Mia and the Dragon Princess Review

The full-motion-video, or FMV, genre has been around for quite some time now. Still, it’s never really been at the forefront of gaming, as one of its more popular types of experiences. Regardless of this, FMV titles are still made, albeit by more niche companies and for smaller audiences than a lot of other games. It’s good that they’re still a thing, because people want to play them and they’re a part of this industry’s past dating back decades. The only thing is that they sometimes suffer from low development costs, rushed development and other problems.

Wales Interactive is one of the companies at the forefront of FMV gaming these days. I’ve completed several of their games by now, I do believe, and continue to give each one a shot when they release. Some have obviously been better than others, because that’s an inevitability, but sometimes the difference in quality can be quite big. Unfortunately, their latest — which is called Mia and the Dragon Princess — falls into the latter category, at the lower end of the spectrum.

Mia and the Dragon Princess is a movie turned into a video game, which uses player choice to direct its on-screen action. This is typical of all full-motion-video experiences, but this one’s choices are rather basic and lackluster, at least when they’re not incredibly silly and over-the-top. When I played through this one I didn’t feel like I did a whole lot to impact the story, which wasn’t helped by its brevity since it clocked in at maybe an hour in length.

When you play this type of game you want your choices to feel like they matter, and like they make a big impact, but I never really felt that here. I just felt like I was along for the ride, making mostly small decisions that were just placed there to turn what could’ve been a short film into a video game. Simply put, there’s not much ‘game’ in this game. It’s more or less just the short film it would’ve been, with some choices thrown in. Sure, some make an impact and help decide which ending you’ll get, but you likely won’t feel like you did much.

Part of this is due to the story, which is odd, silly and unfortunately also lackluster. I can’t say that I identified with any of the characters, or really felt all that entertained. Then again, I sometimes struggle with silly and campy humour, as well as some British TV. Perhaps that was part of it, but I still wouldn’t say that this is a good narrative or really worth your time.

So, what is the story about? Well, things begin with an animated scene showing a female pirate, who became a seafarer after leaving home and her family. Once she left everything, she became a pretty fearless badass on the open seas, who scrounged up a crew of other saved women and made friends with another fire haired female pirate. The Mandarin speaking Dragon Princess, however, ended up getting lost in ice along with her crew mates and did so hundred(s) of years ago. Thus, you’d think that she’s dead, but she’s apparently not. At least that’s what the game makes you believe, introducing her in a hospital gown as she runs from the police somewhere in London. Or, maybe we’re supposed to believe that this woman imagines she’s her? That’s hard to believe, except for the fact that she’s wearing a hospital gown. The fact that she has some sort of wrist device, which points her towards the red haired pirate’s hidden treasure made me think otherwise. After all, someone would’ve had to have gone to the arctic to find that.

Either way, I’m not going to wrap my head around it anymore, or at least try to. It doesn’t make much sense.

After getting into a fight in a restaurant, being tased and then hiding behind a Dumpster, the Dragon Princess pirate meets Mia, a young barkeep. Mia ends up helping her, and brings her into the basement, pirate-themed, pub in which she works. Around that time, it’s noticed that the wrist thing is going off and is pointing to somewhere in the bar, causing the stranger to start investigating whilst Mia is trying to clothe her, feed her and keep her hidden from her coworkers, an odd, daytime, ‘hen-do’ and others who come into the pub.

Shortly afterwards, bad guys enter the scene. These jerks want to buy the pub because they believe that it does hold some sort of treasure. However, the owner won’t sell and there’s no proof that there is anything hidden within its walls. This causes chaos to occur, leaving Mia attempting to survive and quell the fracas, while dealing with the unpredictable stranger as well.

It’s not a very unique story, nor is it all that coherent. Things happen, characters pop into the old and historical former pirate pub, and it sometimes looks bigger than it did before. Things just keep getting zanier, though, and not for the best. It all got too silly for me, and by the end I was left shaking my head, especially after seeing some rather shocking things happen during my play through. Events that hardly made ‘good’ people bat their eyelashes.

Choices included who to help, what to do first (ie. serve customers or go looking for a lost or stolen delivery), and how to interact during the fracas. As I said, I was shocked by some of the things that happened as a result of my choices since I never expected this game to go so far, but it all felt too over-the-top and campy. It wasn’t my humour, and it’s not something I would really want to play again.

Lastly, it’s important to note that the player’s choices are evaluated and change their scores in several different categories. These include Compassion, Intelligence, Bravery, Responsibility and Knowledge. However, despite the meters fluctuating after every decision — which you can see, because the meters come up on screen just before one of the game’s limited choices becomes available — they don’t seem to impact much. I guess they have something to do with the ending, but I was hoping for some kind of rating or big reveal at the end. Nothing really happened, though. Once the credits finished I was free to do an audio tour or start a new game.

As far as presentation goes, Mia and the Dragon Princess does a pretty solid job. It doesn’t look as nice or as clean as some of Wales Interactive’s previous games, like Ten Dates, The Complex or Maid of Sker, all of which I enjoyed a lot more, but it does look quite good in HD. Its audio is also quite solid, although the acting could’ve been a lot better. Then again, everything is so campy that it kind of all works. Not for my liking, but I guess it’s just not my thing.

We ended up reviewing this one on an Xbox Series S, and found that it ran okay for the most part. There were times where the video noticeably lagged, though, and times where it seemed like it jumped from one scene to another too quickly. Hopefully the developers can fix this stuff with patches.

As is always the case, I wanted to enjoy Mia and the Dragon Princess, and actually looked forward to playing it. I hoped it would end up being as good as some of the other Wales Interactive FMV games that I’ve played in recent years, but it unfortunately wasn’t. I found this particular one to be silly, campy, far too basic and way too short. There’s very little to it, it’s hardly a game and it jumps around far too much. Furthermore, the characters were almost all far too annoying — outside of Mia, whom I liked but hardly had time to get to know — as is the story itself.

I wouldn’t spend money on this one.

This review is based on the Xbox Series S version of the game, which we were provided with.


Mia and the Dragon Princess isn't much of a game, and it's far too silly to truly enjoy as a film. This one is unfortunately a miss.
Reader Rating0 Votes
The Good Stuff
Multiple endings, if that's your thing. It's not mine.
It's not very long
Some off the wall choices leading to some occasionally gruesome content
The Not-So-Good Stuff
It's not much of a game, even in comparison to other, better, FMV games
Silly, dumb and campy
Little to write home about in general