Last modified: March 4th, 2022
Flight Rising is a browser-based game in which you raise, breed, and battle dragons. There are currently 18 species of dragons, with different art for the baby, male, and female versions. There are numerous patterns (“genes”) and colors for the body, wings, and all-over patterns. Let’s take a look at these dragon designs!
We’re going to start off with the four “free” dragon breeds, which you can choose from at the creation of your account. The Guardian is a heckin’ thick lad, with burly shoulders and an imposing stance. They hail from the ocean region of Flight Rising’s world, which explains the fins on their neck, jaw, and legs. While I greatly enjoy the overall sloped shape of the head, I don’t agree with the long hairy beard, especially since it is the only instance of hair on the entire design. I also find that the tail is lacking a fin or paddle that would really clarify that this is an ocean-dwelling dragon.
Suggestions: add a fin at the tip of the tail, remove the beard OR add more fur on other parts of the body, change the toes so they are longer and webbed
The Mirror is a lean, slippery-looking fella. I love the uniqueness of the head – that skull-like mask, the four eyes, the attached ear-fins. The feet are also very pleasing, and overall lends to a sense of a sneaky, quick-footed dragon. It would be cool to see more of that exoskeleton armor on other parts of the body.
Suggestions: add more armor to shoulders, hips, or back to match head, remove OR enlarge the elbow fins, make the wings match the head fins
The smallest dragon breed, the Fae is a delicate little guy. The head is simply adorable, but I feel as though those raised head-fins should have been one and the same with the ears, as those little rounded mouse-ears feel otherwise very out of place. The limbs feel appropriately delicate and I really enjoy the angular way it holds its neck and tail. I don’t love the teardrop-shaped “feathers” on the wing-fingers, which I imagine would create a lot of drag for this small creature.
Suggestions: enlarge the eyes and head, remove the wing extensions, alter the “hands” on the wings to be more bug-like
I’m very glad Flight Rising has a furred dragon species. The horns are very unique, with that fin-like branching/webbing on the underside, but they give an aquatic impression that I think was undesired. I appreciate that the fur covers the wing-arms for insulation. Though it stands out as unique, I don’t especially love the face, which reads as distressingly human to me. I also want this guy to have huge, fluffy paws instead of those fine little clawed toes.
Suggestions: enlarge the feet and add toe fluff, add brow to distinguish snout and make more feline
The Pearlcatcher is an interesting mix of Western and Eastern dragon traits. This is one of the more unique ways I’ve seen classic dragon design elements re-compiled. I really enjoy the rhinoceros-like horns on the head, and I really appreciate how the tufts of fur are echoed on the head, jaw, tail, and joints, which helps them feel deliberate and cohesive. The in-world lore around the “Pearl” is interesting, because it is barfed up after hatching and represents the dragon’s soul, but there doesn’t seem to be any benefit to this creature to carry this large orb around. Why don’t other dragons do this, in one way or another? Why do Pearlcatchers carry theirs around, which puts them one limb short for running, hunting, and fighting, instead of, say, burying it somewhere?
Suggestions: incorporate the pearl into the body somewhere, elongate body slightly
One of the most sexually dimorphic dragon species, the Ridgeback males boast these long spear-noses while females have a more traditional snout, much like elephant seals. I really enjoy the long, elegant neck on the somewhat stout, round body. Visually, those ridges on the wing-fingers look awesome, but I feel like they must provide little to no practical purpose and might even impede flight. The spine ridges also seem very delicate, like they would break off easily at the base. I really dislike those weird claw-scythes coming off the ankles – especially since the hind leg ones are on the bottom of the foot and not the ankle at all. Overall, a cool pointy dragon who unfortunately seems likely to stab himself a lot.
Suggestions: remove the spikes on the wing fingers and ankles, add more or enlarge horns
The Spiral dragon has always stood out to me as the most efficient usage of square image space. I mean, look at that composition! I like that we have a long, thin, noodley dragon that isn’t obviously Eastern. But the wings are way too small to be functional! The head also feels oversized and out of place, as if it were taken from a completely different dragon and tacked on – shouldn’t it be similarly slender, or serpentine, with head-fins to echo the many “wings”?
Look at all them face-thingies! I enjoy the Imperial as a re-imagining of the classic Chinese dragon. He has lots of whiskers like a cat, curly-swirly mane bits, and is overall quite pleasing to look at. I do think the wings are out of place, and very plain compared to the swirly, ornate rest of the beast. I want to see something evocative of those Chinese dragon branch-fire-wings or something with some curls.
This species is SO close to being my exact aesthetic. The body, or at least the underbelly, appears to be fur, but it’s somewhat unclear. I unfortunately really, really don’t like the Skydancer’s face – the eye is way too high on the brow, the brow is too flat, and while the antennae are very unique, I don’t like them on this particular dragon design. The wings are interesting, and it’s nice to see a mixture of fur and feathers on a dragon, but they feel so gnarled and fragile that it doesn’t remotely evoke the grace that the name would suggest.
Wildclaws are my personal favorite dragon species, but they don’t really seem like they belong in the same world as these other creatures, do they? Bipedal and raptorial, they’re the only dragon species with functional hands. They have no external ears, apparently, unless they’re an avian slot behind the jaw. I like the tiered horns and those beefy thighs, but I want to see more feathers in other places on the body. I can’t quite understand if the underbelly or entire body is furred, but I personally would have liked scales better, or at least some bird-like scutes on the feet.
Get it, like “Quetzalcoatl”? It’s not unusual to see “feathered serpent”-inspired dragons, but this chubby, stout, weasel-like creature is definitely different. I have several questions, though – do those wings actually work? They don’t appear to have the internal bone structure, but the tiny set on the butt does! I like the cobra hood/mane of feathers and I actually really love the face, but the swirls are confusingly inorganic and the wings feel completely impossible.
