Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

skyboxart
9.5 Overall Score

Made for kids, but fun enough for adults!

Face it, you're going to need more figures!

Written by on November 9, 2011 in

This year is shaping up to be one of the best holidays for giving great video game gifts to younger kids. Leading the charge for prime placement under the Christmas tree is Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure from game publisher Activision. Skylanders is a product that is both toy and game, and it also shows promise as a kid that adults just might find themselves falling head over heels for as well.

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure comes packaged with the game software, a USB Portal, and three Skylanders figurines. Players will plug the Portal into a USB port in their console which lights up like magic. Gamers can then choose any of the Skylanders figurines to play with simply by placing them on the Portal of Power. The heroes of Skylands are far more three in number. At last count there are over 31 characters/figurines that players can purchase in retail stores and use with their game. The figurines can be purchased by themselves or in a multi-figure three pack. They are easily priced within a kids allowance as well. Also, at the time of the review, it appears that players can purchase ‘playsets’ that come with additional maps to play on and treasure to be rewarded. There is no word yet if any DLC might come in the future via the console’s download service.

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure also features some other new and different tricks that will entertain kids and adults who are kids at heart. Incredibly, players can use their figurines/characters on other consoles. So if Johnny heads over to a friend’s house for a sleepover and brings his characters he has been playing on the Xbox 360, he’ll still be able to use them if this friend had Skylanders on a Nintendo Wii or Sony PS3. The Portal of Power reacts quickly when players add or remove the figurines from the device. Currency, gifts, level-ups, special hats and powers are saved to to the figurine, so the character remains updated no matter when or where the game is played.

In addition to cool hardware features, the world of Skylands is also pretty amazing and a lot of fun. The story was written by Alek Sokolow and Joel Cohen who helped write the first Toy Story film. The peaceful world of Skylands is disrupted by Kaos, an evil Portal master who has enslaved the world, killed its protector, and exiled the Skylanders to Earth. The player plays as the Portal Master who uses the figurines to send the characters to the Skylands to stop Kaos. The Skylanders each have various powers that increase in power as they level up, gain special hats, purchase new powers, or complete special challenges.

The script feel very much as if it was written for kids. Kaos is over-the-top almost groan-worthy…for an adult. I suspect kids will eat up the dialogue. The other in game characters are varied and well imagined. While the voice acting of Kaos was a tad annoying, the rest of the cast, including Patrick Warburton, is very entertaining and adds to the over-whelming fun to this glowing, imaginative game. The music was composed by Academy Award winning composer, Hans Zimmer.

The Skylanders have a mission to stop Kaos, and to do so they have to travel to several different areas in Skylands to retrieve parts to a machine. Each area has a theme and the enemies populating those areas add to the theme’s danger. The platforming is somewhat simply, but this is, after all, geared towards kids. What isn’t simple is the boss battles at the end of the each area’s quest. The boss battles get progressively harder, which is made easier if players has several characters they can switch during the battle like some figurine tag team wrestling. The last battle in the game is a retailer’s dream. It is a very long battle against some very hard enemies that will send kids screaming to Mom and Pop for more figurines for their Skylanders militia.

In addition to the storyline, players can also play against one another in room in PvP (player versus player) battles in a few different game modes. The characters in the PvP come equipped with all their campaign-won rewards (power upgrades, hats, etc), so it gives the PvP arenas and game modes a draw as to test to see which figure is more bad-ass.

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure reintroduces Spyro the Dragon to a younger generation of gamers. While this might upset older Spyro fans, the character fits in with the rest of the very personable playable characters (now on store shelves). Part of the fun of the game IS the characters. They each feel fleshed-out with powers and looks that will have players and kids searching for certain ones that appeal to them.

Skylanders is a refreshing game that is marketed to kids without dumbing down the mechanics, the talent, or the innovation. It is not just a terrific game, but a game that should be included for consideration for 2011 Game of the Year lists. It is amazing to see a kids-oriented game that is so blatant in its appeal to “collect them all” mentality, but yet feels so fun to play.

A copy of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure was provided to The Married Gamers for review.

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Author: Chris Brown View all posts by

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