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Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, spun off from the long-running Spyro console series, is a unique mash-up of real-world toy play with a computer game. More than 30 figures (including the titular purple dragon) can be purchased at local toy stores and transformed into playable in-game characters, simply by placing them on the USB-connected Portal of Power accessory included with the game.
In Skylanders, you take the role of a powerful Portal Master who controls the heroes. Ejected from their world into ours by the evil Portal Master Kaos, your plastic warriors embark on a journey into the world of the Skylanders to defeat the Darkness. The Story mode finds you exploring various locations, battling creatures, collecting gold and treasures, and solving puzzles in your quest. Along with various stunning attacks, your characters can boost their stats via special hats found in the game, and each Skylander has an assigned element that proves more powerful in certain areas and can unlock gates to additional locations.
Placing a second toy on the Portal of Power starts co-op play, which is another major feature of the game. Each toy saves important character information internally so you can play at a friend’s house with progress intact, even on another platform. Be warned, though, that the Mac version has a glitch in which adding a gamepad to a keyboard/mouse setup results in the gamepad taking over the first character, rather than the second.
Dozens of figurines can be bought and used in the game.
You can also engage in PvP play through Battle mode, which offers short but exciting mini-games against your friends. There are three ways to challenge friends across five different arenas, including head-to-head battle in Arena Rumble and battle football in SkyGoals.
And despite the large number of optional toys available for purchase, you can play the game using the three bundled figures, as well as access online mini-games using a web code. Activision wisely went the route of providing characters that add value to gameplay, rather than the other way around.
The bottom line. Despite a couple of technical issues, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure is a great spin-off of a venerable series with unique ideas that add to the overall fun. An engaging story with great voice acting and loads of content hooks you, while the co-op and battle modes keep you coming back with friends for more.
Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
Intel Core i5 or better, Mac OS 10.6.7 or later, 4GB RAM, 11GB hard disk space, 512MB 3D graphics card—Nvidia GeForce GT 330M or equivalent
ESRB rating: Everyone 10+
Battle mode and co-op play are a lot of fun. Stellar story and voice acting. Saving game progress to toys is a smart feature.
Limited arenas for Battle mode. System requirements seem more like recommendations. Controller glitch during co-op mode.