Saturday, February 12, 2011

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Announced (Unspecified Platforms)

I actually got a text from G4 about this game (free service, with a data plan that includes text messages), and really wasn't sure what to expect. 
The trailer sets up a game that promises to be "a new genre in toys and gaming", oddly set to AC/DC's Thunderstruck. While the game is named for Spyro, it includes 32 playable characters, most new characters to the franchise. These characters correspond to figures you can buy at any major toy retailer. They're non opposable memory cards, really, as each one will hold the progress you make with that character, and you can move the progress from any version of the game to any other version. A neat idea, for sure, but an unnecessary gimmick that adds expense to the experience. You can beat the game using only one character, but if you choose to buy the toys and transfer a new character into the game, you'll see changes to the game such as altered terrain to suit the new character. From the trailer, it seems there will be a sizable peripheral for reading the data off of these statues. At an event for the game, Kotaku's Stephen Totilo wrote up an article, where they were showing off the Wii version, and made mention of a 3DS version. There is a video with the Kotaku article that shows off the size of the figures and the reader "portal".

I've seen some concepts like this advertised on television for PCs, where the software is actually free, and the cost only comes from the figures and a reader for them. With Skylanders, you need to buy the game as well. All skewed towards a younger audience, I wonder how well these kinds of concepts do, financially. I remember when I was a kid, I always thought non-opposable figures were quite a bit more lamer than figures with "karate chop action," so as toys, I always doubt stuff like this can catch on as well as something like the WiiWaa doll might. The developer, Toys for Bob doesn't have a prestigious track-record for games, so I'm guessing this will be yet another disappointing entry in the Spyro series.

What do you guys think about the concept, either for you or a younger audience? Do you guys think Spyro needs to retire or do you think this new concept could reinvigorate the series? Let me know in the comments.


  1. I like the concept behind it, as it's not done often and I don't know of it being done in this particular fashion before.

    I haven't played a Spyro game at any length, I think perhaps once on a Target store demo, but nothing other than that.

    I think the idea behind it has a lot of potential, especially with so many different characters and the many different strengths/weaknesses each one could have. With 32 characters...that could be a lot of reply value, as long as the game is fun to play.

  2. Right, "as long as the game is fun".
    It probably requires you to purchase about 31 or so figures (I can only assume the game is bundled with Spyro and the "portal" reader, at least) to use all those characters. Part of me says that 32 playable characters is a bad sign when the game isn't a fighter. In fighters, the focus is on making each character varied because that's where the gameplay comes from. In an action-platformer, you focus on levels, non-playable enemies, and the playable characters as far as gameplay goes. Some games can't even pull off 4 playable characters with a significant difference in playstyle or abilities, so when you start getting into the 30s, I'm guessing the differences are mainly cosmetic to make sure you appease a wider audience.

    I wish I could remember the names of some of the concepts I've seen like this game so I could look into how well they performed.