Skylanders: The best or the worst idea in gaming history?
Gather round, it’s time for a history lesson. The year 1998 was a tough time for all, Geri had left the Spice Girls, Steps were in the charts and the great Ted Hughes passed away. Gaming wise it was a lot better and in November of 1998 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released, but the month before two great platforming games were released for the Playstation: Crash Bandicoot 3 and Spyro the Dragon.
The main series had six games before it was rebooted in 2006 with the ‘Legend of Spyro’ series spawning a further three games which were not well received. That was 2008 and we’ve not seen a Spyro game since, where’s he been? What’s he been doing? Well there were rumours doing the rounds that Spyro was due to be given a more mature makeover with blood but Toys for Bob (the Wii developer) weren’t too happy with that decision. I agree with that, Spyro’s a cutesy purple dragon marketed to kids so a gritty attitude would be akin to giving someone from the Sonic universe a gun. Eventually they settled for a quick redesign of the character and a totally new way to play games, step forth Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure.
Before I carry on it should be noted that this game doesn’t seem to be well liked by Spyro fans and that trailer has 303 likes and 3,069 dislikes. So join with me as I take a look at the game through the eyes of a 25-year-old cynic and that of a 10-year-old excited kid.
Is this even a Spyro game?
The game title is Skylanders with the subtitle as “Spyro’s Adventure” so it seems to be focussing on Spyro but the overall IP is that of Skylanders. Look at the box and you can see that Spyro is not even in the middle as the main focus but some blue and green dragon. Who he is or what his name is I don’t know but what I do gather is that Spyro is not the main hero of the game.
I thought Spyro was a new character, the cover looks brilliant. There’s a fish and a tree and a flame thing and a rock and dragons. Dragons rock and I like how Spyro looks, this should be pretty sweet!
It’s all about the money…
There are a total of 32 Skylanders who are only playable by putting the figurine on the portal, some areas of the game you will need to use a particular character in order to progress. The game costs £49 with three figurines, you can buy individual figurines for about £8 or packs of three figures for £20. So in order to get all 32 plus the game it will cost about £250 and that’s excluding the extra levels you can unlock with the ‘adventure’ pack which I can’t find an exact price for but will surely be more than the £8 for a single character.
Oh wow I have money saved up for the game, then my birthday next month and then Christmas after that. Then I can save up my pocket-money to collect all of these sweet toys. I love collecting things and my cousin told me when he was my age he collected Pokemon cards!
It’s actually pretty revolutionary
The previously mentioned portal houses one of the so-called ‘interaction figures’ and with that the character is playable in the game. These toys have brains (not literally, it’s what Activision says, not me) in that as your character levels up through the game it saves to the toy and when you take it elsewhere the portal reads what level you’re on and puts that in the game. Then to top that off you can use the same figure with the same data on multiple consoles.
This looks great, I can have a few figures and can take it round my friend’s house who has a 360, I just have a Wii but he can use his character on mine and I can use mine on his. I didn’t know you could do that, I thought Wii stuff just stuck to the Wii and X-Box to X-Box!
Think of it through the ideas of a kid, this is pretty exciting really. They can share the figures with friends when they go round, it also opens the door to that cross-platform ideal we’ve wanted since the NES days. I’ve not found any reviews out there yet for it but there’s one thing for sure and Spyro has done something he’s not done for a long time: got gamers talking. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure is out 14th October in the EU and the 16th October in the NA regions.