All parent member reviews for DragonVale

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Parents say

(out of 14 reviews)
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
Review this title!
Parent Written byMTaylor405 May 2, 2013
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

With Basic Precautions its a Fun Learning Tool

Full review below.---------------tl;dr - If you take basic, common sense precautions. Dragonvale is a perfect game to foster organization, strategic thinking, and patience in a fun way. If you don't take the time to check what your kid is playing, you're in for a nasty financial surprise. Turn off automatic purchases. ------------------------------My eldest younger brother (23) and I (27) have shared custody of our youngest brothers (5) and (8) since our parents deaths. I say this to give context. I am probably younger and on the other side of the digital divide from many parents here. Both of us elder siblings work long hours, and with the 23-yr-old in medical school, we have little money and not a lot of quality time with the kids that doesn't revolve around homework help and dinner. My brothers only have smart phones because I work for a iPhone device company that lets me take home obsolete phones, and I don't give the kids a data plan. Dragonvale is the perfect game for them.--------------The Good: ---------1) Dragonvale is a free app, and every feature can be played for free! Almost everything in the game has a wait time on average 3 hours, with a maximum of 48 hours. It's a great motivator to teach your kids patience without going beyond what a small kid can tolerate.------------2) The game is very strategy heavy, but the strategy isn't complex. To breed certain types of dragons, achieve goals, and build up your park, you must utilize basic critical thinking. Your children can easily work it out themselves, but it teaches legitimate game theory, how chance works, and forethought.----------3) Dragons! Pretty Decorations! Exploding Volcanoes! Kids love this because it's FUN!-------4) It is low or high commitment depending on play style, so it's easy to play with your kids. All four of us play Dragonvale, and it's a real bonding activity. -------------------------------- The Bad: Everything in the game can be made easy. All waiting and strategy eliminated IF YOU SPEND MONEY. The cheapest in game purchase is $1.99, the most expensive -- $99.99 --! If you have automatic purchase on, and your kid is impulsive or thinks he can get away with it, you'll be in for a surprising credit card bill. All of the negative reviews center around unexpected charges, some even calling them fraudulent. 30 seconds in the game reveals that a $99 purchase is as easy to make as a $2 one, and it can save you weeks of game play time. There's no fraud, just kids who take the shortcut and parents too uninvolved to catch them at it and/or unwilling to place the blame for the charges on the real responsible party.------------------------------------ I unequivocally and enthusiastically recommend Dragonvale . . . if you turn off automatic purchases.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Parent Written bySteveSF June 9, 2012
AGE
8
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Good game, if kids understand not to use real money

As long as kids understand that everything can be done without in-app purchases (our number 1 rule for this game is no real money), it is a very good sim-type strategy game with no violence and very good graphics. It can be a good tool (with significant parent involvement) to teach creative problem-solving and patience.
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.
Parent Written byfsmontenegro June 13, 2013
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Don't do it. If you must, DISABLE IN-APP PURCHASES.

Dragonvale has been a great way to bond with my son (< 10), who would stay within the app for hours if we'd let him... but on balance I recommend parents stay away from it. I'm a frugal, tech-savvy parent who knows iOS well and my recommendation is not so much because of the potential monetary loss (though that is a big issue for some). The good things about it: - no violence, cute visuals and descriptions, evolving environment (new characters, etc...), encourages potential strategic thinking, teaches patience. The not-so-good things about it: - Takes the 'freemium' model of business - free to play, use $ for additional features - to the breaking point, bordering on fraudulent. Others here have commented on the absurd in-app purchases (up to$99.99). We have a rule at home to not spend real money on in-app purchases and this is exactly the scenario it was built for. Save yourself the trouble and DISABLE IN-APP PURCHASES. - The 'easiest' ways to play the game - the ones most likely to appeal to younger children - are designed to encourage constant playtime. As an example, some 'habitats' (where the dragons 'live') can only hold a maximum of 500 'coins', an amount that can be reached in a couple of minutes of playtime. The end result is that it encourages the player to just sit there and manually collect the coins every few minutes. This means your child can spend HOURS with very little to show for it: even if they amass large amounts of 'coins', most of the higher-level require 'gems' for advancement, which are VERY hard to come by. - The higher levels are extremely expensive in terms of in-game resources, particularly gems. This encourages spending real money (see point above) or requires more advanced strategies not suitable for younger children. Even then, things take forever... (really, 48hrs for 'breeding' then another 48hrs for hatching eggs?) - It does have a 'social' component of gifting small amounts of gems between friends, or giving out gems for posting to FB or Twitter. In my opinion, this is just a mechanism to establish peer pressure to keep playing or free advertisement of DragonVale. As someone who loathes the addictive behaviour of gambling, I get the uneasy notion that Dragonvale stimulates some of those traits - the constant blinking lights, the odd random win (winning a dragon race or getting a 'cool' dragon), the dissociation between real money and pretend money (just like chips at a casino), etc... People will say that the game can be played 'strategically' so that it doesn't require constant playtime. Maybe so, but be VERY careful if your child plays DragonVale: it will be extremely expensive in either money OR time.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Parent of a 10 year old Written byhummerfly March 13, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

