Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures has finally been released and we got our chance to review it. So is Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures the Spyro game that everyone been asking for?
To start this review off, let’s first talk about the content of the Starter Kit. The Starter Kit comes with three Skylander figurine characters: Trigger Happy, Gill Grunt, and fans truly, Spyro. The cool thing about these figurines is that they automatically store all your characters data. That means that you’ll be able to take your Skylander Hero anywhere you’d like to and keep the very same stats and equipment that you earned for that character. The most impressive thing about this data storage is that you can use them on any console that Skylander is available on. So that means you’ll be able to import your PS3 character into the Xbox 360, Wii, PC, and even the 3DS version of the game. Now of course none of these would actually function without The Portal of Power. This is an extremely important piece when playing Skylander. It’s a wireless platform (wired on Xbox 360) that will recognize your Skylander Hero as you place them over the top.
The overall design and packaging is great and it actually feels like they took the time to craft each object. There was one thing that I didn’t like about the overall design and that was that it required 3 double AA batteries. Luckily the package does come with them, but I felt that they should have either stuck with just a USB cord (like the Xbox 360), or a battery that could be recharged via USB.
The first thing I did after I opened the packaging was jump directly into the story. The story starts you off with a ravaging tornado tearing up a near by village. The player, who is now the new portal master, is tasked with saving this village. After saving it, Master Eon, one of the last good Portal Masters, confronts and explains to you how Eon (worlds name) has become this way. He tells you about the Core of Light, which is used to keep all the darkness out of Eon. Chaos, who is another Portal Master, manages to enter Eon where he seeks to destroy the Core of Light. With the help of his new minions, Chaos manages to destroy the Core of Light, and then banishes Master Eon along with the rest of the Skylander heroes. This is where you come in.
The world that they have been banished to is Earth. The Skylanders have been transformed into miniature figurines, which can only return to their world with your help as the new chosen Portal Master. As for Master Eon, he too has been banished to Earth, however, unlike the Skylanders he has become a spirit that can only guide you on your quest.
The narrative is actually pretty good and doesn’t feel tacked on, which was one of my initial fears. It’s well thought out and I have to say I am a bit surprised with the cast Activsion collected for the game. Many of the voices are familiar such as Choas, which you may recognize as Zim from Nickelodeon hit show “Invader Zim”. It would have been nice to have a bit more fleshed out dialogue considering how talented the cast is, and there’s also some repeated lines. This can get quite boring after hearing them so many times, but despite that, the story is pretty good, and can be expanded upon going forward.
Gameplay is very simple, yet still complex for those who want to dive in deeper. If you’re a kid playing this game then you can afford to be careless about all the equipment and upgrades that you can earn. Simply running around with the joystick and alternating between R1 and R2 should get the job done for the most parts. The complex stuff comes in with all of the integrated RPG elements. As you defeat enemies and complete quests, your character will be awarded with experience points. These points can then be used to level up, buy new abilities and equipment, or upgrade existing items in your inventory. For me, this was really the big highlight off the game. It gives you more options to play and personally it was fun to see your character grow with new attacks and equipment. For a game targeted towards kids, it does a nice job at catering to those who are a bit older and mature.
There was one thing in particular that annoyed me and that’s the lack of free jumping/flying. There’s jumping, but it’s restricted to bounce pads. Being an old Spyro fan, it was a huge disappointment to see that most the platforming had been replaced with jump pads.
Much of the world is linear, but in no way is this a bad thing. Several of the areas are filled with goodies and loads of puzzles. Players are also offered different paths to go on, but they only go to smaller areas which eventually leads back to the main path.
So what about multiplayer? Well, sadly there’s no online multiplayer, but there is local play. Local play allows up to 1 additional player. They can either co-op with you through the story mode, or if your feeling a little competitive you can settle things in battle mode. This mode branches off into three additional modes which are: Arena Rumble, SkyGoals and SkyGem Master. The overall goal is to see who’s better. This is where all that leveling up and building equipment really comes into play. Technically both players can have the same character, but that doesn’t mean they are both equal in power. My character could have loads of upgraded armor and stats that could easily triumph over the opponent. It all really depends on how well you develop your Skylander over the course of your playthrough.
The lack of an online mode is something that really surprised me, considering how well the co-op and battle modes are done. Plus, it would have made things a lot easier if you could play people with different characters rather then go out and buy some new ones. In certain areas of the story your required to have a Skylander of a certain element. They only give you three, which are pretty much just used to beat the story. Perhaps in the next title we will see online integration, but until then your stuck with playing local and buying additional characters.
I saved the graphics for last considering they aren’t really much to look at. The levels are all well designed and have many objects and details, but it just doesn’t look that great when you begin to see how bad the textures are. It’s an improvement over past Spyro games, but that’s only a tiny improvement considering how linear the levels are compared to past titles. In some areas it looks great and gives off a nice cartoony look, but at most times you can expect to see some muddy looking textures. Still, it’s not something that should bother anyone, seeing that this game is geared toward kids.
If you were hoping for a new Spyro game then you may want to wait this one out. Sadly, Spryo’s name is just used to attract more people into buying this game, which in my opinion doesn’t need it, since it offers plenty to be unique on its own. It’s an extremely enjoyable experience and has plenty of replay value packed into it. The figurines may be a way to lure in more money, but honestly I can’t see myself playing this game if it wasn’t for them. This game may look like it’s targeted mainly for kids, and yes that’s true, but the time that I have spent playing around with the game has left me with more satisfaction then many other recent games.
It has a good story, solid gameplay, and a rather engaging local multiplayer and co-op option. Give Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure a shot, you may just be as surprised as I was.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this game was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes.