Saturday, March 27, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon (Play the Game!)

How to Train Your Dragon, based on the hit Dreamworks movie, lets you play as either the gangly Viking Hiccup or his friend Astrid in the vast island of Berk, including film locales like Viking Village, Wild Zone, Trianing Zone and Fight Arena.

Naturally, I chose to play as spunky Viking chick Astrid.

Playing videogames, that's where I'm a Viking! : )

This game is both gorgeous visually--Activision and Dreamworks did a great job bringing the movie feel to the game--and a lot of fun to play.

I stuck How to Train Your Dragon in the PS3 and didn't come up for air for a couple hours, as I trained my dragons (yes, that's right, I already had TWO well-trained combat dragons by the time I quit, thank you very much), explored Berk Island and battled against other dragons in the Fight Arena.

Training tutorials take you through the moves your dragons can make, from blowing fire to jumping, blocking and side-stepping the attacks of other dragons. As you and your dragon grow and train together, you can customize the look of your dragon, everything from the color of its scales to the shape of its tail. There are several different types of dragons, each with different strengths, which is the advantage of adding more than one type to your Dragon's Den.

I, for example, had a Monstrous Nightmare dragon in addition to what I like to call my "starter dragon." Don't you just love that name? Monstrous Nightmare. I am SO going to win in the Fight Arena!

But you can't ask any dragon to fight unless it is one happy, well-nourished, rested, healthy dragon.

So your task, in addition to training, is to gather up all the plants and animals your dragons need to stay healthy.

You tussle with sheep and chickens and even, in the Wild Zone, wild boars to collect food for your dragons (don't worry, there is nothing graphic about this for little ones. Jumping on an chicken, for example, causes a flurry of dust, some scrambling sounds and then, voila! You have lovely cooked chicken ready to serve).

You'll also pull carrots, turnips, flowers and little shrubs from the ground (because even dragons need veggies!), and push over big rocks and boulders to dig underneath them for (ugh!) juicy bugs.

Of course, you also have to let your dragons rest, when they are tired. Important: Never wake a sleepy dragon!

And along the way, helpful villagers will also supply you with recipes, provided you can come up with the ingredients, to help heal any wounds your dragons suffer in battle.

So, How to Train Your Dragon is really all about the proper care and feeding of your dragons.

Oh, and awesome dragon combat!

The other little Vikings and their dragons want to win Viking victory with their dragons every bit as much as you do. That's what all the training has been for, after all: so you can battle yoru way through prestigious dragon tournaments.

What's especially appealing about How to Train Your Dragon is that you can play this game with two players, at home, in endless head-to-head multi-player combat. And this is a really family-friendly game you can play right along with your kids.

(Side rant: There just aren't enough 2-player games for the PS3. It's about time they came up with another multi-player offering!)

How to Train Your Dragon is now available for the Wii and Xbox 360 (the screenshots in the post are from the Xbox 360 version), Rated E10+ (Fantasy Violence), and also for the Nintendo DS, Rated E10+ (Mild Fantasy Violence).

Viv's take: An enjoyable, quest-filled, graphics intensive game for the entire family, How to Train Your Dragon will delight players with its likeable characters, customizable dragons and head-to-head multiplayer battles.

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