We'll start with Battle Dragons, the more MMO-like game of the two. Perhaps because it was created by a studio that has dominated the mobile MMO space for the last several years, Battle Dragons works perfectly on a mobile device.
First, you can play casually. You can load the game, log in to Google Play if you'd like (I like to keep track of my achievements with the service) and build up a few buildings while attacking a few NPC targets in the story mode. You'll utilize different types of dragons, from blue dragons that melee enemy buildings or creatures to dragons that, of course, breathe fire. When you load an enemy's map you can tap the ground to select where you want your army members to materialize. It's simple and acts like a reverse tower-defense. Instead of protecting your lands against invaders, you are the invader. Your dragons will try and defeat your enemy's dragons, and you can do it all with only a few minutes a day.
Lastly, you can pump a million bucks into the cash-shop, turning it into virtual sheep, gold, and pearls. I have earned quite a few freebies just in normal play and have not yet felt the need to put money into the game, but I can easily see how far five or ten dollars will get you. If you continue to put money into the game you can easily grow in power much faster than other players. Once you have higher level dragons and buildings, though, you'll be matched against players who are around the same ability level as you. So, with bought power comes more powerful enemies.
When I moved to a new house over the last week and a half, I opened the game and found that it knew that I had moved locations (thanks to GPS), and it asked if I wanted to relocate. Once I did, I started looking at businesses around me and decided to make an offer on a wine and spirits bar. It was owned by someone so I made an offer. It was forwarded to the owner and in the meanwhile I was able to perform a few jobs at the same location and earn some coins. Those coins could be used to make more offers, pay rent on buildings, and other things.
The more Foursquare check-ins a property has, the more it costs. But, more check-ins also means more profit! I found myself actually trying to think of the local businesses that I wanted to support, as though my little avatar would actually walk into a place and start working.
You can customize your avatar and send gifts to friends, but you cannot communicate beyond that. It's unfortunate because communication could open up much more strategy and group play, but it should also be noted that you are not forced to rely on friends to help you unlock goodies as is the case in many social games.
Both games are free-to-play with light cash-shop effects. I'd recommend them both, but Tiny Tycoons is only available on iOS while Battle Dragons is available on both iOS and Android.
Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.