How To Train Your Dragon 2 3DS Game Review!
With the release of the hit movie How To Train Your Dragon 2 in theaters across the nation on June 13, it only makes sense that a group of games were launched alongside it.
While the 3DS version of How To Train Your Dragon 2 has its faults, it's still an engaging way to spend hours playing as some of Dreamworks' most memorable characters.
The How To Train Your Dragon 2 game takes place on the Island of Berk, where dragons and vikings have learned to live together in harmony.
Now that the people of Berk have learned that dragons can be tamed, a competition has been set up between the residents to find out who is the most skilled rider in the land.
To prove your mettle, you'll have to compete in a number of different mini-games and vie for the top spot. But before you can be Berk's best dragon rider, you'll need to learn the ropes.
The game's opening tutorial is great at explaining most of the elements of gameplay, but seems incomplete once you start getting into more complicated areas of the game.
While the tutorial teaches you how to use a dragon charge, it doesn't explain that the same button allows you to use power-ups collected within mini-games. It also omits that you can make your dragon fly faster by holding down the X button, or how to use the in-game map, which is crucial to getting around on the island.
The Island of Berk within the game is vast and beautiful, but seems too open and spread out from the beginning of the game. It would have been great if parts of Berk needed to be unlocked as the game progressed, because for too long much of the island goes unused.
While the graphics aren't the most impressive we've seen on the 3DS, they still look fantastic on the small screen. The animated villages within the game also look great, but leave you wishing it was possible to interact with them and explore further on foot.
If you love the music from the HTTYD series, you'll love the music in this game. The default volume for the gorgeous soundtrack is a bit low, but that can be adjusted in the settings.
The voice bites also sound great, and seem to come straight from the film. But if you end up playing for hours on end like we have, they can get a little repetitive or even annoying.
In the game, you can control five different teams of riders and dragons, each handling a little differently. The controls can definitely be tough to get a handle on at first.
Beginners might want to start with Fishlegs and Meatlug. Meatlug moves more slowly than the other dragons in the game, but she has the tightest controls, thanks to her wings that flutter like a hummingbird's.
Once you've gotten comfortable with the controls, you'll find the other teams, like Astrid and her dragon Starfly or Snotlout and Hookfang, are quicker and a bit more adept at winning tough challenges. It's interesting to note that Hiccup and Toothless, the default characters, might be the most difficult to manage in the game.
We also enjoyed that, out of the five teams you can choose from, two of them include female riders!
Until you learn to manage your dragon, you might find it tough to avoid crashing into the environment. You can also get knocked off your dragon by other players. Sometimes when your rider goes flying off your dragon, it's tough to tell exactly what's going on. You might not even realize you're not on your dragon until you respawn.
But if you're not getting it at first, hang in there. Just flying around in Berk and testing out different maneuvers will help the controls quickly become second nature!
To prove you're the toughest in the land, you'll want to take home the gold in a number of different mini-games.
Most of these games involve flying through a series of rings, whether it's to beat your own time or while racing tricky opponents.
Again, it can be tough to get a handle on the mechanics, but once you do, these races are exciting, if not a bit repetitive after extended play. The first few races, you might now see how it's possible to place higher than last, but you'll soon get the hang of it.
In another mini-game, you blast fireballs at cutouts of vikings. While the game is really fun, it's not super intuitive in its use of the touchscreen. As the only segment in the game that utilizes the touchscreen, they should probably mention somewhere that that's how you play it.
A third type of game involves scooping up sheep and sorting them into the right stables, or racing other dragons while collecting 10 sheep.
Throughout Berk are also perches where your dragon can land. Some perches serve as great spots for scenic views of the game's landscapes, while others activate the mini-games. However, many mini-games perches are only unlocked once others are completed, and until then you can't interact with them. This can get a little confusing, as there isn't any differentiation between the types of perches.
Since landing on a perch also uses the same button as shooting a fireball, it can be tough to coordinate a landing. If your timing is even a little off, you'll find your dragon shooting a flurry of fireballs instead.
And while the mini-games are fun, there doesn't seem to be much of a point to them thematically. Players must be motivated by their enjoyment of the gameplay, rather than the reward of advancing to the next point in game.
The collectible items and achievements are one of the highlights of the game, but you have to go out of your way to discover them. If you don't navigate the pause menu adequately, you'll never know quite what you need to do to achieve your goals.
Some players might have just as much fun exploring the world as they do actually taking part in the games. As you fly through Berk, you can spend time collecting each character's 50 tokens hidden throughout the world, and unlocking achievements by landing on perches or executing certain moves.
Overall, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is a little unfocused and has its problems, but that doesn't mean it's not really enjoyable to play. The simulation of riding a dragon within an awesome 3D environment is done really well, and will be especially exciting for fans of the film series.
The gameplay is definitely fun and engaging, but probably isn't substantial enough to play for days and days on end.
While the dragon competition is a great set-up for the game, it would have been amazing if it tied more directly to the film. The game was released June 10, three days ahead of the film release, so perhaps this was done to avoid spoiling the film, but there are so many incredible moments and plot lines from the movie that would have made a perfect video game.
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Disclaimer: Sweety High received a free download of How To Train Your Dragon 2 for review.