Dragoneer's Aria, also known as "Dragoneer's Aria: Ryu Ga Nemuru Made" in Japan is a humble fantasy role-playing game developed by Hit Maker and published by Nippon Ichi Software for the Playstation Portable.
Set in a world where evil has many faces, six elemental dragons keep the balance in the world of Iris. A group called the Dragoneers help the dragons with their tasks, guarding the many cities. The player takes the role of Valen Kesslar, a handsome yet feminine young man who is graduating from the Dragoon Academy. The graduation ceremony consists of summoning the six dragons, whom were originally part of the Holy Dragon Grinlek before his death by the Black Dragon, Nidhogg. In the middle of the ceremony, Nidhogg appears again and destroys the royal city, injuring the Water Dragon during the process. After the attack, the Dragoons gather and spread across the world of Iris to investigate Nidhogg's attack and to defend the other elemental dragons from harm. Valen does not go alone however, as a young girl who assisted in protecting and healing the dragons during the attack decides to join him on his adventure.
Dragoneer's Aria has many kinds of enemies roaming the world you can explore. All enemies are presented in the form of flying eyeballs, however its possible to target enemies to see their difficulty and type. The player can choose to run up to the enemy to commence combat, or run up from behind to start a back attack. The back attack allows the party to attack first with additional damage. Once in combat, the game features a turn-based combat system, which allows the player to select the order in which the characters perform their actions. The characters can attack, cast spells, guard, use an item or escape from battle.
One of the most popular features in Dragoneer's Aria is the way a character can guard from attacks. Guarding is much like a mini game, in which a circle is drawn around the screen. While an arrow swiftly spins clockwise, the player must trigger several highlighted areas on the circle before the time runs out. The more highlighted parts the player was able to trigger, the more damage the character will block. If every part is successfully triggered, the character will guard from the attack entirely.
There are two kinds of magic the player can utilize, "Lusces" and "Dragon Orbs". Lusces can be considered as jewelry which the characters wears. Different Lusces possess different kinds of magic, by using them repeatedly the magic within will become stronger. The level increases in the Lusce itself, which allows the player to quickly switch the more powerful Lusces between characters. The second kind of magic comes from the elemental Dragon Orbs, which contain dragon skills. These are powerful elemental attacks similar to magic, but can be used to perform elemental combination attacks with two characters at once. While Lusces can be found across the world of Iris, Dragon Orbs can only be obtained from the elemental dragons themselves.
Characters have certain field skills which they can use out of combat as well, these skills are useful in exploring the world and managing your party. Some of these include Euphe's "Mana Sea" field skill, which allows her to heal the party on the field. Valen has a "Dash" skill, which allows him to run faster and outrunning enemies. Using either magic or a field skill require mana, while its not possible to restore mana through potions, simply attacking enemies or guarding from attacks replenishes mana again.
Throughout the world of Iris, from NPC's or from stores the player can acquire recipes. These allow various accessories, weapons or different ingredients to be crafted. Usually the crafting process involves creating an entire chain of items first in order to craft the desired item.
Dragoneer's Aria features a multiplayer mode titled "Dragoneer Mode", which enables the game to be played with up to 4 players cooperatively through the Playstion Portable's wireless connection. Each player is able to control one character each, together they can explore the world and dungeons with an increased overall difficulty.