Developer: TIGERWASP ENTERTAINMENT
Price: $3.99
Version Reviewed: 2.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

The virtual pet fad may have faded, but it certainly isn’t dead yet. Witness Dragooo HD, a new virtual pet simulator for the iPad. It does everything you’ve pretty much come to expect from a simulator of this sort, but it does it with strong graphics and a mini-game or two to keep players interested.

Starting the game, you are immediately asked to pick a color of dragon egg, which will determine the ultimate color of your dragon. A few taps later and your egg hatches, revealing a cute tiny dragon who has needs that must be met. Scratching the dragon’s head will fulfill his need for attention and love, and there are food and water sources that he needs to be guided to. The only other thing to do with your dragon at this stage of the game is train him to fly, accomplished by dragging him into the air for short periods of time.

At any point you can pause the game and check your dragon’s stats, to see what needs he has and how to quickly meet them. Otherwise the earliest portion of the game has a fair amount of waiting. After playing for a bit, I quit the game and came back a day later. My dragon almost immediately “leveled up” and grew in size and age. Then it was back to more training and another growth spurt some time later.

At about the third “age,” your dragon can enter flying arenas, where he can pick up jewels and perform time trials. The jewels can be cashed in for character upgrades, such as different types of horns, wings and more. The time trials themselves serve little purpose, as far as I can tell, other than competing with yourself or the times of other dragons via the OpenFeint achievement system. There is no option to compete in online races against other opponents – only to compare your best times with others – so there is only a minimum amount of online interaction available in the game.

Graphics and audio are quite good throughout the game. Your dragon’s lair is rendered in 3D, and it’s relatively easy to navigate your dragon around his environment. The same can be said for the time trial race tracks. They are easily navigable, and they allow your dragon the ability to breathe fire, fly and use speed boosts.

Credit the developer, Tigerwasp Entertainment, with doing something beyond the norm of the traditional virtual pet simulator, but it still doesn’t feel like it’s enough to justify a purchase. Hopefully, Tigerwasp will enhance the gameplay with additional mini-games. There is a solid core experience here. It just needs more to do.

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