Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
takes place in a world of floating islands. In this land, there are eight elements ranging from air, fire, earth and water to life, undead, magic and tech and protecting this world is a collection of heroes referred to as Skylanders. They are guided by Portal Masters who can summon the heroes and help guide them in battle.
One day, a former Portal Master named Kaos not only sends out a horde of evil minions and destroys a ancient machine designed to keep the Darkness away, but he casts a spell that freezes, shrinks and sends all 30+ Skylanders to Earth. It is your job to collect the Skylanders figures, place them on the Portal of Power that comes with the game and guide your heroes into battle. Your mission is to stop the Darkness and Kaos from taking over and to do that, you must rebuild the ancient machinery that he destroyed. It is powered by the eight eternal sources, one for each element, and they have been scattered all around Skylands.
That's the basic idea anyway. What it boils down to is a game that comes with the Portal of Power and three figures. When you pop in the disc and start playing, you need to put one of the toys on the Portal and it reads in that particular figure's data so that you can control him or her in the game. The really interesting thing is, as you level up your character and customize its abilities, those details are associated with that specific figure. Not only does this mean you can have two different Spyro figures, each with different stats, but you can also take your figure to a friend's house and bring it into their game. To sweeten the pot a little more, the figures themselves are cross-platform, so if you have a Wii and your friend has a 360, you can still bring your character into his or her game.
While Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
has a really strong single-player RPG-heavy story that can take a good 20 to 30 hours to go through, the game also has a heavy multiplayer aspect as well. Not only are there various Battle Arenas where you and a friend can go head-to-head in a variety of games, but the main story supports drop-in/drop-out co-op play as well. Just turn on a second controller, put another figure on the Portal, and boom, two players. That added with the fact that you can hot-swap your characters with any of the other figures in your possession really adds an interesting twist to the game.
Skylanders has many RPG elements to it. Not only is there a leveling system that caps out at 10 ranks, but you can also purchase attack upgrades to better your fighting ability. To further allow customization, you will eventually have to decide how you want your characters' abilities to be specialized. Each fighter starts off with two attacks, and you eventually gain a third one. After upgrading them for a bit, you will get to choose which of the attacks you want to develop more, and the available upgrades from that point on are more focused on that particular ability.
The other bit of customizability comes in the form of Heroic Quests. Each character comes with its own challenge. Once you place it on the Portal of Power, this challenge is unlocked. These range from collecting a certain number of items, to destroying a certain number of enemies. They are all under a time limit, and the reward for completing them is an increase in some stat. This means that maxing out a character's abilities not only requires you to collect enough money to buy the upgrades and getting them to level 10, but also completing all of the Heroic Quests, which admittedly, also means getting your hands on each of the heroes the game offers.