This kid-focused game is worth a look from gamers of all ages.
Before playing Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, the game wasn’t even on my radar. I’d never played a Spyro game before, so the brand didn’t do anything for me, and the main hook—the use of actual, physical toys in conjunction with the game—didn’t seem like something that would appeal to someone in my age bracket. I left the event, however, very impressed with what I saw.
The game features 32 playable characters, split into eight elemental categories, of which only three are included in the box. The game can be completed with just those three, but certain sections of levels are only accessible with specific types, meaning that seeing everything the game has to offer will require additional investment in the form of additional toys, which can be purchased separately for $8 each.
Each character I played with definitely felt unique, with character-specific moves mapped to the A, B and Z buttons. The game gave me plenty of reasons to switch between the different Skylanders, with different situations calling for different types of abilities, but it never felt tedious or arbitrary.
Changing characters is done by simply switching the toy that’s on top of the Portal of Power, a separate device included with the game that connects wirelessly to the Wii. The toys themselves are very impressive; they feel well-made and have a lot of detail. The game also includes drop-in co-op, where a friend can join your game instantaneously by placing a second toy on the Portal.
The game’s presentation is quite impressive, with music by Hans Zimmer and effects by Skywalker Sound. The story is written by two of the writers of Toy Story, and is, at least from what I heard, very well-acted, including a great performance by Patrick Warburton as one of the major secondary characters. While it’s definitely written with kids in mind, it feels like the kind of thing that could be enjoyed by all ages.
My favorite part of the game from what I played, though, was the competitive multiplayer. It’s reminiscent of Power Stone (though the developer insists that’s because Power Stone was very similar to a game Skylanders developer Toys for Bob made even earlier), with an isometric view of an arena that includes a lot of hazards and jump pads.
There are three different modes available, including straight combat, a battle to see who can be the first to collect five gems that spawn around the arena while simultaneously using attacks to knock gems away from your opponent, and a mode based on American football, where you get points for bringing the ball back to a set of goal posts. All three game types were a blast, but I especially liked the latter two. Sadly, the game only supports two players in these modes, and doesn’t feature any kind of online multiplayer, but I could see it being very addictive if you have someone to play with.
Although I didn’t expect much going in, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure really won me over. It seems like they’re going for the video game equivalent of a Pixar movie, and what I saw makes it look like it could achieve that lofty goal. It has a cool hook, and solid gameplay to back it up. It may be a “kid’s game,” but this game is definitely something to keep your eye on this fall.