If you haven't already seen it, I'm currently hosting a competition where you can win three copies of this game for Nintendo DS so head on over here and try your luck.
The How To Train Your Dragon video game was released in the UK yesterday which, funnily enough, was when my review copy plopped on to the doormat. 8-year-old Sophie happily ripped off the wrapper and fired up the Wii. Reassured by the 7+ age rating, I told her to get on with it while I tended to baby Pierre and I'd come and show her what to do in a few minutes.
Well, five minutes later, when I wandered into the living room (with a freshly-changed baby !), she was leaping around like a loony, quite successfully fighting a dragon and telling me all about HER dragon that she'd just created and customised. No need to pull out the instruction manual then !
Having seen the write-up for the game, I thought it would actually be a bit boring, but it's much better than I expected. In the past, Sophie's played a few games where she has to be a babysitter, look after a puppy or groom a horse, and I assumed this would be a similar idea but with dragons. But it's more than that. It's more like an adventure game, where you have to run around, interacting with people and finding and using objects to open up new areas and features, even if a big part of the game is customising and improving your dragon by winning more and more dragon fights.
I had a great laugh watching Sophie jumping around fighting dragons - it's got to burn off a few calories doing that, who needs a Wii fit ?! - and I love the little touches of humour, like when you attack the sheep and chickens strolling around and they turn into roast chickens and legs of lamb (that you apparently need to feed your dragon).
Fans of the film will recognise many of the locations and characters. You choose to take on the role of "Hiccup" or "Astrid" and travel around the Island of Berk, where you will recognise many settings from the film, including the Vikings' Village, the Wild Zone, the Training Zone and the Fight Arena.
But even if you haven't watched the film, it's still an enjoyable game with simple playability and impressive graphics that the whole family can enjoy, especially as you have the option of going head to head with your friends in a multi-player combat.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £39.99
for more information : http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/