How to Train Your Dragon

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
How to Train Your Dragon Game Poster Image
Movie tie-in is a fighting game with moderate violence.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

As in the Pokemon games, there are conflicting messages here of both training and caring for animals (in this case mythological dragons) and then pitting them in battle against one another in sporting tournaments. No dragons are ever killed, but one does question the logic of putting a cherished creature in harm’s way just for fun. It’s also worth noting that the game points out that girls can do anything boys can, and provides the option of choosing a female avatar.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Our avatar is a good kid who loves training dragons. He or she wanders around the Viking village helping others and searching for various items that will keep his or her dragons healthy and in good spirits. The only behavior shown that might be considered disturbing is a passion for dragon fighting.

Ease of Play

The dragon fights feel a lot like the sort of combat found in typical fighting games. Players must learn a wide variety of combination attacks and when to deploy them to have any hope of succeeding, especially in the game’s later tournaments. The game gets hard very quickly and may frustrate inexperienced players.

Violence

Players engage in one-on-one dragon combat. The giant lizards slash and snap, jump on, and breathe flames on each other. There is no blood or gore, but they do recoil from hits and scream in rage. Players also kill animals including chickens and sheep by jumping on and wrestling them. After the dust settles all that remains is a glistening drumstick or leg of lamb.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

This game is a product tie-in for the movie of the same name.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that How to Train Your Dragon is the video game tie-in for the Hollywood film of the same name, and that kids who see the movie or play the game will likely be drawn to the other as well. The game’s primary action is similar to that of a typical fighting game, with two characters (in this case dragons) fighting to reduce each other’s health bars by using complicated combination attacks involving slashes and flaming breath. It’s not nearly as graphic as most fighters -- there is no blood or gore, and the combatants don’t die at the end of a match -- but the dragons do make contact and recoil from hits. Note, too, that here is a conflicted message in that our heroes are supposed to care about the animals they keep but have no qualms pitting them in vicious battles against one another. The game supports dragon fighting tournaments against a friend sharing the same screen.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byzombielinda2 August 1, 2011

Cute and Fun Game.

I liked it. My 3 year old nephew and my 11 year old brother liked it. We especially enjoyed the customizing your own dragons feature. :)
Parent of a 11 and 11 year old Written byhuskertwins99 March 6, 2011

ehh.. twins can't make up their minds..

one liked it one didn't..we rented it from gamefly.. did not have the instuc. book so we were on our own for a bit.. she fig. it out.. he got bored..
Teen, 16 years old Written byCody17 December 21, 2010
When Astrid gets bucked off of a nadders back she fallls in hiccups arms
Kid, 12 years old December 31, 2013

Good.

Fun! It has almost nothing to do with the movie, accept the characters. There is mild violence, ( fighting) but no blood.

What's it about?

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, based on the movie of the same name, puts players in the shoes of a young Viking (the player’s choice of either a boy named Hiccup or girl called Astrid) who trains dragons and then enters them in fighting tournaments against other trainers. About half of the game is spent on quests that have players searching for items for villagers and looking after and customizing dragons. Players feed them, let them sleep, and apply special herbs and materials to earn their trust and improve their mood. When the dragons' are in good health, players can take them out for training exercises, where new moves and attacks are learned, or to a challenge area where they can guide them in various tests -- such as flying through a series of rings -- to earn experience points. Properly trained and cared for, they can then be placed in tournaments which, if won, will unlock new quests, challenges, and training exercises. A secondary mode dubbed Arcade lets players take on groups of computer-controlled dragons or go up against a friend on the same screen.

Is it any good?

As a fighting game, How to Train Your Dragon is decidedly average. There is little that feels original about the battles or the stages on which they are set. However, by the time the third tournament is reached it can become quite challenging. Button mashing won’t work; you’ll need to actually learn the combinations if you want to win. Assuming this is the first fighting game your children have played, they may experience frustration. It’s a good thing the training exercises are thorough, if rather repetitive.

In fact, everything in the game is repetitive. Whether it’s performing the same moves over and over again in training or bagging scores of chickens or dozens of pieces of ore, much of the experience feels like grinding for no other reason than to make the game last a little longer. What we’ve been given is okay, but it’s a shame that players are tasked to repeat most activities until they’re blue in the face.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the game successfully reconciles the notion of caring for creatures with the act of placing them in battle against one another. Is it okay simply because no animals are ever seriously harmed, or is their something here that might be akin to, say, a dog fight? Why do you think most players won’t see it as the latter?

  • Families can also discuss how closely the game’s characters and story resemble the film. If you’ve already seen the film, was the game what you expected? Do you think the game makers remained faithful to the film’s narrative and messages?

Game details

For kids who love games based on other media

Our editors recommend

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate