School of Dragons Review
By Taylor Lux (Deertayorkay)
Of the movies of the past few years, there are several that many would want to potentially see an MMO of. Dreamwork’s 2010 film, “How to Train Your Dragon” would be one of those. On July 17th, 2013 this happened when they released School of Dragons, allowing you to run about as your own customizable Viking and befriend then train your very own dragon that follows you around! It is a browser based game, but compared to others of its kind, it offers a rather solid package.
Where’s Hiccup and Toothless?
Don’t worry, all the major cast from How to Train Your Dragon is here. They are actually your primary quest givers and mini-game initiators. Hiccup does your flight school that teaches you how to ride your dragon as they age while Toothless dedicatedly stands next to him. All the dragons the new Vikings rode in the film, except Toothless’ type, are able to be used as your dragon. You are there for the hatching of the dragon, and they follow you around, learning of their new world as you adventure around the islands.
What’s Up Kid?
School of Dragons is very kid friendly and actually is generally geared towards them. There are education courses over stuff like the Scientific Method and Botany that would actually introduce, expound, or reinforce things taught in their school. Overall as an adult playing, it wasn’t too distracting to take in the flood of information you have to comb through near the beginning in order to get to the meatier parts of the game. Also, one can improve performance and improve child friendliness by turning off MMO and making a completely single player game. Granted a few features will become void, but it can make it quite kid friend that way.
It also reminds me of other pet based browser games where feeding your pet is a major part of the game. These elements hold true with this game where your Viking must fish for food to feed your pet dragon and play with him to ensure his happiness. In fact, some games within are inaccessible unless your dragon has a certain happiness/food amount. It isn’t too difficult to raise your dragon’s hunger level and it’s very easy to raise their happiness with a few short games of fetch or chase the dot around using a magnifying glass and a candle, solidifying that this is indeed a kid’s game with how easy these two required tasks are.
Tell Me More about These Games
Ah yes, there are several different games within School of Dragons, as if it’s one of those games where there’s multiple games within the game, like those board game compilations. There’s fishing which is simply waiting for a fish to bite and then keeping your line between the deep red lines while reeling it in. Once it remains in the deep red edges for too long, you lose the fish and your bait!
There’s also mini FarmVille where you grow plants and feed animals to reap their produce for money, though there is the cost of seeds and feed but there’s nothing with a negative outcome after investment. Plants are restricted due to your well needing to obtain more water, which takes a while. Animals on the other hand carry a hefty start-up cost but are much less maintenance intensive.
The two most interesting games are the Fireball Frenzy, which is akin to a first person shooter featuring your Viking and dragon as the avatar and shooting fireballs at targets, and Flight School where you learn how to fly/glide on your dragon in a time attack type situation. There are a few other games that I sadly didn’t get far enough into, such as Thunder Run Racing, but if its name is any indication, it’s where you race your dragons against others via flight. I’m unsure if it’s against other players or against computers, but either way it sounds pretty entertaining.
The aesthetics of this game are quite beautiful. The sound, though it can get repetitive rather quickly, is full orchestral music that captures the games setting perfectly. Fireball Frenzy has very energetic music that I particularly enjoyed. The graphics for a free to play MMO geared towards children are rather impressive, considering their source material it’s not too far off the mark. The water and grass is particularly pretty. It seems that graphics and audio were not things skipped around this game.
Verdict: Excellent… for a kid game
It really is what it is, a game geared towards kids. There is some hard education stuff within the game along with a few pretty fun games. The main other thing that points towards a kid game is that it’s based off a movie. Granted the game hits the high standards set by Dreamwork’s film in both sound and visuals, but there isn’t enough to draw a veteran gamer in for long periods of play. I would highly encourage it as a game for parents to possibly play with their children or use it as a way to gather interest in gaming for their children. The focus stays true to the film well enough to keep kid fans enamored. If you know of a kid, why don’t you give them the present of a good looking, decently executed game and a dragon of their very own.
Since this review was done, the following elements have been added to the title:
· Fly Toothless in Flight Club and other known dragons from the franchise (dragon flying training school)
· Clan system (create “clans” with fellow players in the game)
· Achievements and trophies in the game
· Enhanced in-game chat
· A whole new slate of quests