The first How to Train Your Dragon animated film was a big hit with children around the world, and with a sequel due this summer, dragon-fever looks set to spread its wings again.
If your kids were big fans of the first film, they may well be interested in new iPad game School of Dragons, which came out in late December. A quick warning though: its in-app purchases go as high as £69.99.
The game itself looks very interesting: a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG for short – World of Warcraft is the most famous example) where players get to train up a dragon as well as their own character.
“Raise, nurture and train your dragon — the more you accomplish with your dragon, the more you bond with it and rise in the ranks at the School of Dragons,” explains the App Store listing. “Also, join up with others in clans to adventure together and dominate the land of Berk while obtaining fame and rewards!”
The game is available across iPad, Facebook and computers, and stars the various characters (including dragons) from the first film. What’s more, developer Knowledge Adventure says that life, earth and physical sciences are a key feature, giving the game educational aspects as well as pure entertainment.
The iPad version acts as an add-on to the online game: players connect it up to their existing accounts to play on the tablet: “From managing your progress in farming and harvesting crops to continuing through competition against rival clans and riders in Thunder Run Racing,” as the official website puts it.
Now to those in-app purchases. Players can choose to pay to become members of School of Dragons, which lets them access the whole game, and also gives them 500 of the in-game currency – gems – to spend on items. One month’s membership costs £6.99 via in-app purchase, but there’s also a £57.99 one-year option. Gems are also sold separately, ranging from 525 for £2.99 up to 11,500 for £69.99.
Due to the nature of the film, and the genre of its game, we’re guessing it’ll be older children playing School of Dragons on their own devices, rather than younger kids playing on a parent’s. So it may not be a case of blocking them from spending within the game, but rather having a proper chat beforehand about responsible spending (and, obviously, ensuring that said spending is their own money, not yours!)
School of Dragons is a free download for iPad on Apple’s App Store.