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How to Train Your Dragon 2, developed by Australian studio Torus Games and published by Little Orbit, is a throwback to movie tie-ins of yore.
In that regard, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a respectable effort; the real question becomes whether this console adaptation is worth the retail price point.
Once the wonder of flying around the island wears off, though, How to Train Your Dragon 2 doesn't have much to offer. Although the in-game menus and digital manual don't tell you about it at all, How to Train Your Dragon 2 features cleverly-integrated multiplayer that could perhaps give the game legs for big fans of the film or parents who want to play with their kids.
If you're a big fan of the movie and you can take advantage of the multiplayer with your kids, the exploration aspect of How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a soothing, enjoyable romp through a detailed island gameworld accompanied by a triumphant soundtrack. Our terms: We reserve the right to edit or delete any comment, so please post thoughtfully.
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks. One of the hottest ideas in the tech world now is the quantified self — the concept of monitoring oneself, recording the data, and using it for self-improvement.
Few people would argue against becoming a bit smarter, which is what Lumosity aims to help us do. Lumosity takes your input and develops a daily training program, which it recommends that you go through 3–5 days a week. Each test comprises a series of timed challenges, the goal being to complete as many as possible. After completing each test, you’re given a score, which is used to calculate your Brain Performance Index (BPI), an overall assessment of brain performance. Training takes only a few minutes, and you can set alerts to remind you of specific days and times to train. In fact, the evidence seems to indicate that these games make you better only at the game itself, not at broader cognitive function.
Still, while it’s inconclusive that these games can actively make you more intelligent, there’s no indication that they do any harm. Sadly, I don't think Color Match will be playable for many with color blindness, due to how the game is constructed.
Dreamworks has made some awesome animated movies -- Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Over the Hedge, etc. When standing still things look OK, but in motion you have wonky animations, framerate dips, and collision issues. Most big action films these days opt for cheaper, often microtransaction-based game tie-ins on mobile devices, like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Edge of Tomorrow.
It's essentially an arcade-style flight game, where you play as one of five characters (with two more unlocked later) from the namesake kids' movie and ride their corresponding dragon around the Viking island of Berk – you can engage in minigames and races against other dragons or simply explore the island for hidden unlockables. You can accelerate, decelerate, make sharp turns and use special attacks, but the core controls are easy to understand; the GamePad and TV always show the same action, which allows for off-TV play. On one hand, the island overworld with surrounding ocean is a fun place to fly around, with detailed Viking settlements to fly through and towering mountains with peaks to explore.
At any point during the standard single-player mode, a second player can connect a controller to hop in with their own dragon. As a retail game, though, it's a steep asking price for a dragon adventure with repetitive minigames and little depth.
Please check your email for a link that, when clicked, will verify that you're a real person and cause your comment to appear immediately.
We use your email address only to send you a one-time verification message confirming that you posted this comment. This has been applied mostly to personal fitness, with gadgets like the Fitbit (no relation to TidBITS, as you can tell by the capitalization) that track your fitness, what you eat, and even how well you sleep.
The company was founded in 2005 for neuroscience research and development of brain training technologies.


