|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, 3DS|
|Dev: Vicarious Visions|
|Release: October 18, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Cartoon Violence|
Probably the most innovative (and coolest) design element is that the character's information is saved directly to the miniature, not the game system. Your experience, wealth, stats and upgraded abilities, as well as your currently donned hat, all travel with you. On top of that, they are compatible with every other platform, no matter the brand. So the Spyro that you've spent hours juicing up on the Wii can be played on your friend's Xbox 360, or you can take your PS3 Skylander to do some adventuring on the go with the Nintendo 3DS.
The visuals match the intended cartoony vibe, with strong use of bold colors and exaggerated animations. Except for some smoother textures, the Wii version looks as good as its more powerful console counterparts. From a control perspective, the Wii version even plays the easiest, since it is the only version with incorporated motion controls. With a broad spectrum of primary colors, each Skylander stands out on its own, making them as unique as their in-game abilities.
The orchestrations have a good beat and are pretty catchy, but the tracks are barely a minute long, and they'll get stuck in your head because they get so repetitive. The developers certainly didn't get stingy with the sounds effects, as attack sounds, enemy screams, and even broken barrel sounds constantly push through your speakers. Some Skylanders have the gift of speech, while others grunt, shriek, or wail, which is another great way to make your personal collection feel unique. The NPC voice acting also fits a cartoon's expectations, but Patrick Warburton steals the show. His instantly recognizable low voice—as the cocky balloon pilot Flynn—follows a script that seems completely penned with him in mind.
$70 for the starter pack might seem a bit steep, with additional figurines at eight dollars a pop. For a hardcore gamer with an arsenal of Mature-rated titles, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure might not have enough appeal to make it worth the introductory fee. But for the younger audience, it's certainly one to put at the top of this year's holiday wish list—a game brimming with extra features and cool action figures with their own virtual lives. It may be simple in presentation, but the execution is near flawless, and all the extra content shows a great level of dedication on the part of the developers. Skylanders is certainly a full and unique gaming experience.
CCC Contributing Writer