A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Designed as a send-up of 1980s action films, pokes fun of era's movie tropes, including Vietnam, hysterical fear of communism, enemies that don't just die but are "overkilled." Violence intended to be humorous.
Positive Role Models
Brother, sister protagonists look like normal kids but are actually "half human, half cyber, half blood dragon." They gleefully perform duties of soldiers, killing enemies, blowing up buildings, largely in hopes of rescuing their father but also because it's what's expected of them.
Ease of Play
Not as challenging as other Trials games, but some later missions likely to see even experienced players wiping out, dying dozens of times. Could prove very frustrating for impatient, inexperienced players.
Violence & Scariness
Players control young teen soldiers who shoot human, humanoid enemies with pistols. Puffs of colorful blood appear for a second or two before evaporating. Kids also run over foes with vehicles, including motorbikes, armored military transports. Narrative scenes sometimes show enemies dying in dramatic ways, such as enveloped by lava, struck by a train. Kids' bodies go flying whenever they crash, fall off their bikes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief appearance of women in bikinis showing deep cleavage.
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Frequent profanity -- including "s--t," "damn," "ass," and "f--k" -- appears in text. "F--k" is spoken but bleeped out during dialogue.
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Products & Purchases
Kids display obsession with pop culture, including TV shows, video games.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Kids inadvertently consume "a Hollywood party amount" of a fictional drug called "turbocrank," causing them to hallucinate heavily while driving a motorcycle.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Trials of the Blood Dragon is a downloadable motorcycle action game with elements of platforming and side-scrolling combat. Players take control of a pair of young teen orphan siblings recruited into the military. They soon learn that their father, a soldier presumed dead, may still be alive and in need of rescue. The story, set in the near future, is actually a parody of 1980s-era action movies, with frequent jokes about Vietnam, communism, cartels, and Indiana Jones-style adventuring. Much of the humor is focused on violence, and the kids end up killing countless human and humanoid characters with a mix of guns and vehicles. Puffs of colorful blood often accompany enemy deaths. The dialogue has several lines in which "f--k" is bleeped out, and text on-screen frequently includes the words "s--t" and "damn." During one mission the kids are exposed to a high volume of a fictional narcotic called "turbocrank," causing them to hallucinate heavily.
Is It Any Good?
Players who aren't familiar with 1980s action movies may not understand much of the humor in this game or get its countless references to films like The Terminator and On Deadly Ground. Older players with a bit more cinematic history, on the other hand, will likely let out frequent guffaws as Trials of the Blood Dragon leads them through sections of dialogue and plot twists both warmly familiar and patently ridiculous. Few games deliver jokes as rapidly -- or reliably funny -- as this one.
Sadly, what we get up to outside the story sequences isn't always as satisfying. Vehicle levels are by and large fantastic, exploiting the terrific physics-based mechanics that made earlier Trials games so popular while setting the action in wonderfully bizarre locations both of and not of this Earth. The riding never gets quite as difficult as it has been in previous games in the series, but it still requires a deft hand and plenty of patience. The platformer and action sequences are where things start to bog down. The controls for running and jumping are pretty clunky, and the level design is uninspired. Plus enemies tend to pop up with almost no warning and with no way to avoid their attacks, which will likely result in a lot of unavoidable deaths. The result is an inconsistent experience likely to make many players alternate between laughing aloud and wanting to toss their controllers.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.