1 November 2017

REVIEW: Carlton Dragons Come to Life AR Book

Here be dragons!

A while back we reviewed a book from Carlton designed to be used in conjunction with a smartphone app to bring the characters to life. Using augmented reality, we marvelled at the sight of dinosaurs wondering around the living room carpet, and now we've spent a few days watching dragons soar around the light fittings. We check out the Carlton Dragons Come to Life AR Book.

Just as with the the Jurassic World book, this is still very much a book about something, drawing inspiration from Dreamwork's How to Train Your Dragon films and TV series. Open up the pages and kids will be able to read brief paragraphs about their favourite characters, see detailed images, and learn facts and trivia. It's nice, and if your kids are into the franchise it is a worthwhile collectable piece that they could flip through while watching the show.

However, the real fun comes when you download and boot up the Carlton Books Dragons AR app. Point the open app at any of the character pages, and that particular dragon and rider will pop up in 3D, waiting patiently on the open pages of the book. After that, it is up to you what you do with them; enlarging them to fill the whole phone screen, having them walk around your living room carpet, or - and this was the best bit - have them take to the skies to fly around.

There are simple controls on screen that allow you to pilot the dragon about, and also a button to make the dragon breath fire (or shoot tail spikes in the case of Astrid's dragon). Kids can then spend many an hour flapping around, attacking the cat (without the cat realising) and landing to stomp over the sleeping dog.

As well as playing with the dragons, the app also features more details and images of the characters in question, allowing kids to zoom in and inspect 3D models of them. Its a load of fun, and not just for kids. However, we couldn't find a photo button in the app, which would let you snap an image of what is on screen. The Jurassic World app has one, but with the Carlton Dragons Come to Life AR app we had to resort to taking a screen grab on the phone. Not too much of an issue, but you will find yourself wanting to grab images as you fly around and attack your gran.

So for fans of Dragons this is a perfect gift. Its a book, which is always good, but it is also something of an activity and game. Double win.


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