beware the Dragonvale $$PIT

As with the other reviews listed by parents below we have had a much similar experience with this game app that 10 yr old son had asked for on his iPod. In the couple weeks since he started, I racked up 325$ charges on my account most showing up as more than seven charges within the same day. In talking with him about it he had absolutely no idea when this was occurring, it never felt clear to him he was actually spending real money. There are places and incentives to "earn" within the game and after checking it through, it is slightly more "obvious" in some spots, that there will be a charge (you are shown a dollar price below a feature or an object you are purchasing in a "purchase" area) but there are also hidden charges that occur within the game playing process where one is NOT notified that it is a "real" charge, you must know this or figure it out!) but Yes, granted, it should be the parents responsibility to set up restrictions, we should all be soo tech savvy at this point right?? but when this is a new venture (just getting into the world of ipods, iPads, etc....and NOT being savvy to every little possibility in the big virtual world out there..) and my son being one who always asked permission prior to a purchase, and it was easier to have everything set up to facilitate an easy process when that desire was acceptable in the moment....This game felt like a horrible violation of that trust. In trying to respond I also tried to find the contact info for the game makers, which was never found, nor was there any where I could find that "explained" the rules and outlined cost features. In the clean-up process I spent >2 hours at least, on the phone and online, talking with Apple till the charges were finally reversed as "unauthorized" This pushed beyond the limits of what I consider fair business practice. I am extremely disappointed in this game, as we have never encountered one prior to this, which worked in this manner without a child or parent being notified that it was real money being charged and clearly detailing when this would be so. Regardless of the attributes and cleverness of the learning it might encourage for the child, it is not encouraging a parents willingness to support it when it is designed to work in this way. I felt very CHEATED.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Parent Written bynosyarg March 18, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Nice game but set up to take money from kids.

My 8 year old daughter downloaded this app yesterday and today I have over 13 charges on my itunes account ranging from $27.00 to $109.31. The app is obviously fun and entertaining for the kids, my daughter has hardly put it down. But the hidden costs are exorbinate. Plan to spend tons and tons of money on this app. To create an app that is so obviously set up to take advantage of little kids who do not understand money and money management is just flat wrong and this app is no longer on our Ipad. Do not go down this path unless you are fine with spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
Parent Written byfraud detector April 25, 2013
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Fraudulent advertising

designed to drain your pocket slowly so you don't even notice.. Behind the nice cover, this game works more like virus. It charges $1 or $2 all the time. Somehow we ended up getting a bill for $780 in less than a month.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Parent Written byjawstheshark June 17, 2013
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Good for patient children

My nine year old daughter plays this game and loves it! She is very responsible and is able to get many things that cost "gems" for free. I definitely recommend this game.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Educator Written bythirdgradeteacher May 31, 2013
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

DragonVale MG

I like Dragon Vale. I think other people should play. It's a video game app. I think you should play Dragon Vale because it is easy to play and you can paly anytime. It's a video game app. You need an Ipad or an Iphone to download the game. It is free to download. It is worth downloading. It is easy to play Dragon Vale. Buy a habitat and a dragon, and then you will earn money and gems. Tap goals icon for helpful tips about the game. You can play anytime. After homework is done, after you sit down in a restaurant, also while you wait for your food, while you are in line for something. Dragon Vale is a good game. Dragon Vale is so fun you will have to give it 18 out of 20 stars. Third Grader, New York New York
Parent Written byece1000 July 15, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

High credit card charge with Dragonvale

dragonvale will cause your credit card bill extremely high charges. Do not use it! kids can spend endless amounts of real money within only a few minutes. This game and their developers and owners do not have ethically acceptable business goals with this product.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Parent Written byByraguen May 27, 2012
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Game costs $.....Learned the hard way

It's because of dragonvale that I found common sense media. My son came to me one night concerned that he had made purchases on dragonvale. I had no idea what he was talking about until I saw my bank account. My son is 10 years old and he always checks with me before he purchases an app. But since these purchases were in the app, I think it took him a little bit to understand that it was real purchases that would be charged to us. He was just sick about it and couldn't sleep. As much as it cost us...(and it was a lot) we learned a valuable lesson. He no longer has our iTunes password, and I now go and look at reviews before purchasing an app. I think I was too comfortable in the fact that it looked like a cute little cartoon game. He still has the game and loves it, but now he doesn't make purchases. That is so sleazy of the game makers. They targeted young kids to make money.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Parent Written bybabuckner May 4, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Predatory scam

This app preys on kids who are too young to know better, tempting them to drop HUGE amounts of money on virtual "treasure." Like other parents stories above, we had 10+ unauthorized charges totaling more than $600 in ONE day on our iTunes account. We only knew we had a problem after our bank's fraud detection service called us to report the suspicious activity on our account. And I think what this app maker has done borders on fraud. How many other families have been through the same experience? After many hours communicating with iTunes and my bank, we got these charges reversed, but the way this app works borders on criminal. We have always had iTunes purchases password protected and always require our 9-year-old ask us for permission for small add-on purchases. We didn't know what an "in-app" purchase was before this. Meaning that once we have given the passcode for a small purchase, any other purchase could be made in that session in the app. Only now do we know that we parents have to go and add additional protections within this app to ensure this doesn't happen. We learned the hard way. This game is garbage and a scam. It's not on our son's iPod Touch anymore.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
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.