- Developer: Toys For Bob
- Publisher: Activision
- Release Date: 03/09/2019
- Price: £34.99 / $39.99
- Review code provided by Activision
I have been reviewing games for Nintendo little under a year now and feel that it’s an appropriate time to make a confession. I, Brett Hill did not own a Nintendo console during the fifth and sixth generation era. I have committed blasphemy and brought shame to the Nintendo family, please forgive me. But on the other hand, owning a PS1 gave me access to some of the greatest 3D platformer games of all time with Spyro the Dragon considered being one of them. So sorry, not sorry.
Reignite the Flame
The ’90s sparked a new era of gaming and changed the way we played platformers forever. Everyone’s favourite plumber had dominated the genre for well over a decade since he was first introduced on the NES and is still loved to this day but there are a few other characters worthy of a mention with one of them being the unforgettable feisty dragon, Spyro. What better way to immortalise a franchise than to give it the HD makeover, pack it full of extras and introduce it to a whole new generation of gamers. I hope it brings joy to the world as it did for me over 20 years ago.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy has finally landed on the Nintendo Switch containing the original 3 games; Spyro The Dragon, Spyro Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro Year Of The Dragon. It’s time to explore the dragon realms and start collecting those colourful gems all over again. Toys For Bob have breathed new life into the little fella by injecting the usual HD magic and extras that people expect to see in a modern game but it has kept the charm and attitude that got us hooked all those years ago. The humour is still as funny as ever, the gameplay is solid, the controls are as you remember and yes the original cheats work so what are you waiting for? Let’s activate the big head mode and jump straight in.
Spyro: The Dragon
The first title simply called Spyro the Dragon is probably the most memorable in the trilogy, it also sold the most copies shifting nearly 5 million units. As I created my first save file and loaded up the first level the nostalgic hit hard, well and truly set in. Everything was exactly where I remembered. The controls were the same and the soundtrack was intact which was composed by Stewart Copeland the drummer from The Police.
The Plot is simple, evil Gnasty Gnorc has cast a spell on the dragon realm and turned all the fire breathing residents into crystal statues apart from Spyro who managed to dodge the attack. With the help from Sparx the dragonfly its time to explore the 6 worlds, break them free and takedown Gnasty Gnorc once and for all.
Controlling Spyro is simple, the little guy can jump, glide, breath fire with no other moves to learn throughout the game making it easy to get to grips and master. My only gripe is the turning circle is pretty slow to react which can cause some frustrating collisions, especially when chasing those egg thieves.
The performance of Spyro running on the Switch is mostly a positive experience. It looks great and plays well but when playing in handheld mode there is a grainy effect on the screen which is more noticeable when watching a cutscene. This disappears when the switch is docked and you are playing on the TV. Hopefully, this can be resolved in a future update or maybe it’s a compromise that had to be made for it to run on the switch. This issue is present in all 3 titles but you tend not to notice it after a while.
With the help from the balloonists, you can travel between worlds using the hot air balloon. Even as a kid I never understood why a dragon who can fly still needs to catch public transport. They will set objectives to complete before they will let you float away to the next kingdom. The difficulty level is constant throughout and as you can gather it is a little on the easy side. There are a few spikes in the game holding you back from progressing quicker but they are mainly objectives that require you to collect a specific amount of gems or dragons. Even in the ’90s, you had to grind away.
Travelling back through the worlds and catching the hot air balloon can get a little tedious at times so the addition of the guidebook was greatly welcomed. This method lets you fast travel to other levels and worlds quickly. Another fun addition was the loading screen being able to control Spyro to pass the time.
After Gnasty Gnorc is defeated there is plenty of replay value if you want to collect every item and get 120%.
Spyro: Ripto’s Rage!
The second game in the trilogy, Ripto’s Rage! builds on the winning formula that made the first game a classic by adding new mechanics and characters to the franchise. As you start out, the gameplay is the same as the first title but now you can unlock new skills. These can be bought off Mr Moneybags, an eccentric money-grabbing bear. The new abilities include swimming, climbing and the art of head-bashing.
This time around instead of setting dragon’s free you have to collect Talismen and orbs which are needed to power the portal back home. After defeating Gnasty Gnorc, Spyro decided to go on a much-needed vacation. Arriving in the land of Avalar through a gateway an evil sorcerer by the name of Ripto destroyed Spyro’s only way of returning home. With the help from The professor, Elora and Huner you will need to dethrone Ripto and collect enough orbs to re-open that one-way ticket home.
Another new feature to the series is powerup gates. Once you pass through them it will give Spyro a special power for a limited time.
In the land of Avalar, there are 3 realms to explore which are unusually named after seasons Summer forest, Autumn plains and Winter tundra with Spring being left out. Once you have defeated Ripto there is a secret world to unlock called dragon shores which contains various mini-games but you will need to collect 8,000 gems and 55 gems to gain access to the park. The original game had an onscreen map which you could turn on and off, this feature was added to all 3 games in the Reignited Trilogy.
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
An evil rabbit by the name of Bianca invades the dragon realm with an army of Rhynocs. They steal all the dragon eggs to take back to the queen of the forgotten lands. As Spyro is the only one small enough to fit in the tunnels created by Bianca he is nominated by the rest of the village to go and retrieve all 150 of them.
Containing over 30 levels spread across 4 worlds this is the most ambitious Spyro out of the 3. Introducing mini-games to the levels ie. skateboarding and the ability to play as other characters. There are 7 playable characters in total. A few to mention are Sparx the Firefly, Sheila the Kangaroo and Bentley the Yeti. Other than those changes the gameplay is very similar to Ripto’s Rage! with no new moves to learn for Spyro. Moneybags has also returned by helping the Queen and will stop you in your path but he is easily bribed when offered gems.
Again, the difficulty of the game is relatively easy with levels requiring a certain amount of egg’s to unlock. This may hold you back in progressing through the game but one area I feel that has been tweaked from previous titles is the boss levels. They are noticeably harder and very unforgiving for the younger crowd in Year of the Dragon. There is also a boss in each world to beat before you can move onto the next, an issue I have with bosses in a 3D arena setting is the camera angles. When running in circles there are many blind spots to deal with but this can be improved by being able to change the camera type from passive to active.
Toys for Bob have done a fantastic job in remastering the original 3 Spyro games and giving them a new lease of life. The experience on the Switch is mostly a positive one but it looks like compromises had to be made for it to run. As I said further up there is a grainy effect on the screen but this doesn’t ruin the game by any means. The game has stood the test of time and is a solid 3D platformer. This will bring many hours of fun for both veteran gamers and younger players who were too young to play it the first time around. Anyone who is a fan of platformers should pick this game up and for the price, you are getting a lot of content for your money. There are over 20 hours of gameplay and if you are a completionist there are well over 50+ hours. The controls haven’t changed from what I can remember which is not always a good thing but the majority of the time it is a joy to play and as with most 3D platformers camera angles can be an issue but again it doesn’t ruin the experience.
For the people who already own Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, I strongly suggest you stop what you are doing now and input the following cheat to make Spyro wear sunglasses: pause the game then press R, R, R, R, Left, Left, Left, Left, Down, Up, X.
• Spyro has never looked so good in HD
• A lot of content for your money
• Funny cheats
• A solid 3D platformer that has stood the test of time
• Camera angle issues
• Grainy effect on the screen when in handheld mode
Spyro has stood the test of time with this HD remake of the original trilogy. A 3D platformer that defined an era which deserves to be played all over again by a whole new generation of gamers, oh and enjoyed again by people who are old enough to have it the first time around.