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on April 2, 2017
First time giving this series a try. I'm not a huge fan of the new Spyro in comparison to him from the original trilogy by Insomniac, but the gameplay itself is interesting. The level designs are pretty and the ability to use and upgrade different characters makes it a unique experience similar to other collect and play games. I worry that it will become a money grab in some sense because of lot of areas and things you get will work for specific characters. I really don't have much of an interest in collecting all of them, but at least one of every element to cover most of the basis. I'll update this review if need be as I play more, but so far, I'm enjoying it and might give the others in the series a chance too.
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VINE VOICEon June 12, 2012
Skylanders has to be the best use of an idea that I've seen to date: it hits the kid-trifecta of video game/toy/collectible. It makes parents happy with its game rating and content, and while it is only loosely based on Spyro the Dragon, I get the impression my dragon-loving daughter could care less because she's having too much fun.

If you're not familiar with the idea, here it is: Skylanders are creatures (including Spyro) from another world who have been trapped inside little toy figurines. The Skylanders game comes with a "Portal of Power", a wireless base that you can put within reach of you while you play the game. When you plunk a Skylander figure down on the Portal of Power, they come to life in the game (and the Starter Pack gives you three). Within the game world, everything looks like a fantasy playset. Players go on adventures helping the little creatures that live in each world (and we get some entertaining voice acting, such as Patrick Warburton). Each Skylander has unique powers, and each falls into one of several types (Fire, Water, Air, Tech, etc.).

Each figurine has its own skills. Each type is useful--and sometimes necessary--to complete certain parts of a level. You'll hear "Skylanders of the Air type are stronger here", or see "A Fire type Skylander is necessary to unlock this door"...plunk the right type down on the Portal and you're ready to go. The goal of the game is to enjoy trying out all the different kinds of Skylanders and switch them about on the fly, so it never gets boring. And as each figurine "levels up", the money you gather along the way will let you buy various powers and upgrades, but all of it stays with that toy. Take the toy over to a friend's house, drop it on their Portal of Power, and you're playing right alongside them, with all your skills and levels. It's even "platform-agnostic", which means any Skylanders figure will work on any machine at any time: the PS3, the Wii, the Nintendo DS, and even the PC. My daughter plays on the PS3 and her friend has the Wii--both games play anyone's Skylanders without a hitch.

The dark side of Skylanders is the 'collectible' part. As you play the game, you'll unlock goodies that certain Skylanders can have. You'll see an animation of the Skylander and a clip of how they work in the game...but you can't play that Skylander and give them the goodie if you don't have the toy for that Skylander. And some toys are less common than others. Some are in more demand, and many are selling online by adults who make the rounds at your local toy stores and buy up everything in sight. While the initial run of Skylanders is 32 figurines, there are most likely plans to make more kinds, but the ones that have been made won't be made forever: their production run is limited. Your child doesn't have to have every Skylander to enjoy the game (and maybe they shouldn't!) but chances are you'll run across one particular hard-to-find Skylander that your child really wants to have, and then you'll have to decide how much you're willing to pay for it. Amazon is your friend: they connected me to someone with Cynder--girl characters are hard to find, and she is my daughter's favorite.

Still, Skylanders is tremendous fun to play. It is colorful, it allows two players to play together with the ability for either player to come and go if they want to quit, and it even tags figures to the savegame in which they were unlocked. This last doesn't change gameplay in any way, it just means that if you have two siblings with their own figures, each can have their own savegames that note that the figure was first plunked down in that savegame. Siblings with duplicate Skylanders can give each nicknames to tell them apart. And as if that wasn't enough, the Expansion Sets are a clever, clever way to add more to the game--drop the figure for the expansion on the Portal of Power and the expansion playset gets dropped into the Skylanders world for play. My daughter has a 'health potion' that you can put on the Portal once per level, and while it's there, players' health regenerates for a period of time. Amazing stuff.

I tell ya, if we'd had Skylanders when I was a kid, chances are I would have totally ignored 'that Star Wars thing that everyone seems to be talking about.' Skylanders is pure play/toy/game heaven.
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on March 5, 2012
Skylanders...good god, where do I start with this thing? My initial reaction to seeing the game in stores, with the dozens of figures on the shelf, was that it was just a fad and the kind of game that had little content, and was more of a way for the developers to make money rather than have a good game that we'd all be talking about. Well, after Christmas came and went 3 months ago, what is it that's STILL sold out everywhere? That's right. Skylanders figures. Even right now, you're lucky to find even the most unpopular ones anywhere more than a day after a shipment arrives. My daughter wanted this game not really based on how it looked in the commercial, but just by the characters she saw on the figure chart that was given out as a promo item. When the game went down in price a bit, I decided to get it for her birthday, figuring that if she didn't like the game, it wouldn't be a big deal, and that we'd be better off not shelling out the money for figure after figure.

