Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure Brings Toys to Life

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by TRACY-MARK GORGAS / Special contributor to NWCN.com

NWCN.com

Posted on December 13, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 24 at 9:42 AM

Toys and video games, haven't always gone well together.  Activision is not only combining the two they are adding system cross-compatibility in a game called Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure.  The result?  Well let's play around with that idea.

Story

All is peaceful in the Skylands, a series of floating islands overseen by Master Eon, a portal master.  Helping Master Eon keep the peace are an array of creatures called the Skylanders, each with their own unique powers based on eight different elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Life, Undead, Magic, and Tech).  They all guard the Core of Light that keeps the evil Darkness at bay.

Kaos, an evil portal master, had attempted to destroy the Core of Light.  Master Eon had banished him to the Outlands.  After much time has passed and sensing that Mater Eon has grown weaker with age, Kaos returns to destroy the Core of Light and rule all of Skylands.  Master Eon and the Skylanders battle Kaos' evil minions, easily defeating them, until Kaos uses "Plan Z."  In "Plan Z" Kaos unleashes a mysterious creature that destroys the Core of Light.  The resulting explosion banishes the Skylanders to Earth where, because they are so far away from the magic of Skyland, they have shrunk into toy statues The explosion also causes Master Eon to become a spirit powerless to do anything without his body. 

Unable to do anything Master Eon waits until another portal master appears.  Eventually he senses a new portal master.  You.  Master Eon explains that to restore peace to the Skylands you must rebuild the Core of Light.

Controls and Gameplay

Slylanders: Spyro's Adventure is a third person action adventure style game with some puzzle elements.  The controls are fairly straightforward  with three types of attacks; light, heavy and special.
 
The core of the gameplay is the ability to switch Skylanders on the fly.  Areas of the Skylands are attuned to one of the eight elements, some areas are even locked off unless the Skylander's element matches.  Not matching the element doesn't hinder story progression, but it does keep some powerful items locked away.  These items include Soul Crystals that unlock a super ability of a Skylander's  special attack and hats.  Yes hats.  These hats have various bonuses like +5 to armor or +2 to attack/+2 to armor.

The switching of Skylanders is done via the Portal of Power that comes with the starter pack of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure.  Place a Skylander statue on the portal and it becomes a playable character in the game.  While you adventure with the Skylander, all the treasure you collect, powers you unlock, etc is being saved to a chip in the base of the toy statue.  This allows you to be able to take that same Skylander to a friend's house, put it on their portal and play with all the items and powers you have collected in your game.   This ability is cross-platform too.  Say you play the game on a Xbox 360 and your friend plays on a Wii, PlayStation 3, PC or Mac the statue is readable by the other  systems allowing you to play on multiple systems.   

The portal allows for two player co-op play through the game.  There is also a two player battle arena mode.

Graphics and Sound

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure are cartoony and fun.  I did not see any problems with them.

The sound was also pretty cartoony, but the highlight was the voice cast.  In particular are Patrick Warburton and Richard Steven Horvitz.  Most people know Patrick Warburton for his character David Puddy on Seinfeld and The Tick.  While Richard Steven Horvitz may be best known as the voice of Invader Zim.

Overall

Back on the original PlayStation Spyro the Dragon was hit and unofficial mascot of the system.  After the third game creators Insomniac Games sold the character off and Spyro has had many different developers since with various levels of success.  Activision are the current owners and handed it off to development studio Toys For Bob.

Toys For Bob's original plan was to create a much darker, possibly even mature, game.  Those plans were abandoned when it was realized it would not be in the spirit of the original Spyro games.  Instead they envisioned Spyro part of a heroic group.  As the idea was fleshed out they hired writers, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow, (both of whom helped pen the movie Toy Story) to create the story.  The final result is not quite a Spyro game, but more a spin off with Spyro as one of 32 possible playable characters.

While Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure is aimed at kids, I found it to be a simple, short, fun game.  I think I got to the final boss battle in about six to eight hours.  The game itself can be a financial investment if you want to get everything out of it possible.  I got to that final battle with just the starter pack characters, you do not need all 32 characters to finish the game, but it would be interesting to see what more I could access and enjoy.

This is a game I can easily see parents and children or siblings enjoying together.  The ability to be able to take their Skylander character to a friend's house to play on their game system will be a happy bonus for many players.

Fun, but short Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure great kids game.  I give it a 4 out of 5.

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure is rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older for Cartoon Violence by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure is available now for Windows PC, Apple Mac, Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo 3DS. For more information see the Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure web site.
 

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