Review: Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures

Geek Culture

Photos from Activision

I just received a review copy of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures. My son and I cracked open the game about 6 tonight, and aside from a break for supper, we played straight through til 11. It’s fun, not terribly difficult, and insanely fun in both single player and cooperative modes.

The Starter Pack ships with the game, the portal of power, and three figures: Spyro, Trigger Happy, and Gill Grunt. The portal of power is a USB device on the XBox, or wireless on other platforms, that is capable of communicating with the toys as they are placed on it. All of the characters’ levels, equipment, and treasure are stored in the toy allowing you to take them with you. Take your levels to a friend’s house, cross platforms, and even take them on the road with the Nintendo 3DS.

The story line starts out with the Skylander world in trouble and it is up to us, the Portal Masters, to save it. The story and levels that follow are solvable with the three characters included in the Start Pack, but you won’t be able to reach all of the side missions or collect all of the achievements. Each section of the levels play to the elemental strengths of the characters. At some points you would be better off using a tech character like Trigger Happy, but if you need to cross water Gill Grunt can come to the rescue. Just take Happy off the portal and drop Gill in his place. The transition only takes a couple seconds and you’re back in the game with different abilities. If you need some help, have a friend drop his character in the game and you can tackle the level in cooperative mode. If your character dies during a level you have the choice of restarting the level, or finishing it with a different character.

There are also solo side missions you can take to train up your characters, and learn more about how their powers work. Each task is tuned to a specific character, though it is possible to complete them with other characters. I tried Spyro’s challenge with Trigger Happy and found it very difficult to complete without Spyro’s speed. This is a good time to experiment with hats and skills to see how each affects performance.

After an hour of play my son wanted to check out the player vs player portion of the game. The Battle Arena lets you pit two characters against each other in three different game types. He chose a battle to the death, then proceeded to own me with his speedy Spyro vs my much slower Trigger Happy. After losing 5 games in 9 I was saved from further humiliation by the dinner bell. He got distracted with some Minecraft after supper, allowing me to level Happy up a few times and upgrade his guns. I’m happy to note that the rematch had a completely different outcome.

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures is definitely an awesome family game. The rating is E with Cartoon Violence, but the game play should hold anyone’s attention. The puzzles are fun, not too difficult, and rewarding. There are 32 different characters available, but I think you would only need 8, one of each element, to get to get most of the achievements. I’ll be getting this game for a few family members this holiday season as well as adding a few extra characters.

Wired: The game is fun and appropriate for all ages. Game play is easy and intuitive. The characters and personalities are well designed and look appealing. The toys appear to be setting up camp on the top edge of the TV.

Tired: Some of the sayings, like Trigger Happy saying “Mine!” when he snags some loot get a bit old. Need to buy additional toys to complete all parts of the game.

The game is available on nearly every current platform, including XBox, PS3, Wii, 3DS, PC, and mobile devices. The starter pack is $70 at Amazon.

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