Hoo boy, that was not the case.

Not only is Skylanders a fun game that doesn't treat kids like idiots and hold their hand through every part of the level, but it's one that you can enjoy with your children if you have two controllers. How many games these days have good co-op features that don't involve the same tired war gameplay? Yes, the whole buying individual figures for characters is a little lame, but look at it this way- where you're spending a few dollars just for a character or level for any other game, here you're at least getting a cool little toy that your kids can play with too. Do you have any idea how much I would've loved to have had a figure of Liberty Prime when I bought the Broken Steel DLC for Fallout 3 a while ago? Anyway, the game doesn't force you to have any more characters than the 3 you start out with. But you will be needing one of each type in order to access everything in the game. Each level has an area that can only be opened with a certain type, but let me stress again that you do NOT need to do these areas. What's cool is that each elemental type has 4 characters, all ranging in designs from robots to dragons to human-like creatures. You're bound to find at least one for each type that you'll like, and the best part is that while there -is- a kind of tier list for the game, there's really no such thing as a bad Skylander. All of them are fun to play as in their own way!

The game is easy to play, since it's a standard action dungeon crawler. You run around smashing open treasure chests and barrels to get money (used to upgrade your character's attacks), defeating enemies to gain experience, and can find various hats in the levels to boost a stat or two. The main plot involves a short, evil dude named Kaos who wants to control everything, just as most villains do. You, the person holding the controller, are a Portal Master, and it's your job to send a Skylander into the world and make everything right, defeating Kaos and his minions, and finding special items needed to restore the world.

The Portal that comes with the game works great and is way faster than I expected. As soon as you take a figure off of it, the game goes to the screen telling you to place a Skylander on the Portal, and once you do, it shows the character you selected, and they're zapped right into the game where you left off. It never feels like a chore to change characters, and I'm glad that they got things down with this whole Portal thing. I've yet to have any problems with mine not recognizing a figure or having any other problems. Both my daughter and I love playing the game together, or as a single player game, and collecting money to upgrade attacks. Each Skylander has two paths they can take for improving their attacks. Spyro for example, can continue to upgrade his fire breath, or upgrade his fire charge attack. Which is better? Well, both are good, but it's up to you to pick one. And if you don't like what you picked, you can always reset your Skylander and start from scratch.

I'd say that kids from the ages of 4-10 will probably get the most out of it. The only 'hard' parts in the game involve puzzles, but they're fairly simple. And if they get tired of the main game, there's a Versus battle mode they can play as well, with different modes. There's even a Challenge mode in the main game where you have to complete a certain task, using whatever character you want, and once you beat it, a certain stat will get boosted. If you want to have a really strong Skylander, taking care of these Challenges is a must.

Really, the only complaints I have are that the Portal tends to go through batteries like they're going out of style, and that it's annoying having to sit through Kaos' stupid ramblings of 'Doooooooom' over and over when going back through levels to get 3 stars on each one. I had enough of hearing jokes like that in high school when Invader Zim was popular with the Hot T...I mean, goth kids, and they'd constantly quote it, and not being able to skip over these scenes was irritating. But at least with the battery problem, you can take care of it by getting some good rechargeables. Also, for some reason a lot of the character's voices don't match up with their speech, especially Kaos'. Heck, some characters speak without even moving their mouths. That's just plain weird. Aside from these problems, the game's a blast. The graphics are good, the soundtrack has some memorable pieces, the voice acting is above average, and it's fun going through the levels with all the different Skylanders and seeing what each character has to offer. One quick thing though- it's odd that the game has Spyro's name in the title, and yet they never say his name once in the game, since you can play using whoever you want. You're always referred to as 'Skylander', and there's no talk about Spyro's previous adventures. Look at the game's box- he's not even front and center! He got bumped aside by the Skylander many consider to be the best in the game. Ouch.

