Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure – Review

Back in May you might remember that I spent the day in London at the offices of Activision checking out their amazing new video-game Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure.

Well I’m happy to say that now the game has been released you lucky people can all get in on the action too, and check it out you most definitely should! It is amazing, hands down the best children’s game that we have had the pleasure of playing (and my boys play a lot of games)

The main buzz around Skylanders is that it’s the first time ever that video-games and toys have come together, actually allowing players to virtually bring their toys to life inside the game.

After seeing a preview of the game in action the press day I instantly knew that the boys would absolutely go mad for this game, so when I got home I told them all about it. Thomas was interested, but he certainly wasn’t as excited about it as I was. It’s seems such a strange thing to say ‘Bring toys to life’ I don’t think he quite understood me, either that or thought I was a bit mad.

Anyway all of this changed when the game arrived and he got the chance to play it himself. I can still remember the look on his face the first time he placed Spyro on the Portal of Power (the USB device you plug into your console which identifies the characters) he was just agog when Spyro appeared out of nothing into the game and more importantly instantly hooked.

GAMEPLAY

The game is all about a bad guy called Kaos who steals the Core of Light which leaves Skyland’s in darkness. In the process he banishes all the Skylanders to Earth, and they all arrive as the little toy figures.

Your job as the new Portal Master is to use your Portal of Power to transport the Skylander figures back into Skyland’s, and help them restore the Core of Light and destroy Kaos once and for all.

The game itself is perfect for younger gamers, If they have ever played any of the Lego games then the gameplay will come naturally. Even if this is their very first game I don’t think the game will be a problem for them to get to grips with very quickly.

For me Skylanders is the perfect game, as my two boys can play it cooperatively. With Jacob being a few years younger than his big brother it can be hard to find games for them both to play together. Even the Lego games which they do love playing together always end up in tears and a fight because Jacob isn’t moving quick enough, or not doing the mission correctly. Skylander’s is different because when Jacob’s character was going a bit slow or the wrong way, Thomas’s character in front dragged him in the right direction.

This was the perfect solution to a problem we have had with so many games. They both love playing Skylander’s together and thanks to Thomas being able to take charge easily, they completed at least 3/4 of the game together with no tears or tantrums, just lots of laughing and working together.

The way that you can change Skylanders mid play is great, and although it sometimes seems that a Skylander gets put on and then taken off the Portal of Power about 20 times a level, the kids absolutely love it. Thomas is very attached to Spyro and will always play as him, unless he’s all out of energy and then he will reluctantly change. Jacob meanwhile is chopping and changing all through the game, as soon as there is a secret place only one Skylander can open or a different Element type is stronger in a different area he will immediately change over.

When you run out of energy, you have to change your Skylander as the Portal of Power will tell you he needs a rest, this means you cannot use this Skylander again until you have completed the current level and move onto the next one, or you re-start the level from the beginning. The difficulty level does gradually get harder as you progress through the levels, as is to be expected. We did find that about 1/3 of the way through the game even with Thomas pulling Jacob the right way he did end up dying a lot, and as such used up all of the 3 initial Skylander’s really quickly.

Obviously the boys wanted to get more Skylander’s anyway, and Thomas still had his money he had just received for his birthday, so out to the shops we went and purchased 3 more Skylander’s (Eruptor, Bash and Stump Smash). This effectively meant that Jacob now had 3 more lives in the game, and the boys could now progress further on together.

The difficulty level for the last 1/4 of the game has got a lot harder now though, and so Jacob now contents himself watching his big brother, as Thomas needs all the Skylanders he has for himself. I have also been going in and playing cooperatively with Thomas as it has got very hard, we are now at the final battle but unfortunately are stuck. I think we need to level up our current Skylander’s a bit more, and also possibly get a few more figures to play with.

SYSTEMS

 We tested out the Xbox 360 Starter Pack version of the game, which comes with 3 of the game characters, copy of the game and Portal of Power. You also get lots of other extras that the boys loved like Top Trump style cards and stickers for each character, plus a huge poster of all the available characters you can collect (which went straight up onto the bedroom wall)

With the Xbox 360, Ps3, PC and Wii versions you get Spyro, Gill Grunt and Trigger Happy characters. The 3DS version comes with some different characters namely a special edition Dark Spyro, Ignitor and Stealth Elf. This is good to know as if like me you plan on getting a home console and 3DS version at least you get different characters in the starter packs, however you can use the same characters in all versions of the game.

It’s also worth mentioning that the 3DS version of the game is apparently a totally different game to the home console versions, there is even a completely different villain and storyline. For me this was perfect as I knew how much Thomas loved his Skylanders and thought a copy for the 3DS would be a great Christmas present to go with his new console, but was reluctant to pay out for the same game he already had. Having the 3DS version coming with new character figures, plus a whole new game makes it totally worth it.

An additional aspect worth mentioning is the free online version of Skylanders that you can play on your home computer. All of the figures that you buy come with web codes, so you can either type in the code to the Spyro’s Universe website to bring your toys to life, or you can plug-in your Portal of Power into your PC or Laptop’s USB port which is what I did. The online game is totally different to the console versions, but my son still had a lot of fun looking around and playing some mini-games. I think that this aspect will probably appeal more to children that little bit older, or kids used to play games with these types of online worlds.


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ACCESSORIES

Once you’ve embarked on your Skylanders collection you’re going to need somewhere to store them all! Well at the moment our’s are currently residing in a large shoebox, but Thomas has his eye on some of the fancy Skylanders store sets that we’ve seen.

The Skylanders Tower Character Case  is probably his most desired object on his Christmas List this year. It’s a hard plastic carrying case in the shape of a castle turret. There is space for 8 Skylanders inside (one of every Elemental type), plus it will store your Portal of Power safe on the top.

As well as the Turret Case there is also another Skylanders Storage solution, the Skylanders : Spyro’s Adventure Carrying Case which also holds 8 Skylanders plus the Portal of Power. This version is a soft sided case, and probably the more portable of the two. It looks great with some beautiful artwork from the game printed on the front, plus I like the moveable Element symbols along the outer rim.


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 SUMMARY

If your youngsters are after a new game then Skylanders is defiantly a major contender. It ticks all the relevant boxes that kids are looking for in a game, collecting things, unlocking secret stuff, levelling up, fighting, basically the perfect game, especially for the boys I think.

I’ve been thinking hard and really the only slight negative I can come up with is the difficulty in the final level, it is so hard! Apart from that nothing, only positives. Some parents may find the figures expensive, but I think they are actually very good value for money at £7.99 each. They are well made, look amazing, and they would be immensely collectable on their own merits. You can easily pay £10 for an action figure on its own, and that’s without all of the amazing things that the Skylanders ones allow you to do in the game.

For a young Gamer Skylanders : Spyro’s Adventure would make the perfect Christmas gift. Highly recommended –   5 star Game!

 

 

 

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