Kids Corner Review: Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

With Christmas around the corner, creating a product that mixes both toys and video games the way Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure does seems ingenious. I can tell you that I have never honestly liked any previous Spyro games, but this game really stands out, and not just because of the cool fact that you bring toys to life. The starter kit comes with a portal, three toys, the game and a sweet poster.

Adult Short Review

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure has a lot to offer for adults. Even with just the starter kit (what I used), you can get more enjoyment out of this game than most would think. You are an apprentice “Portal Master”, and are responsible for stopping the villain Kaos. The 20+ stages you play through seem short, until you look up at a clock a few levels later and notice two hours of your time is now gone.

I played solely with Spyro until the much later stages, and had no problems until the last few levels. As you play, you gain experience and gold; experience makes your Skylander stronger (with a level 10 cap) and money allows you to buy new skills to add to your repertoire. Using only one Skylander had the advantage of leveling it up quicker, but once you hit the final string of stages, the spike in difficulty will make you wish you had swapped out more.

Each Skylander has an assortment of moves, and though some are similar to other Skylanders’ moves, they still feel fresh. They all have a very powerful move which you find throughout the game in the form of Soul Gems. Given that each character is split up into one of eight categories, the levels feature different gates which can only be unlocked by a certain element. This is the grand marketing scheme to get you to buy other figures, because certain collectibles (story scrolls, hats, soul gems) can only be found behind these games. I’m not going to lie, it sure has me craving to buy a few other Skylanders just to go back and play again.

The story is delivered in cut-scenes, and if you die, you have to watch it again - you can’t skip it. This made later boss battles annoying, but on the plus side, they are very entertaining. Even from my perspective, I laughed quite a few times during my time with Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. Kaos, the main villain is particularly comedic during the boss battles every few stages.

The portal itself is powered by batteries, which worried me. However, during my run through the game, and even my sons playtime, it didn’t die, so it doesn’t drain the batteries very fast at all. It was very easy to sync up, as there is a USB key that you plug into the system, and then just turn the portal on via the button on the side. The figures and portal are made of plastic, and have great detail. As an adult, I would do nothing more than play the game with the figures, but they look cool enough that if I had somewhere to display them, I definitely would. I was also very concerned about how swapping characters would be, but it is very quick and seamless. You pick up the one you are playing off the portal, it pauses the game no matter where you are, then place the next character on, and it zaps you right back into action. Also, each character acts as a life, so when one dies on a stage, you can’t use that one again, you have to restart or change to a different character. That’s another perk to buying more as the final boss is a pain with just three.

Outside of the spike in difficulty at the end, I really enjoyed everything about the newest entry in the Spyro series, and I look forward to them continuing this concept. Hopefully, the old toys will carry over, especially since the characters themselves are multiplatform. So if you wanted to play at a friends house, you could use your own Skylander collection. This is a neat concept, and something adult gamers should look at for not just their kids, but themselves.

Score: 4*/5

Kid Impressions

Initially, my son loved this game while watching me play. Usually when I get a game, I sample it for awhile, and then let him play afterwards. I swear, he spent a good hour just examining the box (I’m sure you all remember doing that as a kid, right?) and toys. He had already picked out several figures he wanted to go buy, and each time I earned a new Soul Gem (which has the option of showing a video of that Skylander), he had the same “OMG I WANT THAT!” reaction.

When it finally came time for him to play, it didn’t take too long for him to get frustrated. He said he enjoyed the puzzles and playing around, but the combat got him irritated. I observed one of the specific instances, and a mage-type character was on a platform out of reach, and he was Hell-bent on detroying that enemy, but couldn’t for the life of him. I told him to move on, and he did, but I could tell he was upset. To be fair, my son gets easily upset at games and has a short temper with them.

He said he loved the characters and the toys. He had fun swapping them out, and since it is so easy, I never had to really coach him on it as he had seen me do it multiple times. He told me if he owned more of them, he wouldn’t play with them though (as in – outside of the video game setting), he wouldn’t want to ruin them and not be able to play the game anymore. THAT was a shock to hear, especially as I saw him admire the three starter figures we had for quite a while and knowing how much he loves playing with action figures.

While he didn’t get to the end of the game, he did figure out how to navigate the main hub, and even did one of the character challenges (he didn’t beat it, but he got to it). I asked him his final thoughts, and he said “it got kind of hard with the fighting, but I really like it, and want to keep playing.” Per the Disney Universe review, he knew the grading scale, and said it was a good game, so he gave it a 3.

Pros:

  • funny story
  • great level design that makes sure gameplay stays fresh
  • assortment of characters gives players plenty of choices and replayability
  • very innovative mixture of toys and games, and done well might I add

Cons:

  • difficulty spike at the end is a little excessive
  • limited character growth to 10 levels
  • can be pricey
  • no co-op

Score: 3*/5

 

Conclusion:

I realize I wrote more on the adult side, but upon playing through the game, I really think this game has more to offer the 10-30 crowd (me, not my son sadly). While some kids at his age (7) might be better at games, and might enjoy this more, I also only let my son play so much a week. As an adult that likes varying genre’s of games, I highly recommend this, especially if you have kids that could someday enjoy it.

[Note: I made the mistake of trying co-op without the second controller turned on by placing a second Skylander on the portal. Obviously, it didn’t work, and I didn’t look into it. Upon posting this review, Michael from ZTGD corrected me, so I pulled the review, and demo’ed it with my son before he went to bed. Thanks you again, sir.

Co-op is a great feature, and my son loved it a lot. You are “tied” together, so when you start to get too far apart, a line appears and won’t let either of you continue until one person starts moving to the other to close the gap. This promotes coordination, and by the end of the night, me and Tristen were being more vocal about our teamwork. While we didn’t get to play much of it, it really does add to the game play, and we will be playing more this weekend. I highly recommend it even more, as both parent and kid can enjoy the game together.]

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Author: Don Parsons View all posts by
Starting out as a founding member of Gamingcore Podcast, Don ventured on to start Gameciety; which began as a podcast, and ended as a blog. Don now handles Vagary.tv's PR work, is part of the reviews staff and has various other little projects he does for the site.