How to Train Your Dragon – Review

Glu is back again, this time sporting a licensed game from the hit child appropriate movie: How to Train Your Dragon by DreamWorks. You control Hiccup the Viking, a boy who befriends a dragon, Toothless. Your primary objective is to control Toothless and complete various missions to make your dragon healthier (whatever that means), however, Hiccup seems to have ADHD, because he always side-tracks to complete various fetch quests (such as collecting sheep) and even hunting gold.

You control Toothless (with Hiccup riding along). The primary goal of the game is to fly to one of three locations and collect objects in mission based quests, and then fly back to a landing hub to advance to the next challenge. These missions range from saving sheep, collecting gold, hunting fish, etc. After each challenge, you fly through several rings that guide you to the next location and the process repeats. Several hundred are scattered around the island for you to collect, with special rewards given to those who can collect all in a set.

Toothless is controlled by tilting the device. Soon after you start playing, you get the ability to boost by tapping the screen. Calibration is also possible by pressing a button on the game screen. A nifty bar measures your altitude. The controls are simple, but work fine.

The game is has only three “levels”, and they all are rather short. The main problem I have with the game is the lack of any sort of difficulty, and the resultant tediousness while playing. Even while boosting, Toothless is incredibly slow, and it can take 2-3 minutes simply to fly from location to location before starting the next mission. I’ve face-palmed several times trying to fly across the map with such a slow character, and it really defeats the purpose of exploration. Walking would quite honestly be faster than Toothless flying. There aren’t any enemies to fight, and the missions occasionally drag on. Especially the one fetch quest mission in the game. Fetch quest missions in general are simply awful and dealing with a slow dragon feels more like work than playing a game.

However, the game does have solid production values. Story is told through cut-outs of the characters, which is somewhat disappointing, but in-game graphics are rather nice. Toothless and Hiccup have excellent sprites, and the vast and rich polygonal environments compliment the game exceptionally well. Animations are nice, and looking at landmarks from afar has never been more entertaining. The trees look like something a freshman taking a week of 3D animation could create, but the rest of the graphics make up for it. Overall, the game has a very zen-like appeal and is definitely a pleasure to look at.

To accommodate for the short story mode, the game is loaded with extras. Several hundred bugs are scattered for you to collect, if you are interested in that sort of thing, as well as various challenges for you to complete. Interestingly enough, the game has BOTH challenges AND achievements, so Dragon lovers definitely have enough to come back to. Players can play their own music from an awesome in-game player, overall making the game hit all the right marks in terms of extra content and user features.

The game isn’t by any means BAD, but it isn’t exceptional either. I guess the main reason I didn’t enjoy the game all that much is because it is targeted TOWARDS CHILDREN, and not the experienced gamer crowd. I could definitely imagine a 7-9 year old boy enjoying this game, and Glu does a great job of adding content to keep the littleuns coming back. But I still think that it could use a difficulty buff, since I didn’t die even once (except to see what would happen).

iFanzine Verdict: How to Train Your Dragon is a quality title, but only if you’re a young child or an inexperienced player looking to ease your obsession with the hit-movie.

[xrr rating=3/5]