We were all once kids. In fact some of us still are, so we remember fondly looking for the newest action figure, dolly or toy we could get our hands on to bolster our collection – sometimes we only had one or two, but our imagination let them be the rest of the possible collection that we were unable to get. Why am I talking about this? Simple, today’s equivalent of this – Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure is something I feel like tearing into, so stand back and watch as I do so.
Now, this isn’t a review – I was unable to play for long enough at my local game shop to do that. It’s what Skylanders has tried to do, and done both well…yet absolutely horribly at the same time. For those unknowing about this, Skylanders is a game that comes with a portal that you place small figures on that then transfer to the TV screen. All experience and abilities you earn with that character are saved onto the figurine and can be placed on other people’s portals to play co-operatively or head to head.
The idea is sound, but the extra figures go for around £20 for a pack of three – or $30 for you guys across the pond from what I heard. “But Dag!” I hear you cry “Surely they don’t have to buy the extra figures? They can play with the starting three!” And you’d have a point, if we were not talking about kids – kids who wanna collect them all and will ask their parents to get them all the characters so they can complete the collection – it’s what we went through with Pokémon…it’s what I still go through with Pokémon. I’ve had kids burst into tears at the revelation that the shop is sold out of them – that’s kids, plural.
There’s nothing that special about the game – it plays well and is rather solid, but inaccessable to some who are not willing to shell out the extra money to fully experience the game. Then there’s the fact of the box art – take a look.
Who is that World of Warcraft Rogue in the middle? Why isn’t Spyro there when it’s his freaking game? Why isn’t the Rogue in the starting three when he’s in the star position? That makes no sense! Speaking of which, why is Spyro even featured in this game in the first place? Did this game really need someone of Spyro’s caliber to give it clout in the gaming world? Replace Spyro with a generic dragon named Steve who is yellow and white, nothing that important would change and a promising franchise wouldn’t have to weigh on a well established one.
If the game allowed you to unlock the thirty odd characters through game progress rather than shelling out a few hundred currency and didn’t have Spyro, then I would have gladly praised this game as the gameplay is quite good and the story does the basics of suspending belief well. It’s the blatantness of the way that they are using poor Spyro as a lure for kids to empty their pocket money for plastic things that, while technologically impressive, are a cash magnet, especially when you realise that you need to buy all these characters to fully experience the game.
I’m all for innovation, but not all of us have the Monopoly Mustache to afford it on one game.