Without a $79.99 annual subscription, you’re restricted to a limited set of tests per day, which are rotated every day.
There’s Speed Match, which presents a series of colored shapes, and, for each one, you have to decide if it’s identical or different from the last. The company says it works with researchers from Columbia University and the University of California, Berkley, and its Web site links to a number of peer-reviewed papers.
And many of the games included in Lumosity are some of the same tasks we assign to schoolchildren, such as shape matching and arithmetic repetition. Some studies, such as one from the University of Iowa’s Federic Wolinsky, have shown that brain training games can slow mental decay in older people. How about a game where you’re presented with a paragraph or sentence and you have to find the typo or grammatical mistake?
It’s certainly worth a download, though I won’t be spending $79.99 per year for full access. My gut feeling is that brain training can provide benefits for the elderly in particular, in slowing or preventing the kind of declines that seem otherwise inevitable in today's society (whether or not they're biologically inevitable would seem to be a different question).
It makes sense – iOS and Android apps cost less to produce than full-fledged home console titles, and the more 'casual' mobile market is perhaps more likely to purchase a film-based game despite the movie tie-in stigma that turns off more experienced gamers from buying these adaptations on home consoles. You can switch between dragons at any time; each one handles slightly differently and of course comes with its own collection of humorous voiceover clips, many taken straight from the film. The camera controlled by the right control stick gets incredibly wonky at times, but overall the controls feel fluid. The developers clearly took some inspiration from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with the Nordic semi-open world, particularly with the map screen that's a 3D-rendered visualisation covered in clouds. Any time you brush up against a wall, your character falls off their dragon and must respawn again. Unfortunately there's no Pro Controller support so the second player will have to use a Wii Remote with slightly more limited controls, but it's a welcome addition.
Hopefully these building blocks will lead to fuller results once How to Train Your Dragon 3 rolls around. In Color Match, you’re presented with two words, each a color, and you have to decide if the word on top matches the text color of the bottom word. The entire app is well designed, with a friendly interface, bright colors, and tasteful fonts.
Plus, Lumosity has founded the Human Cognition Project, an ambitious effort to work with scientists, doctors, and teachers to advance neuroscience.
Hambrick, associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University told SmartPlanet “There’s been all this focus on brain training and cognitive training.
Adrian Owen performed a test of 11,000 subjects over 6 weeks and determined that while the subjects improved at the specific tasks the test game presented, they did not seem to improve in other areas. But as the journal article we referenced above noted, there's clearly a lot of variability in what's considered "brain training" and the results could vary widely. To accompany the motion picture, Activision is bringing How to Train Your Dragon to consoles around the world, but the results fall far short of the movie playing on the silver screen. There's no overarching storyline or "main quest," so How to Train Your Dragon 2 can sometimes feel like a collection of side quests without any primary objective; you'll have to go see the film in theatres for the plot, and use the game simply as supplemental material. The sun reflecting off the ocean is gorgeous, and when you fly down low just above the water, the wind from your dragon's wings will create small waves – a nice touch.In other aspects – perhaps to fit this whole island into one cohesive game world with no loading screens between areas – How to Train Your Dragon 2 can sometimes look like a GameCube title. To change the pace a bit there's a touch screen shooting gallery minigame, which took this reviewer a while to figure out because it doesn't tell you to use the touch screen and none of the rest of the game uses touch controls at all. The second player can explore the island just like the first player, and you can race against each other in the standard events, in addition to three multiplayer-specific minigames. While the app has been available on iPhone since 2010, it was recently updated with a flat design and a new iPad version.
The subscription also unlocks other nice features, like tracking your progress over time and the capability to compare your scores against other players.


Chalkboard Challenge presents you with two numbers or math formulas, and you have to decide which is larger, or if they’re equal. The free daily content should be sufficient to keep most players satisfied, at least until solid data showing mental improvements should appear. But with an aging population, I imagine we'll be seeing an increased level of research in this field. There's also a sheep-collecting challenge where you're required to put red sheep in the red enclosure and blue sheep in the blue enclosure, but when playing we often found invisible sheep that made it a nearly-broken experience.There's not enough variety to make the events worthwhile, and you'll have much more fun simply exploring the island on your own. And of course, as Josh says, it's hard to see any harm in it, other than perhaps a waste of time. There are hidden items to collect as you explore – 50 special coins for each dragon that unlock new abilities when you find them all – and perches scattered throughout the landscape that you can land on to admire the view. It's this mix of Pokemon, role-playing, and dragons that's just too simple for its own good.
Ultimately, though, the game world isn't large enough for the exploration alone to make How to Train Your Dragon 2 worth purchasing – you can easily find every nook and cranny of the island in a single afternoon. Richard Ridderinkhof in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience, results of such studies “are neither robust nor consistent,” and they suggest a series of elements that may offer more successful outcomes. By the end of the game, you'll have a stable of four dragons that you'll fight with and use in tournaments, but there's a hefty bit of RPG-ness here. When you take a dragon into the game's training modes, you earn experience points that go toward the dragon's individual experience level. Bringing up a dragon's experience level makes him tougher and more capable of dominating in the one-on-one fights. It's teaching you a few combos and making you repeat them over and over again on an opponent who rarely fights back. I fudged up these combo lessons a bunch of times because the game wasn't reading my second button tap in a four-button move.
Once I got my first dragon beefed up, I dreaded having to take one of my younger pups back to the dojo to repeat the same brain dead lessons. I found that just mashing one button relentlessly won most fights for me, but it's a slow and boring process.
The opponents block a lot, so there are plenty of times where you're just wailing on shielded opponents and waiting for them to open up and let your attacks land. When you do knock an opponent down, the opposing dragon cannot be hurt as it struggles back to its feet. You can talk to people, but they all say meaningless stuff unless it's time for a side quest. When you do get a side quest, it's often times just the next step in getting to the next fight -- stuff like finding all of the tools a worker needs to finish the bridge so you can get across to get some stuff for a different dude who lets you fight in the next competition. There are also mini-games such as using your dragon's fire breath to carve ice sculptures as well as a two-player fighting mode, but they aren't noteworthy.
Well, you can assign attribute points and mess with your dragon's talents in the local two-player fighting mode, which is kind of cool, but it's the same ho-hum brawling. When the dragon fights are going on, it's like there's this invisible barrier between the competitors. With one of the dragons with a really long neck, I was walking into its face without it reacting or even really appearing to touch it.



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