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Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure

Score: 95%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Platformer (3D)/ Action/ Adventure


Graphics & Sound:

Spyro is back as part of the new game Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures. This time, Spyro is just one of many characters that you can use to save the world, so it's quite nice that Spyro has even more help this time.

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures on the DS looks amazingly like the original PS Spyro games. The color scheme and overall appearance are dead on for those of you nostalgic for the original Spyro worlds. It even has the same set up with portals scattered around a general field and as you proceed, you will unlock access to more portals. Spyro does look more like the newer Spyro games in that he is a bit meaner looking than the original cartoonish Spyro, but he's still a purple dragon. The non-playable characters all look like they came from the original Spyro universe. The playable characters, your Skylanders, all look exactly like they do in the other versions of Skylanders and they look like they fit perfectly with everything else. They are monsters, but they're cute and more or less friendly-looking monsters.

Unlike the other versions of Skylanders, you will not get as much dialogue in the DS version. I do wish they had kept the same things that the characters say as I miss my favorite voices, but they're just a pared-down version. They simply speak less. You do still get sounds effects that help you know what's going on with the monsters and such, so that is helpful.


Gameplay:

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures starts off with an intro explaining what is going on in the Skylands. At the end, Wendell will be your guide. He doesn't really guide so much as he just switches your characters out for you. In the DS version, you can only have two Skylanders available at once. You can't switch between all of them at any point during a level, so be careful. You can switch them out at the Sanctuary. That is where you hang out and it is the only place Hektore can't get to. Hektore is the bad guy of this game. He's locked up the Seekers and is out to control the Skylands. You need to collect Radiance crystals to be able to stop Hektore. You also have to rescue the Seekers that will each activate a part of the Shattering Sigil as well. Each time you complete specific level challenges, you'll get a Radiance crystal for it. To unlock new areas, you'll need a set amount of crystals for each area. You will also see three portals in front of the ring that Wendell is in. These are for the Adventure Packs that you can buy for the game as well. They will unlock new content on the 3DS just like they do on the other versions.

Each gate that you unlock has five levels. Three of the levels are true platforming skill levels and the other two are collect-the-Radiance-Challenges. After a certain point in a level, you will get a timer that says Hektore is coming, so hurry. If you don't get out of the level before that timer runs out, you will automatically fail it. You don't get the chance to fight Hektore just because he shows up. At the end of the level, you will be rewarded with bonus experience for all the radiance vials that you collected and there is a daily bonus for using whatever the element type of the day is. You can see which two are the daily bonus, because they're glowing on the ring around Wendell. You will be given any bonus things that you found like hats and scrolls. Hats are just decoration to collect in the 3DS version, so don't go looking for them to boost your character stats. They do look quite amusing on various characters, though. Any hat that you had on from another version when you imported the character will still show up on the DS version, but it won't boost your stats like it does on the other versions either.

Speaking of importing characters from another version, you can import your Skylanders that you have already leveled up into the 3DS game. The will automatically gain whatever skills would be unlocked in the 3DS version at the level that they are at. Unlike the other version though, the portal is not connected to the DS at all times. This means that you can take your game on the go without having to bring the portal, but the character's stats are not updated continually. To get the character stats to update on the 3DS so you can take your leveled character to another version, you will need to complete a level so that the game autosaves and then load the character on the portal again. Basically, it updates the character from the internal DS memory when the character is read from the portal. If you take the character from the DS to another one, level it up, and then bring it back to the DS, it will recognize that it is the same character and update the DS stats from the character though. Just keep on playing and leveling up your characters and you'll eventually be able to beat all the areas and beat Hektore!

Difficulty:

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures is different from the other versions in that it is a platformer and a totally different game. At first, the game starts off pretty easy to ease you back into platforming as there just aren't that many to play anymore. Very quickly though, it gets a lot more difficult and you're going to have to learn how to jump and double jump and dodge. I did find that defending is easier to me on the DS version, because you can jump. The enemies tend to telegraph their actions, so you just have to jump over them and hit from behind right before they're going to hit you. This is much easier than trying to get out of the way on the other versions! Unlike the other versions, you can fall off the boards here and will lose health when you do. You can stand on the sides of turning things, so just be careful on places like that. If you manage to kill your Skylander by completely depleting its life, you can simply tap the touch screen and it will come back, but it will cost you 30 radiance vials.

Because you can only have 2 Skylanders in at a time, if you don't have the one that you need to unlock an area in a level, you will have to play that level again to get the area open. This is a real pain when you've gotten used to being able to switch between as many characters as you want on a different version. The good thing is that it tells you what two elemental challenges will be found on that level so you can switch up and use the right characters on the first time through. Even if you only use one of your two characters in a world, the other one will still get the bonus experience at the end, so it is to your benefit to always have two characters loaded.


Game Mechanics:

Even though Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures is a 3D game, for the most part, you can play it solely in 2D if you want. There are some areas that it is much easier to see exactly where you need to jump if you are in 3D, but if your eyes are just tired, you can work through a 2D viewing just fine, which makes me happy as I personally can only watch 3D for short periods. The characters have some interesting moves no matter how you look at it. Each character has their own skills and attacks. I love that when Whirlwind jumps, she does a barrel roll spin as well. It's the little additions that make things entertaining.

To get a character into the game, you will have to line up the infrared sensor on your 3DS with the sensor on the portal. If you're having trouble getting the portal to read your characters, I found that holding the DS slightly above the portal and pointing the back of the DS slight down towards the portal tended to work best for me and fixed the read errors. If you happen to have duplicate figures, you can't use two of the same character in your DS game as the data for the DS characters are stored on the DS, but you can use a character and the Legendary Character of the same type, such as Spyro and Legendary Spyro. If you try to put two of the same character in, it will ask if you want to replace the first with the new one.

As I said in my other review of the PS3 version, I love the Skylanders. While Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure on the DS is a totally different game, it is perfect for those of us that miss the platforming and jumping characters. Personally, I wish that they would merge that into the easily switchable characters on the other version and have a 110% perfect game! As it is, having both the 3DS game and any of the other versions is wonderful because you've always got a different thing to try when you get tired of one. If you like platformers, you should definitely go pick up Skylanders: Spyro's Adventures for the 3DS today!


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

Related Links:



Windows Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure Microsoft Xbox 360 Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure

 
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