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Posted by Caitlyn Muncy on Nov 9, 2011

Review – Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

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If you played the Spyro games, you were no doubt excited to hear that a new Spyro game was on the rise. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure definitely caught my eye because I grew up playing the lovable purple dragon, and bonded with him through the varying story lines of all the different games. This new-fangled game looked exciting and innovative, and it is, but it was not what I was expecting.

Story

The game is set in the world of Skylands, which is a magical world filled with creatures called Skylanders. Eon is one of the last Portal Masters, and has fallen, alongside the Core of Light, due to the workings of the evil Portal Master Kaos. The darkness Kaos brings has banished the Skylanders to another world entirely. Our world. In their journey here, they were shrunken and frozen (likely due to their traveling through space and time) and appear to be toys here. It your duty, the new Portal Master, to send the Skylanders back to Skylands via the Portal of Power to save the day by rebuilding the Core of Light to defeat Kaos. Throughout the game you need to find different components to rebuild the core, and help some of the creatures you meet along the way. A few familiar faces from the Spyro games pop up here and there, but this is not anything like the Spyro games of old. A new cast of characters, money, and moves have been thrown into the mix.

Gameplay

This falls under the genre of an action platform game. With an added peripheral and some toys, it may seem a bit labor intensive as you will be swapping out creatures mid-game, but is surprisingly enjoyable. As this is a kids game, everything does run a little bit slower, and is much more repetitive, but it doesn’t diminish the game if you have an ounce of patience.

The main aspects of the game are fetch-quests, puzzles, shooting, and fighting. It is a very linear game, so the outcome will be the same for every gamer, but it is in the characters that you play with where things become customizable.  There are 32 characters that you can control in all, and each have their own memory to track their level, skills, accessories, and money. This exuberant amount is broken down into 8 elements, with four different creatures in each. You do not have to have all 32 to complete the game, but if you want to finish the game at 100%, it is necessary to have one of each earth, fire, air, life, undead, magic, water, and technology element. There are “side quests” in the game that can only be accessed by certain elements, which are basically extra areas of loot and enemies.

You can blast through the game with only one character, but you won’t be able to get everything accomplished in the game. Instead you have to use each one accordingly, and try and build them up somewhat equally so they don’t suck if you need them in a pinch. Even if one of your Skylanders dies, you have other toys that will be at full health if you haven’t used them in the level you’re playing. Co-op mode basically takes single player, and makes it a thousand times easier. You can level up two creatures at once, and defeat enemies twice as fast! Versus mode is nothing to get really excited about as the maps for the three different modes are rather small.

Combat

You don’t have to have pristine aim or skills, as this is geared more towards kids, and doesn’t have pinpoint targets. Between each character, there are different styles of fighting of a pretty sizable range. There is no fear of falling of the sides while fighting, but enemies and loot can fall off the side and meet their demise. The only things that I would call difficult are the boss battles as they particularly long, and you are very likely going to go through a Skylander or two during it. Other than that, you can learn pretty quickly what moves are most effective, and easily plow through enemies. Most of the guesswork is taken out of things.

Conclusion

This game has quickly gotten me addicted, and made me sad at the same time. This is not the Spyro game I was expecting, as Spyro actually had no active role in the game whatsoever. Sure he was a playable character, but most of what I loved about the old games were the worlds, and the story continuity. This is completely new world, and not many of the same aspects were kept in this game.

I will say however, that the added peripheral and toys were possibly one of the best ideas for a game ever. If it exists, I have not seen another game that uses this kind of addition, and has done it correctly. Within 24 hours of starting up the game, I was out at the store completing a collection of the 8 elements, and have never been more excited about buying plastic figures.  The Portal would occasionally bug out if I was a bit too overzealous to swap out characters, but other than that it was pretty flawless. I was constantly wanting to get through levels for upgrades, and the ctuscenes were a bit of a treat since I was familiar with some of the voices (Krunk from Emperor’s New Groove, and Invader Zim). The plot line is interesting because it breaks the fourth wall by addressing you as a sort of omnipresent being as a Portal Master. This is a whole new way to approach interactive gaming, as you’re not just mashing buttons and seeing the outcome on the screen. You have to physically put characters into the game, and can choose which ones will receive your favor. There is a huge replay-ability as you can do a chapter select, and can redo levels with shorter times, find hidden treasures, and specials upgrades that you may have missed on the first round.

The Good

  • Toys with memory
  • More to the game with more figures

 

The Bad

  • Expensive to complete the game
  • Peripheral is persnickety sometimes
  • Spyro name was only used to pull in consumers

 

 

 

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