I’m sorry, I just don’t care for the Snapper. I really dislike that weird old man face, weirdly human pectorals (dragon moobs), and giant underbite chin. I’m sorry, Snapper, you deserve better than me. At the very least, the Snapper feels cohesive: the rocky spikes on the chin are echoed on the elbows and those big dopey elephant feet are appropriately stone-like as well. If there’s one saving grace, I like that alligator-like ridged tail and its symmetrical spikes.
Overall I really like the Nocturne – the unique shape of the head, and those parallel ridges down the neck and tail really work for me. I’m not sure how I feel about that delicate, wav fin under the jaw and neck – it feels out of place, this flowy, organic, curtain-like shape compared to all the angular spines. The body is too chonky to fly in my opinion, but I like that we have a dragon with “flying squirrel” patagium connected to the feet. I’m a sucker for zig-zag external teeth mouths.
When you put an environment in a creature’s name, I’m going to assume that is where it’s found. While I love the top-heavy head and neck of the Bogsneak, the lower body and especially the feet don’t seem suited to a swampy environment at all, as they’re heavy paw-like things. I could get behind this dragon being suited for swimming, like a seal or penguin, but I would want to see more aquatic traits on its body, like the tail. A gripe that I have with many of these dragons is that the wing patagium is ripped at the edges. In real flesh-winged animals like bats and sugar gliders, the edges of the wing membrane is actually the thickest part of the membrane, rolled over on itself like a folded piece of paper. If any part of the wing is going to rip, it’s going to be the thin, stretched-out parts in the middle, not the edges. I’ve seen bats with massively ripped wings that actually still have the thick outside cord-like edge of the wing intact. The “torn” look of these wings suggests a paper drink umbrella more than stretched skin.
This “Ancient Breeds” update is really exciting, because it introduces a new class of ancient dragons that are promised to defy the standard body shapes and really push the boundaries on the definition of “dragon”. Gaolers are… well, they’re kind of just cooler Tundra dragons. Honestly, I think this would have been better as an update, or mutation, or evolution, of Tundras, rather than a different species. I really love the fleshy pink paw pads on those useless little wings. I also really enjoy the strong-jawed, smooth-browed face, which lends a sense of feral power to the creature. Ancient dragons also have their own unique genes; the Gaoler has variations like larger horns, armor plating, and thicker fur. Without these special genes, though, it kind of just looks like a cooler Tundra, and my hopes are high that the other ancient breeds we will be meeting have more dramatic presence.
The second ever Ancient Breed, the Banescale is a classic spikey wyvern. I think it’s interesting that they chose NOT to give this dragon any wing-thumbs, when 5 other species have them and a dragon without proper forelimbs could probably really benefit from them. Interestingly, the Banescale also doesn’t have any thumb-like grasping toes, meaning it is completely lacking any opposable digits. Even just comparing to birds, toe arrangement is extremely important. It makes this species feel dumb – literally, like an unintelligent dragon race that is more akin to an animal than a sentient being. I do, however, enjoy the long spines down the back, and those little extra mini-wings at the wing-elbows are really unique.
Another “Modern” breed (as in, the normal genes apply), the Obelisk dragons clearly are modeled after Chinese guardian lions (“foo dogs”), with blunt feline snouts and curly manes. I really like the overall body shape of this species; the huge forepaws are delightful, and the body has this front-heaviness that is very dynamic and appealing to me. The face is excellent – it reads as “dragon” while still clearly connotating something mammalian. I’m not a huge fan of the itty-bitty skinny back feet – I actually think this species would have been better plantigrade (walks on the flat/bottom of foot) than digitigrade (toe-walking), because their design suggests upper-body strength, and I think they would need a sturdy foothold to rear up and use those powerful forepaws.
The Veilspun is another ancient breed, meaning it has unique genes and body features. The Veilspun has a sort of “dark faerie” thing going on that I can appreciate; it’s the signature ancient breed of the Shadow region, which is a swampy and spooky forest. Obviously the long, draping mane stands out as an immediate feature, but otherwise, this is a pretty normal dragon, comparable to a Pearlcatcher or Imperial. They are tiny and behave like bees according to lore, so they are another Fae dragon – probably intentionally a sort of dark, unseelie to the standard seelie that is the normal Fae breed. In my opinion, the eyes should be much larger to effectively communicate this size. Extremely long hair doesn’t seem particularly practical in a nasty swampy fungal forest, either. That stuff is going to be full of leaves and dirt.
This breed raises a concern that I have with Flight Rising in an ongoing capacity: the base dragon is not very interesting, but some of the breed-specific genes are really cool. I completely understand the desire to give the breeds variation so they don’t all look the same, but without an expensive tertiary gene, this breed is extremely unremarkable.
The newest dragon breed is an Ancient breed, which have unique genes and cannot wear clothes. And can I just say, YES! Look at this top-heavy, gangly, two-headed WEIRDO! In game lore, they hail from the living flesh landscape of the Plague region, but they honestly look more noble and gargoyle-like to me. I really like how the right head always has round horns, and the left has upright horns and a third eye. I’m very picky about multi-headed dragons, but I really like this design. My only real complaint is that they don’t read as very “plaguey” to me aside from the tattered wings – they actually seem quite regal. That glorious neck fluff and the slime they live in and around just makes for an unpleasant wet-fur texture experience.
Please check out Flight Rising if you like dragons! Feel free to add me as a friend – my lair is #11663, I joined way back when the game first launched to the public.
Also, making an account means you can play with the awesome Predict Morphology feature, which lets you free-play with the game’s dragon builder even if you don’t want to get involved in the game itself.