Every now and then a game comes along that, while designed and marketed for a younger market, captures my interest and imagination in a uniquely satisfying way. No, I’m not talking about Barbie Horse Adventures. I’m talking about one of Activision’s E3 offerings, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure.
Spyro returns in a game directly designed for and marketed to a younger market. The gameplay is, for the most part, a very simple action/adventure game with occasional puzzle elements. The puzzles are elementary for adults and teenagers, but could present a challenge for children. Most of all, the peripherals are aimed at kids who love toys. Toys? Toys.
Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure has a very unique character selection method. Placing one of the included (or additionally purchased) toy statues on the included portal accessory results in the character appearing on the screen. Characters can be hot-swapped, and all character statistics are stored on the toy statue. The $69 package includes a Portal of Power, and toy statues of Spyro, Trigger Happy, and Gill Grunt. There are approximately 28 other characters available, at $7 each. Each character has an affinity: fire, air, earth, water, tech, magic, undeath, and life. When a character is near the physical representation of their elemental affinity, they deal additional damage and gain double XP.
Each Portal of Power is wireless and communicates the data, we assume, by RFID. The only platform that does not transmit through the portal is the 3DS. The mini-portal that comes with the 3DS is used to present the statues to the 3DS camera. Using the 3DS camera, three characters can be scanned in for a soft hot-swap. The statues are fully cross-platform compatible over Wii, 360, PS3, 3DS, and PC. This means that you can take your Wii Spyro and use it in your friend’s 360 campaign.
The game supports two-player co-op, with hot swappable characters for both players. 360 and PS3 will have online play. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure should run approximately 12-15 hours and comes out this fall.