We've had the game for less than a month now, and we're up to 11 Skylanders, all of which are getting about equal playtime, and I have to admit that even I get excited when I see a new one on the shelf at the store. Buy this game now! And get ready for the sequel coming out later this year. Hopefully they raise the level cap and add online play...
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on September 15, 2015
As a veteran RPG gamer I had originally bypassed this scheme of games as I have been more into heavy hitters like the gems from Bethesda and Blizzard and had figured it looked just too childish and cartoony plus the idea of having to purchase the characters to play seemed just too much of an extra expense for a kiddie game. However one fated day I went into a local Gamestop and saw the used characters and some of the new / old ones in packages for way cheap caught my interest plus I read up on the game and figured why not try it out and see what the hype is all about. After acquiring all the element characters needed the game really reminds me of of an upgraded Gauntlet Dark Legacy expanded from Gauntlet Legends offshoot with a pretty cartoonesque setting for the kids which is cool for the aspiring gamer and the articulated figurines are a slick gimmick with the portal etc. plus the price is way cheaper being an older game on here so if your looking for a good starter game for your kids or the kid at heart give this a whirl.
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VINE VOICEon January 3, 2012
Oh, at long last...something OTHER than the Wii that provides fun for my daughter and myself at the same time.

Just a little background: my daughter and I shared adventures on Super Mario Galaxy and then Super Mario Galaxy 2. Both games have resulted in excellent bonding moments. Now, however, as she nears her 9th birthday, her gaming capabilities have increased. She's a Mario Kart master and doesn't necessarily need my skills to complete a Super Mario Galaxy level.

Thankfully, Skylander's Spyro Adventure has entered to fill that void. With starting characters Spyro, Gill Grunt, and Trigger Happy along with a wireless portal, the father/daughter team has returned to deal out punishment to our latest enemy...Kaos. And a child-humor filled enemy at that.

So what's with the portal? The characters? Is it hard to bring together? Not at all. There's a wireless USB fob that connects the Portal to the PS3 and it works at about the same range as a conventional wireless PS3 controller. The characters themselves can be swapped in and out at will so that each player can control their own creature. This can actually be done within a level so that a door requiring a certain Elemental creature to unlock can be swapped at will...or replace an injured character in the heat of battle. Each character represents one of 8 "Elements" out there. With Spyro, Gill Grunt, and Trigger Happy, you start off with the elements of Magic, Water, and Tech, respectively. Other elements include Earth, Undead, Fire, Air, and Life. Each character has strengths/weaknesses and although some characters may seem stronger, I would venture to say that the game would be difficult to complete solo past Chapter 15. The game encourages co-op mode to the fullest and your mission is to collect "Eternal Sources" to prevent Kaos acheiving ultimate domination. It combines platforming and increasingly complex lock puzzles along with simplistic real-time RPG fighting with a variety of enemies. Just when I think that there aren't any more variants to defeat, the next level coughs up several more. The replayability is also high. Each character in Skylanders possesses the capability of leveling up to Level 10 (along with all bonuses that come along with it) along with an upgrade system that consists of your characters collecting treasure to purchase potent power upgrades. Once you've upgraded your character to a certain level, you will invariably choose one of 2 tree paths to master your character with. To top it all off, most levels have 1-2 Soul Gems which grants a very powerful upgrade to a specific character in the game for a high treasure price. My daughter and I have been playing since Christmas and have only achieved Level 10 on 2 of our characters with full upgrades. We plan to do them all!!!

Here's the best part. Your best friend has the game but has an Xbox...a Wii...a 3DS, etc.? Ah, no problem. Your CHARACTERS are interchangable AND keep all of their STATISTICS. So your fully leveled character might be your best friend's friend. :) The cross-platform capability of the characters is one of the strongest features in my opinion. Better still, you can also sync your portal to your PC (yes, it's compatible - I've made it work) and you can actually do some mini-games with your characters on the web! The web site is still in Beta mode, but it's fun to try it out.

People have accused Activision for Skylanders being a cash grab. Well, of course it is...and unabashedly so. Any "collectible game" is inherently this way; either you buy into it or not. The main story in Skylanders CAN be completed with just the 3 characters that come with Starter pack. However, if you're inclined, you can unlock all of the areas (you would need 5 more Elemental characters to do this - minimum of 8 overall), perform all the challenges (all of the characters to do this), and experience the idiosynchracies and humor inherent with the remaining 29 characters if you so choose; to date, there are still 9 that have yet to be released which include: Double Trouble (Magic), Warnado (Air), Lightning Rod (Air), Zook (Life), Camo (Life), Cynder (Undead), Sunburn (Fire), Slam Bam (Water), and Wham Shell (Water). There are also 2 Adventure packs out there that expand the game further: Pirate Seas and Darklight Crypt. There are 2 more Adventure packs that have yet to be released: Empire Of Ice and Dragon's Peak.

