(Observer (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Largely shunning the narrative thread of the pretty decent film version of the second of Cressida Cowell's Dragon novel series (see Mark Kermode's review, page 24), How to Train Your Dragon 2 sticks to the easily implemented staples of flying action and fireball shooting. It's simple and straightforward, as are the easily mastered controls, which allow players to soar through a world richly populated with Viking settlements and mountain peaks, all to the backing of a lush orchestral score. Gameplay suffers from a loose approach to progression, but the missions help focus the action on racing, flying, shooting and the staple of all dragon-based entertainment - sheep collecting.
Multiplayer options offer improved longevity for families, with a second dragon controlled via the Wii U screen for faster progress or head-to-head races. A decent enough fist of fire-breathing fun, then, but ultimately, limitations in scale and a lack of innovation make How to Train Your Dragon 2 seem somewhat tired and pricey next to modern movie tie-in games on tablets and smartphones. Young fans of the film may still enjoy the experience, and many families will certainly appreciate the increasingly rare inclusion of a Wii version.
(c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.