DragonVale

Common Sense Media says

Entertaining sim experience requires patience -- or cash.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The game could use a more robust tutorial. It explains the basics, but leaves out next steps. 

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

The game includes a breeding cave, and one of the primary activities is breeding new dragon species. There is nothing explicit here, but it could still raise questions for younger kids.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This free app is one of the top grossing apps in the app store. There are in-app purchases for coins, gems, and treats. Coins and treats can be obtained through regular play, while gems require a special (cash) purchase. You can progress through the game without gems, but the game moves much more slowly. Parents should be prepared for pressure to buy gems and will want to consider turning off in-app purchases while kids play.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. Players can opt in to Apple’s Game Center to track scores and achievements, and for some games, challenge friends. Players can send and receive friend requests using an email address or Game Center nickname, revealing the first and last name associated with each party’s Apple ID and, in the case of email requests, the sender’s email address. With iOS 5, players can opt to have a private or public profile, which can include a photo. With a public profile, your real name is visible to all other players, and Game Center will recommend you to other players using your real name. With a private profile, only your friends can see your real name, and Game Center will not recommend you to other players. Players can also connect with friends on Facebook. Players can visit other players they are not connected with, but names are not revealed.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Dragonvale is a simulation game that allows players to build a dragon park. You can buy new buildings, decorate, and make your park more attractive for visitors. You'll also feed and care for your dragons, as well as breed them to discover new species. The game does require some patience as it can take time to earn the resources to buy a new building or move to the next level. In-app purchases of gems can speed things up.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • money

Skills

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • work to achieve goals

Responsibility & Ethics

  • fiscal responsibility

What Kids Can Learn

DragonVale wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • money

Skills

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • work to achieve goals

Responsibility & Ethics

  • fiscal responsibility

DragonVale wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Christy Matte

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Kids start with a tutorial on the basics of building their dragon park. Then they'll proceed to hatch and raise dragons, feeding and caring for them. Kids use the in-game currency, gems, to buy new buildings, decorate, and make their park more attractive for visitors. This requires patience or cash, as players can run out of gems quickly; in-app purchases of gems can speed things up.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

DRAGONVALE starts slowly. You'll buy your first dragons and then you'll wait to save up money and build up experience to expand. Once the game gets going, however, it's fun to breed the dragons and seek out new species. This is not a game for kids who need immediate gratification, however, as tasks can easily take eight hours or more to complete without buying gems to speed things along.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:September 30, 2011
Category:Simulation Games
Size:18.70 MB
Publisher:Backflip Studios
Version:1.1.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.1 or later

This review of DragonVale was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byTayvil March 13, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Unexpected Charges for DragonVale - parents be warned.

We allowed our 9 1/2 year old to download the DragonVale app on his ipod. At some point he started asking if he could purchase items that were needed (food, gems) or his dragon would die. We used an iTunes card at first but when that ran out we allowed small purchases that would be charged to our credit card. We had to approve each item and didn't have a problem with something that cost $1.99 or $4.99. I was shocked to get an iTunes invoice for $49.99 and $99.99 as those were not items that were shown on the screen nor would my son have asked to buy them nor would we have approved it. Sure enough - we now have almost $200 of DragonVale charges on our credit card. I promptly removed the app from the device and computer. I contacted iTunes to suggest that maybe items were entered in wrong - approved $4.99 but billed for $49.99 etc.. I received an email that my son must have accidentally made the purchases and steps to disallow in app purchses were provided - that was that. I have done some research and have found SEVERAL families who have had the same thing - unauthorized, unexpected, large purchases charged to their credit cards. The next day I also received another invoice indicating that although the game had been off the device and off the computer for 2 days, new purchases had been charged 2 days after it was removed. Something seems wrong to me. My advice is to avoid this game.

Kid, 11 years old Written byBeast_Muffin4 November 27, 2011
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Appropriate but a scheme to get kids money

Its a good game, and its appropriate (its not like seeing two dragons fly around with heart symbols over them in the breeding cave is innapropriate), but if you dont have about 20 dollars to spend on DragonVale every day then your going to have to wait a long time to hatch dragon eggs or haverst dragon fruit or whatever you want to do.

What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Parent Written byslukster October 15, 2012
AGE
5
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

My 5 yr old and I LOVE IT!!

I am not sure how my 5 year old son found this game on my wife's Iphone but one day I found him playing it and having a blast. After watching him play (to make sure it was appropriate for him, which it is) and playing it for a while I am as addicted to the game as he is. I find myself playing it when my wife and kids are in bed. As crazy as this may seem this game has created real bonding moments with my son. He usually wakes up at 6am and asks my wife to play on her phone and then he comes over to me all excited to show me his newest habitat and dragons. I have discussed strategy with him (don't spend the gems to hurry up the breeding process!! Save them for a hard to get dragon!) and how to save his gold coins for something he wants. It has also taught him patience since it does take hours for some of the dragons to breed and the eggs to hatch. It just adds to the suspense and fun of the game. While this game won't make your kid eligible for MENSA, it is a safe, fun stategy game that they will enjoy.

For the unfortunate parents who realized the hard way that there are options to buy gems, treats and coins using real money. Don't give you kids your Itunes password! While my son knows my wife's phone password to unlock it, from the first moment he started playing on the phone she made sure he did not have access to purchase any apps or any other things. Every once in a while he will click on something that will prompt him to buy something and enter the itunes password. He quickly realized (after we told him "no" many times when he got to these purchase screens) that he can't go any further and he just goes back. Sorry to say this but it was parental error that allowed the kids to run up the bill, not the games fault. But definately something to keep in mind before handing over the Iphone.

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