My daughter and I are firmly in the latter camp of wanting to experience the full game. We have all but the last 9 characters in our possession (Whirlwind was a Target exclusive, Drill Sergeant was a Wal-Mart/Sam's Club exclusive, Terrafin is currently available only with Pirate Seas, Ghost Roaster is currently available only with Darklight Crypt, and Ignitor is only included in the 3DS package which we also got as a future birthday gift). It is currently unknown when the last 9 will be released or if this still "exclusive" nonsense will be dropped - I presume that this was created in order to level the retailing playing field. That said, the game guide for this game does state that Sunburn will be released with Dragon's Peak and that Slam Bam will be released with Empire of Ice. With the mayhem of Christmas over, let's hope that Activision will be more indiscriminate with their releases and better supplied. Right now, the research it took to find out how to get all of the characters has been frustrating and I'm not sure who amongst parents/children are likely to be more impatient with the diversity of "exclusivity." There are even "Legendary" packs out there or characters like Dark Spyro in the 3DS pack, but these are alternate versions of the same characters albeit with different physical appearances and base stats...we won't likely take it that far. We just want the core 32 characters.

If you don't have it already, I highly recommend it. It's a fantastically fun, addicting game and it's a great bonding moment too.

If you have any questions, please post a comment and I'll be happy to answer them.
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on August 19, 2014
We love Skylanders. A good break from too much Minecraft on PS3. It's like Super Mario Bros. It's adventure-packed and fun-filled kid-friendly game. One of those few games that's worth the money and The time. The only cons is that it's quite too easy for my boy. He was able to finish it in 2-3 days with light playing. It's like Pokemon that you can choose the character fighting. And collect them at the same time.
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on May 9, 2015
I swore we would never have both the Disney Infinity collection and Skylanders collection, but I could not pass up this deal for $10 for a PS3 starter pack! One feature I didn't know upon purchase but love is that the portal is wireless with a USB receiver. So my son just keeps the portal on the couch and doesn't need to get up to add/change the characters. Of course we will need to get more figures as the starter pack only contains 3 and it doesn't cover all the basic elements, but I knew that when I decided to buy it on sale.
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on June 15, 2014
Skylanders is a series that's been running for three years -- almost four now! -- and it is just amazing. "Spyro's Adventure," the game that started it all, does have it's flukes, but is an overall great play. Lots of levels, an interesting villain (which is something many games lack) and great family fun. Many people complain about how expensive the characters are and how you need all 32 to beat it, but that's where they're wrong. You need all 32 characters to 100% the game, but everything that you need to beat the game comes in the starter pack. Speaking as someone who has only played SWAP Force before getting this game, I think the graphics could be better and the upgrade system is confusing. But the game is well worth it's price (if you buy it here and not in stores, because the in-store price is $70) and like I said, family fun.
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on February 12, 2013
To begin with, my kid loves this game. He plays this all the time. He even connects the portal to his laptop and plays the online version when the Playstation is unavailable (due to dad playing his games).

But, the only reason for the one star detraction is based on the fact that more emphasis needs to be placed on versions of games. I thought that I had thoroughly researched this game prior to purchasing as a Christmas gift, but unfortunately as soon as my son opened the game, his response was "ugh, all my friends have Skylanders "Giants".

How is a parent to know that this is an old version, and the "Giants" is the new version. Please put forth a notice or alert system when games have new versions available; especially if the versions aren't "numbered", and are some sort of cryptic word like "Giants". You could just put in the description of the game, "This game has a new version available".

We have had this game just over a month and I am about to purchase "Giants" now just so my son can play with his friends. This version will collect dust on the shelf.
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on July 17, 2012
This game is a must for family fun. I'm 42 year old female who enjoys video games but this one is a blast to play with the kids. You can give each character nicknames, change hats(which give the characters extra boost), change characters out, and so much more. It has been fun for the whole family. I love the fact that the characters work on any system. My daughter has the DS version and it came with the dark spyro character and we have used dark spyro on our PS3 version. So if you are hesitant about getting the game don't it has been so much fun for our family. I also like the fact that I can jump in and out of the game whenever I need to. Kind of like the LEGO video games. The only draw back that I have seen is the company keeping up with the demand for the characters, we are still missing one. I can't wait for Skylander Giants to come out. I here if you have the portal you won't have to buy anything but the game and characters and that they will be offering a starter pack with a portal and without a portal. Again I give this game 5 star rating ***** for fun and flexabilty.
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