Skylanders reinvents Spyro for a new generation with its innovative tie-in toys, but it needs more content to offer true value.
- Toys with brains
- Role-playing-style progression
- Game expands with figure collection
- Adventure Pack toys DLC works well.
- Multiplayer is offline only
- Costly to complete everything
- Portal peripheral can be temperamental.
First impressions of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure aren't good. There's a new peripheral to clutter the living room, a collectable range of toys required to play the game, and the reappearance of a tried and tested video game character--all the components needed for a cynical money-making scheme. Ironically, however, it's the toys and how they are used in the game that turn what might have been a derivative action platformer into something much more interesting.
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure revolves around how these figures work. Owning the physical toy enables you to access the related character in the game by placing it on the Portal peripheral that comes in the starter set. Your progress levelling up the character, collecting money, purchasing more abilities, and discovering stat-boosting hats are all saved back to the toy itself rather than to your console. This is the first of a clutch of innovations that make Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure more appealing. For example, this approach to saving enables you to switch characters in the game by simply replacing the figure on the Portal with another one from your collection. In about three seconds, without pressing any buttons, you are back in the fray with your new character. Furthermore, a second player can join by pressing a button and placing his or her toy on the Portal.
Although this system generally works well, it can get a little confused when younger players overzealously switch figures on the portal. The downside is that rather than accessing the characters you have unlocked in the game, you are limited to the three that come with the starter pack (Spyro, Trigger Happy, and Gill Grunt) until you purchase more figures. Each of the characters is grouped into eight elemental families (earth, fire, air, life, undead, magic, water, and technology). There are 32 figures in total; a full collection would cost as much as a new console. The good news is that you don't need to own them all. You can complete the main conquest with just the figures in the starter pack, although you will only be able to access the side quests that relate to their element. You can use your figures to play on a friend's game and access all your enhancements. This works across systems, so you can take your Wii character and use it on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, or even 3DS. The wired Portal, however, is system specific and therefore is provided in each starter pack.
When it's not a figure-collecting and shopping exercise, Skylanders is an action platformer that combines shooting and fighting elements with puzzles and short fetch quests. It's similar in many respects to the Lego games, although its focus on progression and customisation of each toy character grants it more of a role-play feel. Things start at a sedate pace as you're introduced to the Portal concept, the different characters, and the central hub world. Each character starts with basic stats (health, strength, speed, and the like), which slowly increase as you collect experience from killing enemies. You also start with two basic attacks--one ranged and one close combat--which can be expanded through branching upgrades that are purchased with money you find in each level by opening chests and destroying objects. Finally, each toy you own provides a hub-world challenge that offers a further performance enhancement, and if you own all the figures in one element, they each get an extra boost.
From all this it may sound like Skylanders is over technical and gimmicky, but in practice it's fresh and engaging to play. Starting a game and placing a toy on the Portal feels similar to playing Guitar Hero or Wii Sports for the first time. The gameplay is familiar, but there's an exciting unfamiliarity to playing it with this technology. Entering a new area and switching to a more suitable character, by swapping figures on the portal, quickly became second nature. It not only simplifies the process but also creates a better connection between you and your in-game characters.
The campaign mode follows a story where you, as the Portal master, must recover each of the different element pods to bring life back to the land of Skylanders and defeat Kaos. Each level is themed around its related element and culminates in a boss encounter. Other reasons to replay each level come in the form of goals such as losing no lives, clearing all areas, and finishing within a tight time limit. There are a number of collectables, too: soul gems that grant characters their final big weapon upgrade, legendary treasures, stat-enhancing hats, treasure chests, and story scrolls.
I kind of feel like this game is raping my childhood - this isn't what Spyro is about and I feel kind of cheated that he's been turned into THIS. Now, take away Spyro, put him back in his own original style of game (aka, like Ripto's Rage) and keep Skylanders a seperate entity? Yeah, I'd be game for that! I'm sure this game is awesome and it looks pretty fun but aaaaghhhh what have they done to Spyro's design? He's not cool OR cute any more. He's a weird little ugly gremlin-dragon looking thing. Not cool! Spyro deserves to be in his own game, the way LeahMyles said.
I finally got around to getting this. It really is a ton of fun. It doesn't take it's self too seriously. Dam figures are going to put me in the poorhouse.
What can i say... My Name isnt SPYRON for nothing... Love the Game! Cool locking PLAYBLE caracters? LOVE IT!
It looks like fun, and I recognize (and have enjoyed) some of the voice talent, but I'm completely put off by the need to continue to purchase items in order to unlock what sounds like significant content. Now, if one could unlock all the areas and characters in the game, but, say, could only access an "extreme" move with the figure, I'd find this a lot less objectionable.
Very popular in my house. All the kids and the wife love it and we have loads of extra figures now :lol:
try actually playing the game for a few hours before you judge, The game is actually really fun, and anyone who didnt realise the game was not really like old school spyro before buying it is a complete moron, I didnt research it at all and knew that much just from looking at the box in the store. Is a perfect game for parents to buy for their younger kids. can actually offer a little challenge in the later levels as well.
They stopped making megaman and did this to spyro. 2 of the greatest game characters ever, gone. At least sonic seems to be making a recovery.
You have got to be kidding me. This has nothing to do with spyro. I really hope that they make an actual spyro game after this. They really should have just improved the spyro that can use different elements, fury attacks, claws, and can fly but they did this..... maybe they'll get enough money for a real spyro game with this. To put it simply, spyro is an epic dragon not a dragon toy.