The holiday season might be Call of Duty for some, but what do you get the younger gamers in the household? Sure they might like Batman, but Arkham City is a definitely a Mature title, and Dragon Ball Z, well that has been done to death. The fresh new face on the market is Spyro's new adventure in Skylanders, and it ones the kids will love. So open your wallet and listen to heart as we hop on the glowing portal to Skyland.

The first thing you will notice about Skylanders is the co-active “Portal” that is included with the game. With this pedestal of power, you are the portal master with the ability to convert plastic action-figures into videogame characters. By placing a unit on the portal it will instantly come alive, transferred into the game. This “interaction” is pure brilliance that adds an novel “real-life” collection aspect to a videogame. Much like other games that have tried similar tricks by adding "real-life" elements to a game ('Eye of Judgment') it either works or doesn't. However, luckily for Activision, Spyro is or used to be a household name, so things should be off to a better start than establishing a brand from scratch. Awe, what a cute little dragon.

The three characters that come with the starter pack are Spryo, Trigger Happy and Gill Grunt. The craftsmanship in these plastic avatars are creditable, although they are not overly detailed. They are comparable to other "childrens toys," and get the job done. Having these plastic figures also lets you play with them outside of the game, which is one more benefit to those who just can't get enough Spyro. In total you can purchase up to 32 characters that are split into different categories/elements like water, earth, magic, mechanical and more. Each character has their own set of special moves and animations. While at their core they are all pretty much the same, they are different enough to add some distinction to the gameplay.


The in-game action is a categorical kids game. Parents with younger gamers, they will eat this up; however, it's not something like 'Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts' that will appeal to an older audience as well. Objectives, graphics and gaming mechanics have all been simplified for the younger at heart. Spyro really doesn't look or feel like a "next-gen" game, and honestly, it doesn't half too. For most the objectives you will be helping a many lazy folks solve their problems. Finding keys, unlocking gates and breaking barricades are a common theme in this spaced-out fantasy world.

So just who or what are Skylanders? The Skylanders are the protectors of the world's Skyland. Their main foe, the evil Kaos who is causing all sorts of problem in the Skyland. Harnessing the power of the portal, the player and their band of heroes fight to return the Skyland back to its normal state. It's an action-adventure sporting a tried-and-true formula that works. It also tries to teach the player more about tactics with a hands on approach. See certain areas can only be unlock with special units, and each unit will has their zones where they are stronger. This causes the player to be aware and switch their character on the portal. Now, I know we take it for granted, however watching a young player figure this out is priceless.


For content we are talking about 20+ levels with a certain amount of replayablity (if you purchase new characters.) Thankfully, finishing the game doesn't stipulate that you have to break the bank, even if it is encouraged through little “splash” screens showing a terse videos of the new characters.

The other method of play is the 'Battle Mode' where you can challenge another player to some enjoyable mini-games, Or you can skip the competitive business and enjoy some co-campaign action, another supported mode within Skylanders.

One complaint, or better, disheartenment that I have with Skylanders is that Spyro gets lost in the midst of all the other Skyland characters. Spryo really doesn't have an identity here, a sad statement for the Playstation icon. Fans of the purple dragon will be disappointed with Skylanders because this isn't a proper Spyro game. Like the title implies, it's Skylanders with his name slapped on the box. Understanding the marketing smarts, I can't blame Activision, and really, it's not like he's doing anything else, but long time fans, they might feel a little cheated.


Skylanders Spyro's Adventure is an easy recommendation, if you have children who are looking for a new way to interact with their games. The ability to put "action figures" in the game via a "magical" portal is outstanding. While it might be a clever plot to sell tiny plastic figures, Skylanders doesn't feel motivated by greed. Spyro seems to have a genuine vibe about it that makes the interaction among plastic and game, one. Not only will the portal-feature have the kids amazed, but they will love the simple, yet fun gameplay that goes along with the collection/swaping of new characters. It seems like Activision nailed the market between toys and gaming, and Spyro is the perfect mascot to bring this into the 20th century. If you have, or are purchasing Skylanders for the holiday, you will be a hero.

  • Plastic pieces add an element of collection outside the game
  • Fun to put new pieces on the portal and watch them change in-game
  • Easy to get into for younger gamers. No frustration here
  • Skylanders are customizable
  • Lots of variety in-game, if you have a large chunk of characters
  • Plastic pieces and portal ultimately unnecessary
  • Extremely basic gameplay, this one is only for the youngsters
  • Production is nothing to write home about
  • Not a traditional Spyro game
  • Clips of “available” characters lures you into purchasing
Quote: "Activision nailed the market between toys and gaming, and Spyro is the perfect mascot to bring this into the 20th century. If you have, or are purchasing Skylanders for the holiday, you will be a hero."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 11.07.11

Similar Games: Eye of Judgement (6.5) | Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (8.6)


Spryo's Adventure


Toys for Bob

Action Adventure

US Release
October '11



Players 1
Co-Op 2
Dolby 5.1
HD 720-1080p