A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that How to Train Your Dragon 2 is based on the movie of the same name. It's appropriate for most players, but be aware of mild fantasy violence -- such as shooting energy blasts or fireballs at enemy dragons and their human riders, who may fall from the sky and scream in pain. Otherwise it's clearly a collection of fantasy games, most of which are racing and target practice.
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What's it about?
Loosely based on the 3-D movie of the same name, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 lets players take to the unfriendly skies of the Viking Isle of Berk and race against other dragons and their riders. Taking place five years after the events of the first film, the story focuses on the Dragon Racing games, a new sport for the Vikings that involves aerial competitions such as racing, light combat, and some ground target-based missions. You can choose your rider -- namely Hiccup, Astrid, Snoutlout, or Tuffnut and Ruffnut -- and their dragons to compete in these fierce flying tournaments to determine the ultimate Dragon Rider. These third-person mini-games can be played solo, or you can challenge a friend to claim the title of Best Dragon Rider. Some hidden quests and collectibles add to the fun. Despite differences in visual quality and controls, all versions of the game are the same.
Is it any good?
Younger gamers who love the movie might enjoy the collection of flying games in How to Train Your Dragon 2. But, although soaring through the skies on a dragon's back can be fun -- whether you're racing or blasting fire against others -- the action gets tiring after a while. Add in long load times, clunky controls, and graphics that are a mixed bag at best, and it's hard to recommend this casual offering for fans of the film.
Some elements are worth calling out -- you get to choose your rider from the film, and there's decent voice acting and music, plus hidden quests and collectible tokens -- but this multi-platform game isn't worth much more than a weekend rental.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the strong consumerism tie-in with the movie. Is it OK if kids want a video game that lets them live vicariously through the movie's protagonist? Or are these games merely a merchandising opportunity of the movie studio? Check out some of our parent blogs on consumerism for more discussion ideas.
Talk about the role competition plays in the game. In a kid-friendly game, should you be able to breathe fire on your opponents, or should the action be kept solely to a fast-paced race through the clouds?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Price: $29.99 to $39.99 (depending on platform)
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Little Orbit
- Release date: June 24, 2014
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Comic Mischief, Mild Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: November 11, 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.