Release Date: September 3rd, 2019 (Nintendo Switch)
Developer: Toys For Bob
ESRB: Everyone 10+ (Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief)
In one of the most unsurprising announcements, Activison revealed during E3 this year that the Spyro Reignited Trilogy was being ported to the Nintendo Switch. Roughly ten months after the remastered trilogy was originally released, this port is finally blasting onto the hybrid console! For this remaster, Toys For Bob was the lead developer and chose to work hand-in-hand with the original developer, Insomniac Games (in contrast to Vicarious Visions working alone on their Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy remaster). The original release of Spyro Reignited Trilogy was spectacular (as we gave it a 9.5/10), but what about this port? Was Toys For Bob able to repeat Vicarious Visions’ magic and breathe fire into a second great port to the Nintendo Switch? Let’s soar into the review!
While the original release of the remaster was highly rated by us, there was no guarantee the Nintendo Switch port would hold up. Luckily, the nostalgia factor and high game quality is still ever-present and buoys the port to high peaks, even before considering the graphics. With that said, there are still some issues that distract from the overall package. While the game looks graphically identical to the initial release when docked, which was a pure highlight, the character models take a hit in handheld mode. Most noticeably, there are visible outlined cells in the models, which can be really off-putting for some players. On a positive note, the option to turn on a map is still available and is sized properly for the small screen in handheld mode, which really helps players figure out where to go next in bigger, more complex areas. Having the map is a huge plus, as the quest to find all the collectables is a serious motivator for those players who are completionists.
While the graphics were a distraction in handheld mode, the biggest disappointment is that due to the Nintendo Switch’s infrastructure, the added achievements from the initial release are removed. This leaves some difficulty and replayability to be desired, unless the player is a completionist. With that said, the games are not simple all the way through and have very drastic difficulty spikes that players new to the trilogy may not be expecting. To counterbalance this, most of the bosses in each home world are fairly easy and do not provide much of a challenge. This does end up being a bit of a disappointment, as the early game can seem boring with easy levels and bosses. Thankfully, the second and third games in the trilogy add more flair to each level to fix this issue.
Moving on to gameplay: for newcomers to the series, the controls are easy to pick up. The player controls Spyro, the titular character. He is a small, purple dragon who embarks on several adventures including saving his fellow dragons from imprisonment and rescuing a clutch of dragon eggs from a thief. Spyro can use a fire attack or a charge attack on enemies, with the latter also being a way to run faster and quickly traverse levels. He can also jump and glide, but the gliding can cause frustration to the player when trying to land somewhere that is a bit far away. This is especially true for puzzle sections that involve getting to an area where something important is tucked away. However, the biggest issue is that Spyro’s movements feels stiff, with a bit of input lag. Oftentimes, Spyro seemingly looks like he is trying to catch his tail while trying to charge into enemies to kill them. Having not played much of the original games, I cannot say if this was an issue back then, but it does take away from an experience that, for the most part, is fantastic. The last issue is the fact that the loading times seem exceedingly long, and is a recurring issue between the two releases. Once the game loads, though, there is a ton of fun to be had for players of all ages.
It says a lot that the two studios, Toys For Bob and Vicarious Visions, most tied to the awful toys-to-life Spyro spinoff that is the Skylanders franchise, are the ones to release these wonderful remakes. Toys For Bob, especially, seems to have gotten the spirit of the original trilogy and could bring the franchise into the hearts of a whole new generation moving forward, if Spyro Reignited Trilogy is any indication. Even with some graphical issues and the exclusion of achievements, this is yet another spectacular port of a remastered trilogy that gamers young and old should pick up and play if they are looking for some fun platforming. It also just feels right playing this sort of game on a handheld, which we get to do now that Spyro is on the Nintendo Switch. (Ryan Williford; Gaming Editor)
Review copy provided by Activision.