So my wife got me the 3DS version of "Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure" as an early birthday present (and to make up for buying The Sims 3 for herself when we've agreed to cut spending; yes I'm aware that's counterproductive and I don't care). Here are my first impressions:
First of all, you're all probably thinking "Isn't that a kids game?" Yeah? So what? Most games are kids games or at least family appropriate. Besides, if this blog teaches you nothing else, let it teach you that I'm a kid at heart and I love it that way.
Second of all, I have to say I'm an old school Spyro fan, as in I ate up the original three games like candy and then was unprepared for the console upgrades and kind of lost track of the series until now. His role in this game is more or less a cameo. Yes, he's a playable character and he (or a version of him at least) is available with the starter pack for the game itself, but nobody really refers to him by name. This makes sense, since the game is designed to be playable with any character, but it only feels like a Spyro game when he's your active character and you're just out there roasting stuff.
Thirdly, I did some reading and it appears the 3DS is wildly different from the console/PC versions in both story and gameplay. It's meant to be an additional story and I guess they expect you to get it in addition to one of the main games. As this one has more platforming than the main game, I'm convinced I made the right choice. I love old-school platformers, and any game where the character can't jump is a point against it in my book (though I am sad I'm missing out on Richard Horvitz reprising ZIM - seriously, watch the cutscenes on YouTube. I don't care what he calls himself or what he looks like, that is unmistakeably ZIM).
And what a platformer this game is. It really did feel like I was playing Spyro (or Crash Bandicoot) again. My only real negative about this game is that the main story is too damn short. I suppose the replay value is all about collecting the different characters and leveling them up, and you do need at least one of each element for 100% completion. Still, with the three starters they gave me (actually, I stuck with two through my first playthrough), I managed to blow through the main story in like three to four hours.
That's actually one other thing that bugs me. The figurines that you collect that store the character data is a novel idea and one of the things that made me look into the game. But calling them toys is false advertising. They're statues. Toy implies at least some form of movement, or at least I think so being a collector who uses them as stress relief - the more range of movement the better! - but these things just sit there and look cool.
Still, despite these rather large flaws I simply adore this game and will probably be playing it endlessly, or at least once I can get some cashflow in for more figures (I already know who I want: Drobot for the win!)
One last thing before I wrap this up, I wanted to talk about the characters I have because they do play very differently and it does give an excuse to buy more of them just to see how they handle:
1. Dark Spyro. It's Spyro, or an update look one that they use, but he's purplish-black with silver highlights as opposed to the classic character's violet/gold combo. One of the reasons I wanted the 3DS one in the first place was this unique character, and I used him as my main throughout my initial run. He plays very much like classic Spyro, except he has a tail-whip combo instead of a charge and there's a dark magic theme around him. He's kind of a Mario type: decent all-around stats, nothing too high but nothing too low either. Plus he falls slower when he jumps; a nod to gliding, I bet.
2. Stealth Elf. She looks like someone took a Night Elf Rogue and dropped her into a vat of Mint Chocolate Chip. I used her as my backup, though I tried to level her equally. Expectedly, she can't take a hit for beans but boy is she FAST! Any section where you have to run for your life, I suggest using her and only her.
3. Ignitor. Flaming suit of armor. I thought he looked pretty dull, and I only started leveling him after I had beaten the game to get at some Fire-Only areas and since I have him anyway and he's different. He's still my least favorite of the three, but he hits decently and is a good character to have.
This is probably a series I'm going to follow for a while, especially with new characters. If I get a chance to try the main version, you guys'll hear about that too.