who’s Eighth Doctor himself, Paul McGann. Is Mia and the Dragon Princess a triumphant return to full form for Wales Interactive or did they bite off more than they could chew?


A short opening sequence set hundreds of years before our main story, gives some background info about a duo of female pirates, one of whom has a device strapped to her arm that shows the way to treasure. Fast forward to current times, and a confused woman in a hospital gown, Marshanda, is running in the streets of London, with a device strapped to her arm that looks suspiciously like the one seen in the opening sequence. She ends up at The Dragon Princess, an Asian restaurant, where she creates an uproar and attracts the attention of Mr. Walsh, the owner. Walsh happens to be aware of the functionality of the device Marshanda has on her arm, and he needs the woman for his own nefarious purposes. After Marshanda makes her escape, she ends up crossing paths with Mia, a young woman working in an underground pirate-themed bar. Although Marshanda doesn’t speak English, Mia understands that the woman needs help. What follows is an action-packed adventure that sees Walsh and his thugs face off against the employees and patrons of Skip’s pirate bar, with Marshanda and the pirate treasure smack-dab in the middle.

What could be the basis of a fun action-adventure romp falls flat due to some genuinely terrible writing choices, however. While the cast does an admirable job with the material they’ve been given, some of the dialogue is just poorly written and feels unnatural. Jokes are poorly implemented, as if Mia and the Dragon Princess deliberately attempts to be a so-bad-it’s-good-again comedy, but things fall flat. We could give plenty of cringe-worthy examples here, but we’ll limit ourselves to just a single one to give you an idea: when one of the game’s thugs takes several small cannonballs to the chest, which leaves him with Looney Tunes-like perfectly round holes through his body, his final words are “Clear my browser history”. This is the kind of humor that we’re dealing with, and we spent most of our time rolling our eyes and groaning rather than actually laughing.


As this is an FMV game, the majority of the visuals consist of live-action footage, although the game’s opening sequence is fully animated instead. The art style for this sequence is gorgeous, even though the actual animation is basic and rather choppy. When it comes to the live-action footage, things are a mixed bag. During dialogue scenes, which there are a lot of, everything is fine. The lighting is good, and there is decent color grading going on, making things look like a TV show. Things come apart at the seams when it comes to the action scenes and special effects, however. During fight sequences, Mia and the Dragon Princess attempts to hide some of its awkward choreography through fast-paced editing, but things end up looking silly. A particularly egregious example of this is early on, when a young girl throws a spring roll at Marshanda mid-battle, with Marshanda catching it and eating it, then giving a thumbs up to the girl. This scene felt like it belonged in a cheap slapstick comedy for kids and completely undermined the seriousness of the fight. The aforementioned special effects look unfinished, with a supposed “spray of blood” being especially laughable.


While Mia and the Dragon Princess’ audio is fine for the most part, there are a handful of moments where the mixing is done poorly. Taking the spring roll scene we mentioned above as another example, the girl in the scene is around ten years old but her voice was clearly added afterwards. She also sounds like a toddler when she says “Daddy, she’s hungry” before throwing the spring roll, which further adds to the feeling of inconsistency. These examples happen often enough to be distracting, even though the audio is fine elsewhere.


We’ve taken a look at previous FMV titles from Wales Interactive, so we were somewhat surprised to see that Mia and the Dragon Princess dials things down quite a bit in terms of gameplay. You’re essentially restricted to making decisions for how Mia acts during key parts of the story, and watching how things play out. These choices don’t happen very often, and unlike with titles like Ten Dates or Who Pressed Mute on Uncle Marcus, they don’t seem like they have much of an impact. That is to say, there are ten different endings present here, but you’re simply making choices to see the story play out in different ways, not because the choices themselves are interesting or impactful. What’s baffling about this is that whenever you’re tasked with making a choice, a screen pops up showing Mia’s character traits, giving the impression that choices affect traits and vice versa, but in practice, these didn’t seem to affect anything. There are plenty of missed opportunities when it came to interactivity, such as implementing QTEs in the many fight sequences, which would have made things more interesting.

There are a couple of features that were missing here as well. For one, the manual save option seems to be missing, so you can’t reload a save to make different choices. Not that a playthrough of Mia and the Dragon Princess takes very long, averaging about an hour depending on the choices you make, but we would’ve definitely enjoyed a more user-friendly approach. Granted, you can skip over scenes you’ve seen before but there is no option to jump in at any point in the story, not even from the game’s story tree, which you can consult from the game’s main menu. The nature of some of the scenes also means that you’ll still have to rewatch them seven or eight times if you want to see all possible endings even if you decide to skip as much as possible, which can get quite tiresome.


While we’re all for fun action romps that don’t take themselves too seriously, Mia and the Dragon Princess misses quite a few marks. At times it takes itself too seriously, and at others, it ventures into cartoon slapstick territory. Add to this that the interactivity is too limited and that the game misses some much-needed QoL features, and you’ve got a rather disappointing outing from Wales Interactive. We much prefer titles like Ten Dates over this kind of shlock, and so it’s difficult to recommend this one, mainly due to how inconsistent it is. When not even the likes of The Doctor himself can save your lackluster writing, then you’re in for a bad time.

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Rating: 2.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Mia and the Dragon Princess - Review, 2.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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