A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
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What's it about?
DRAGON CITY is a simulation game where you raise cartoon dragons. First, you pick a habitat, and then you hatch, feed, and raise a dragon to adulthood. Once it's an adult, your dragon can fight or breed with other adults to create new baby dragons for your city. Breeding happens with floating hearts, and battling involves tapping buttons to choose moves, but the dragons don't actually touch each other -- they just incur damage points until they disappear. As you complete tasks, you earn experience points and in-app currency, each of which unlocks abilities or enables you to buy things. In-app purchases abound: You can speed up your leveling-up by using real money, and you can spend on anything from cool accessories for your dragon to increased powers in battle. To avoid spending real money, you can "earn" free gems by signing up for special offers, surveys, or other apps. Also, you can choose to visit the dragon cities that your contacts have created, where you can tap their dragons and habitats to add experience points and in-app currency to their coffers.
Is it any good?
Like SimCity BuildIt meets Farmville with a little battle game baked in, this build-and-accumulate model will attract little kids but isn't meant for them. The dragons are cute, and it's rewarding to be able to earn experience points for so many things, from feeding your dragon for the first time to clearing brush. That being said, this screen is really busy: It seems like there are a lot of possibilities for what you can do with your dragons, but there's a reasonably steep learning curve involved to understand how it all works. Also, even though the dragons are cute and potentially appealing to younger kids, this is definitely a game meant for older users. There's no iffy content, exactly, but the social features let you automatically connect with other users in a way that might make some parents (and some kids) uncomfortable. Also, it's too easy to make purchases or share personal information with third parties, all in the name of getting more stuff in the game. Overall, the complex interface, sharing features, and consumerism might best fit teens with their own devices -- or their parents.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about keeping information private: Why does the game offer links to sign up for things? How do you think this free app makes money? What information should we avoid sharing online?
Discuss your rules for in-app purchases before downloading.
Talk about games that let you collect and build. Why is it fun to play these games? What makes them so appealing to play again and again?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (many options for in-app purchases and upgrades)
- Release date: December 23, 2015
- Category: Simulation Games
- Size: 66.70 MB
- Publisher: Socialpoint
- Version: 3.10.3
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later; Android 4.0 and up
- Last updated: February 13, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.