I love Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure. I love the toys. I love the colorful world and quirky characters. I love having characters that store their progress and can be transferred from PC to 3DS to console. The only thing I hated was the inability for the characters to jump.
Some of these characters have wings, mind you, and the best they can do is a low-altitude glide. The hobbling of these poor creatures is all the more frustrating when you take into account that the 3DS version, developed by Vicarious Visions, did allow characters a jump button, and was a more challenging and entertaining game for it.
So when I got my hands on Skylanders Giants for the Wii last week, the first thing I did was hunt for a jump button. There was none.
As was the case with the original game, Skylanders Giants wants to keep things simple for its target demographic, which, as it turns out, is not 39-year-old males. Well, not specifically. The gameplay does deepen in this second iteration, offering challenges that can be completed using either a standard Skylander or one of the eight massive new Giants, but jumping is right out.
Smashing through doors is in. Lumbering beasts grabbing massive pieces of real estate out of the ground and hurling them at enemies and obstacles is go. The puzzles are a bit more challenging and the rewards more rewarding, but dammit. I wanted to jump.
This lack of vertical motion isn't a deal-breaker. The rabid collector in me will still scour stores for the 16 new Skylanders, eight giants and eight regular. Toys for Bob has some really striking designs lined up for the new folks, especially Bouncer, the massive metal robot that's got a real Iron Giant vibe. The LightCore technology that gives the characters a magical glow when placed on or around the Portal of Power is quite attractive, certainly enough to capture the attention and imagination of small children.
I don't even mind the fact that the original Skylanders I've amassed are limited to level 10, requiring me to buy 24 re-posed versions of those characters to reach level 15 and unlock a third special power. It's gonna be costly, but that's the business, and some of the new sculpts are rather sexy.
UPDATE: Activision just confirmed that original toys are getting a bump to level 15 as well. Rejoice!
I just wish that somewhere amidst all of this new plastic there was a button that made me hop.