About a decade ago, the gaming world was introduced to a new, interesting idea: Toys-to-Life games. There are several Toys-to-life franchises, including U. B. Funkeys, Skylanders, Disney Infinity, Amiibo, and LEGO Dimensions.
These games require two extras pieces of tech in order to play, a ‘Portal’ and ‘Figurine’. The Figurine is placed on the Portal, which recognizes the character depicted. It then communicates with the game system (usually via NFC) and the character appears on-screen in the game. The player then controls the character in the game, thus bringing the toy to ‘life’.
Of all the franchises listed above, Skylanders has been in the game for the longest, bringing in billions of dollars within a few short years. Because of this, I have chosen the first game of the series, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, to review.
Playing Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
I played this game on the Nintendo 3DS, which differs from the console version of the game. To start with, eight different Figurines are needed to beat the game with 100% completion, which is what I worked for (in order to experience every available part of the game).
These are the eight Figurines I collected: Dark Spyro, Stealth Elf, Ignitor, Terrafin, Hex, Gill Grunt, Lightning Rod, and Drobot. Additionally, I purchased Pirate Seas, a Figurine that unlocks a new level within the game.
Personally, I thought that this game was unique and fun, although it was also very short and easy. However, for the young target audience this is a perfect fit. The abilities of the characters are simple and easy to remember, and the levels within the game are all basically the same. Because of this, even a child can easily master the game (which is the point!).
Each level involves fighting a variety of evil minions and villains, and the collecting of several items along the way. After collecting these items, the player has a certain amount of time to reach the end, or else they have to restart the level.
The story is somewhat interesting, but also seemed oddly unexplained, at least in my opinion. There is no backstory given for any of the characters, other than a small intro about the villain (which still isn’t very descriptive). Additionally (and although it likely won’t matter to the younger players), there is also a glaring lack of character development during the game as well.
The result is an unknown toy/character running around collecting things and fighting villains…for a virtually unknown reason. There is a main villain, and he wants to rule the world, and apparently that is all you need to know, so go fight him. Perhaps the 3DS version is the only game with this problem, but I am interested in learning where the other characters came from (at least!).
Sound and Graphics
Personally, I don’t really care too much about sound or graphics, unless they are very bad. Sure, I enjoy it when it looks fantastic and sounds amazing, but it has never been a big problem for me when playing a game. However, I will still give an opinion on these parts of the game.
As far as the sound, I thought the music was fun. It wasn’t very memorable, but I didn’t mind. Aside from the music, my favorite part (as far as sound) is that when you switch to a different character, they announce their name loudly. I don’t really know why I enjoyed it so much, but it doesn’t matter. It actually made me laugh at first, because I wasn’t expecting it. My favorite one has to be “IGNITOR!”
Having played the game in 3D, I really enjoyed the added feature. It added depth to the world (obviously, as that is what the third dimension is) and it improved my experience with the game. The colors were bright and fun, and although it wasn’t incredibly detailed, it did the game justice. So in my opinion, the graphics really compliment the game.
For the young target audience, this game can easily be played over and over again. It is fun and different, which is what I liked about it. It reminded me of the LEGO video games, although it was more watered-down and not nearly as long.
Personally, I would play it again. I would probably only play it one or two times a year, but I would still enjoy it. In my opinion, the novelty of bringing the small action figures to life will never wear off. It’s interesting to me in a strange way, much like the feeling of watching technology advance these past couple decades. It’s new and exciting!
My final opinion of this game: I really liked it. More than I thought I would, actually. I usually play challenging RPG games, but I decided to give it a chance. I’m glad I did! I enjoyed it all: playing the game, the 3D, the Figurines. It is a really clever idea, and I’m now planning to check out other Toys-to-Life games!
I had hoped there would be more Spyro in the story, but even though there wasn’t much of him, the game was still fun. Young players will love it, and for the older players that enjoy games like LEGO, I would recommend checking out Skylanders. You might be surprised! I certainly was. In the end, I consider it a great addition to my gaming collection.
Copyright 2018 Ammon Hansen
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The cover image is taken from YouTube:
The image above is taken from Skylanders.com: