OWTK Gaming / Parenting Blog

Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure: My Little Portal Masters

We haven’t touched the Wii in nearly a year.  Gamers we are not.  Hey, this is exactly why I farmed out OWTK’s gaming coverage to a fella who is plugged in (well, not exactly, I guess, with all this fancy pants wireless technology nowadays), but you know what I mean.  I know music, and toys, and books, and parenting, but I recognized that to give the gaming world its proper due, I needed an authoritative and passionate voice on the subject.

Still, I’d kept the over-sized Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure box in my office.  After attending the NYC launch party for the game last month, I knew that I wanted to be the first to play this one.

OWTK's Skylanders Collection

Well, after two weeks I finally unwrapped the Skylanders Starter Set for Wii that was sent to us from the fine folks at Activision.  And my girls are in love; with Spyro and his magical ways, with Trigger Happy and his exuberant laugh, and with Gill Grunt’s, um, grunting.  At one point this past weekend, towards the end of Chapter 3 after a fierce battle with giants on the rebuilt castle’s grounds, our three Skylanders were in need of rest.  What’s a young gaming family to do? Pile into the car, march into our local Toys-R-Us, and buy a new Skylander, of course!  We all wanted Whirlwind or Stealth Elf but neither could be found hanging from a peg.  We brought home our 3rd choice instead, the rather adorable environmentalist (?) Stump Smash.

I later discovered that Whirlwind and his rainbows of destruction is a Target Exclusive.  Naturally I bolted for Target.  No luck.  But I did snag their last Stealth Elf!  Score.  And no luck yesterday either.  But today, bingo!  We got our Whirlwind.

With Stump Smash’s help, we cleared through the first three chapters of Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and I gotta say that this game is a metric ton of magical fun.  I haven’t loved a non-sports video game since The Legend of Zelda on regular Nintendo some 20 years ago.  Skylanders has that same seek-n-find, mysterious, mission-based vibe, only with a way more developed storyline (from the writers of Toy Story, no less); it’s like a full movie script and animated action inside a video game.  So. freaking. awesome.

Do I fear my daughters becoming gaming addicts?  Yeah, a little.  I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had nightmares about them burning all of their beloved books in the driveway then starting to dress up like their favorite Skylanders characters, but right now I’m happy to mildly feed my little portal masters’ new found excitement for the Wii and for their Skylanders.

What I like best about Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure:

  • Your Skylanders don’t “die”.  Instead, they have their power/energy level exhausted and need to take a “rest”.
  • The battles with chompers, giants, witches and more are not bloody affairs.  Can so much violence be non-violent?  Sorta.  One never feels as though they are killing and destroying.  This is a nifty move and one I appreciate as the dad to two youngsters.
  • The Skylanders story arc is really intriguing and unravels itself methodically with narration by a dry-humor balloonist, a somewhat skittish mole, and a fairy shopkeeper named after a Greek goddess (making the Bear, who has jumped headfirst into Greek mythology, super happy).
  • The graphics are eye-popping.  Yeah, this is old hat to most gamers who demand impressive visuals, but for a family not used to it I can say that each new level brings with it surprises that are more and more fascinating to look at and explore.
  • The Mouse, age 4.5,  can’t really manage the dual-handed Wii game play, but she excitedly participates when it’s time to unlock gates and shake open treasure chests.  This allows us to all be involved together, which is super important to us.
  • As I mentioned in my preview of Skylanders last month, the character pieces store all the data from game play and can travel to friends portals regardless of gaming platform.  This is positively brilliant.

I therefore put the OWTK stamp of approval all over Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure.  The starter set – and maybe a few extras! –  is gonna look beautiful under the tree this Christmas next month.

Learn more about the Skylanders and the game on the official site here.

*OWTK received Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Starter Set for Wii for review consideration.  The opinions above are honest and unbiased.

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