Sunday, July 29, 2012

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure the Fun the Pokemon the Expense

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure. When I first looked into this game, I laughed it off as an obvious ploy to get some major $$$ from parents and grandparents of young children everywhere. And then I thought of all the money I've spent on Pokenmon Cards in my youth. All the games I bought. All the games my parents bought for me. All the money I saved from my allowances and doing odd jobs whether it was watching a neighbor's pet while they were away, mowing lawns, and so on, all to get some money and buy more cards and games. 

While many people may not like the practices of Pokemon games and any games like it, with the consistent waves of new games, usually several times in a year, year after year, with relatively few changes and new content, you have to admit, it's ingenious. Skylanders Spyro's adventure follows the same principles to the letter: Provide collectible merchandise, make it fun and cute to look at, give the merchandise some property or characteristic the others lack so each is unique, and require further purchases to unlock in order to reach the fullest potential of the main product. In this case it's a video game. And while the grown up in me can't help but roll my eyes and scoff, I then think. Well, I pay for Xbox live. I buy many new games a year. I pay for DLC. I upgrade my computer to keep up with the games out there that require enough firepower to create a mushroom cloud. So I calmed down and approached the game from a different angle and decided to do a review of the game while trying recall what it was like to be a 6-8 year old, and how much I probably would have wanted a game like this. And for parents out there, I'm sure you're question is this: With everything else I pay for, school, clothes, toys, music, games, etc, should I dish out additional cash for more collectibles? Read my review and decide for yourselves.

Skylanders: An Alternative to Mature Rated Games

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure plays very much like Lego games. I'm sure many parents reading this probably have at least one Lego video game for their child, and know exactly what I'm talking about. As such, there isn't anything that will awe you. But try to see it from the perspective of one of the kiddos. You're between 6-8 give or take a year or so, and you're playing a game like this. You don't want complicated controls that require strategy and precision timing. In today's world, children are playing more mature video games at younger ages. And I really like that this game is so popular with younger players. My mother would have never let me play Call of Duty or Battlefield at the age of seven, Take it from me, it's disturbing to play online and hear what sounds like a five year old spew a bunch of offensive smack talk in your earpiece, most if not all of which the kid probably doesn't understand or isn't mature enough to even comprehend. But back to Skylanders. Kids will find they can handle the simple controls of Skylanders. There's really nothing to it when it comes to the controls, Plus, it's nice to have a game so many young players like that isn't all head shots and disembowelment and ripping out spines.

Skylanders Spryo's Adventure Trailer

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure: A Children-Friendly Game

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure is a fun and engaging game. The kids will get a kick out of all the different abilities and attacks of each character they can play. It's even fun enough to get older siblings, and yet, even you parents, in on the action. Skylanders can be played cooperatively and is even better when played with family and friends. What's more, the game has an unexpected spike in difficulty about halfway through the game and the aid of a friend or family member is always welcome. Having said all that, for each Skylander you play as, their play style and abilities are fairly restricted and you may feel like you're doing the same thing over and over again. But for most kids, the repetition may be negligible. I mean, How many Pokemon games are there? I think they they're almost out of primary and secondary colors and will soon run out of stones and gems as well. Kids like consistency and feel most at home with what they're used to. Skylanders may not have a lot of variety to the overall gameplay, but it provides just enough to keep kids hooked and wanting more. Again, it's ingenious.

Skylanders Portal Power

One of the biggest selling points of Skylanders Spyro's Adventure is the Portal of Power. What is the Portal of Power? Players place a figurine onto the Portal, and the Portal reads what character it is and displays it in-game on the screen. And what the kids will love is that they can change characters whenever they want during a level. So when they come to a particular obstacle or puzzle only a certain Skylander can overcome, simply switch figurines. Take one off the Portal and place a new one on. Another great thing about the figurines is that they are basically a storage device as well. So players can take their figurine to a friend's house, place it on their friend's Portal of Power, and all of the stored data, the character's level, etc is right there, ready to play. As an added bonus, and something I think is really cool, is the figurines can be placed on any Portal. So if your child has a Nintendo Wii and takes his/her figurine to a friend who owns an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3, the Portals still work and everyone can play on any console as long as they have the figurine. And in addition to leveling each character's abilities and weapons, making them stronger, the Skylanders add additional buffs and benefits to make their friends even stronger still.    

Skylanders Just When I thought I was Out . . .

So here is another incentive to cough up additional dough. Good grief, right? The game can be beaten with the three Skylanders that come with the starter kit. But each figure/character has his or her own unique abilities that are required to access certain parts of each level. So while playing there will be plenty of point that will make you wish you had every single Skylander. It's basically all content on disk that you have to pay for. Most players are against that, and for good reason in most cases, but as I mentioned earlier, Skylanders is just like Pokemon.

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Gameplay

Skylanders Darn the Expense

And now we come to what may be the deal breaker. The elephant in the room. Skylanders will cost you. And it's become somewhat notorious for its asking price At $70 dollars, this is an expensive starter kit, no question. For additional Skylanders, say a three pack of figurines is $20 dollars. And get this, there are 32 additional characters for your kid to collect. Youch. Perhaps now would be a good time to tell them money doesn't grow on trees. Obviously, if your kid really wants this game and you've decided to buy it for him/her, you should't buy it all at once. There's really no need if you think about it. I recommend researching the different Skylanders with your little gamer and decide which he/she likes best. And buy that one. And just like Pokemon cards and games, you can always trade a Skylander for another if your kiddos has friends who have the game. They get bored with one Skylander, they can trade with a friend. Or simply borrow from friends so they can go back and unlock certain sections of a level they've had their eye on. It'll save you some money, trust me.

Skylanders Money Saving Tip

Skylander's Spyro's Adventure will certainly give parents pause when considering whether or not they will invest the big bucks. That's completely understandable. Of course, your kids could do what I did and work for some money or allowances and pay for any additional Skylanders they want. A good suggestion for parents; kids, sorry about that. But part of the reason I write these reviews is to help customers save some money, after all. But even with the expense, I actually recommend this game, provided you (parents, grandparents, or anyone considering purchasing this game) take it slow, plan ahead a bit, and make absolutely sure this game is a fit for your child. It's a fun game, kids can play with family and friends, and compared to so many games out there, it's really not violent and doesn't contain mature content you may not want your children to be exposed to.

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Final Verdict

For it's fun and addictive gameplay and child-friendly execution, Skylanders will actually rate pretty high with me. Of course, the costs is something to consider, and like many games, such as Pokemon, it can be downright annoying to pay for something that requires additional purchases just to play at its fullest potential. And for that, Skylanders Spyro's Adventure earns a surprising 8 out of 10

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