I’m sure as a child you always imagined your action figures coming to life and taking on their own persona. Whether it was your G.I. Joe, Star Wars or just a generic plastic figure you had lying around the house, you could imagine each one coming to life and doing battle against one another in a furious contest. Apparently the folks at Activision weren’t much different from us as children or, as a matter of fact, our own children. Welcome to the world of Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure.
Activision has created a way to bring our childhood imaginations to life in a very cool way that both kids and adults can enjoy. The game is a blast to play, but what’s unique is how you choose your playable character in the game. Rather than selecting a character from a game menu, you choose a collectible figure and place it on the Portal of Power (a round attachment resembling an altar) which attaches to your console. Once the figure is placed on the Portal, the figure instantly appears as a digital character in the video game with the help of some cool flashing lights and on-screen effects. Fantastic concept.
Just the idea of bringing your toys to life is brilliant. Even to adult eyes, there’s something exciting at seeing this process in action for the first time. To a nine-year-old, my daughter, it’s magical. My daughter began to switch characters just to see them magically appear on screen each and every time. She couldn’t wait to switch a Skylander whenever a particular type was required to enter a certain area. Recently we had a party for my younger son and it was amazing to see the kids, and adults, gather around the game to watch how it worked.
The game comes with three figures to start, with each figure belonging to a different elemental tribes. These elements become important later since each character will grant you access to certain areas and levels. You will often encounter obstacles that require you to switch characters, which is done by placing a different figure on the portal and it zips right in automatically.
Here’s the best part, all of your character’s achievements in the game, such as leveling up, acquiring items, and collecting new weapons, are saved and stored in the collectible figure and stay with that character when it is removed from the portal. You can now take that figure to a friend’s house and play as your character with everything you gained from playing in the Skylanders world. Also, it doesn’t matter what platform your friend is using to play Skylanders because everything is interchangeable – something I wish more publishers would do in the future. This is a huge selling point and only adds to the fun and replayability of the game.
The game itself plays fairly straightforward. It is very similar to the LEGO games with enemies, puzzles and plenty of objects to smash for new rewards. Each Skylander has two attack moves and one additional power. You can increase your creature’s stats the more you play and gradually improve with new abilities. Every Skylander has a different set of attacks and their strengths vary quite a bit, so not every one plays the same. Some are very strong but move slow while others are agile and speedy around the battlegrounds. It should be noted that each area possess a different element which increases the powers of any character that matches that element. Again, another moment where my daughter will quickly slip in and change characters in order to get a special power boost.
The difficulty level seems to be geared toward younger gamers, although the occasional boss battles can be tricky even for myself. A few times our Skylander was defeated which requires you to take the figure off of the portal to rest. The character can usually return after you reach a new area or you need to restart the level you were playing.
Like the LEGO games, Skylanders offers drop in and drop out co-operative play, and its levels are similarly packed with secrets, hidden treasures, side objectives and stat boosting headwear. Yes, you can pick up a variety of hats that will increase your Skylanders stats. Sadly, only the character who found the hat can wear the power boosting lid instead of being able to share it with your fellow Skylanders.
If you grow tired of the campaign, Activision incorporated a nifty battle mode where you can have two of your Skylanders square off against each other in three different types of battle. Each mode has multiple levels which can be unlocked through the campaign filled with teleports, trampolines and even specific level traps. A fun change from the campaign that allows you to challenge your friends to see who has the biggest baddie around.
Overall, Skylander’s is a winner. It’s a really innovative and fun title that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The game seems to be aimed at younger gamers but anyone can have fun playing as their favorite Skylander or collecting their figures. Personally I believe this is going to be a very hot item for the holidays, and with smart marketing, Activision can have a winner on their hands.
The only downside I see is having to buy new figures or certain figures to enter particular areas in the game. It can get expensive. I can see youngsters wanting to access parts of the game but cannot because they don’t have the right Skylander which may turn into a trip for mom and dad to the toy store. The budget to own every character, and I’m sure they’ll add more, will run you over $300 which is a hefty price tag for a video game. That aside, the game is still extremely inventive and bring hours of enjoyment to anyone who owns a Portal of Power. So put down your imaginations for once and let Activision make your dreams come true; Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure is sure to be on your child’s list this holiday season.
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