It doesn’t feel like Spyro has been away and yet I’ve missed him. He has, of course, been the lead in the first Skylanders game, but that felt like a different Spyro from the one that came before, previously the star of his own well regarded trilogy of platform games, but now he’s back, properly.
Obviously, these are remasters of the previous games but with their shiny new paint and some tinkering under the hood by developer Toys for Bob, they feel like they belong on this generation of consoles, which is praise indeed for games that are knocking on a bit in the grand scheme of things.
The artwork and assets alone are worthy of praise. This is a set of 3 games that span a large universe with very distinct areas that all feel very different. I can only imagine that the artists working on the game put in some long hours to get this looking right. Side by side against the original games, Spyro’s new look is streamlined and colourful without betraying its origins. Gone are any sign of polygons jutting from all angles and in its place are cartoon-quality graphics that make the characters and worlds a joy to behold.
The gameplay is only slightly tweeked from the originals, which shows just how solid Insomniac’s games were to begin with. What’s more impressive is that Toys For Bob have pretty much had to recode this from scratch but still managed to make it authentic. There are some quality of life changes here, the camera being one. Where it was static before, now it’s controlled with the analogue stick and this makes a huge difference. There’s also a book that collects your progress so far and this is new to the game but helps with ensuring you keep a track of your progress on a level without resorting to pen and paper.
Script-wise, some of the jokes and story fall a little flat but generally it’s an enjoyable Saturday-morning-cartoon style experience. The first game’s story is the clunkiest but still manages enough charm to carry the whole thing off well.
The joy of solving a platform puzzle or being able to hop off a platform and sour to the next is still as good today as it was on PS1, the trilogy improves the controls and ideas with each release, too, so playing through them in order makes it obvious where the original developers have learned what worked and what needed changing. The enjoyment is only slightly marred by long loading times that are far too long for comfort. It may be because some of the hub worlds are pretty large and the new assets take up a lot of memory but, for whatever reason, you’re going to have to put up with some pretty long loading times while twiddling your thumbs.
Overall, though, Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a joy to play for anyone who played the originals and those new to the series. It can sit proudly alongside any modern platformer without showing its age thanks to the wonderful new visuals and the solid gameplay of the original games.