In terms of production values the game is pretty competent, even impressive for a movie tie-in. The range of dragons is limited but each one animates very well, expressing some genuine, if goofy personality through their limited number of polygons. While the supporting villagers are kind of rough, the main characters are well modeled and animated, with a good amount of voice acting for important conversations. The music won’t grab you like the infectious tunes from Clash of Heroes or the Pokemon series, but it gets the job done and is by no means annoying or repetitive. Griptonite did a good job making the game expressive and attractive, which is a lot more than you can say for most movie games.
How to Train Your Dragon is an easy game and probably won’t present much challenge to veteran Pokemon masters or RPG players in general. That said the core combat is still a lot of fun, and with upgradeable armor, multiple dragons and new attacks and items to unlock as you progress, there’s a decent level of depth in the game.
Most movie games are admittedly mediocre—shallow, barely functional action-adventures with sub-standard graphics and sound. Because of its outdated, underpowered technology the DS usually gets the worst of the bunch too. How to Train Your Dragon is a real rarity. It’s not only a turn based RPG—an odd choice for a movie game—but a focused, competent movie title and a DS game at that. It puts a fun new spin on the old formula and gets the most out of its main mechanic without spreading itself too thin. I had fun with it and it should be pretty addictive for younger players who are new to turn based RPGs. If you’re a parent with a kid who loved the movie, don’t feel bad getting them the DS game—it’s one of the few movie tie-ins worth your money.
How to Train Your Dragon bucks the trend of bad movie games by being a solid monster fighting RPG. Its combat system has just enough depth and extras to be addictive without getting overly complicated, and the game looks and sounds good too. This is one movie game you can buy for the gaming youngster in your life and feel good about it.
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