There are a handful of icons that old farts like me remember from when they had their first console.
The era of Crash, Tekken, and Spyro is one of glorious chunky goodness, so I was pretty eager to grab the PS Classics when they came out… except I forgot. Then came the Spyro Reignited Trilogy that like the Crash trilogy was the exact same game but looking like a 2019 game, and I was so damn in. Now it is on Switch, and I am in again.
The Spyro Reignited Trilogy consists of the three games: Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, which are the originals from the PlayStation era. They epitomise the mascot platformers of their time with a simple style, a charming cute protagonist, and a kid friendly plot that for older games gives them a reason to enjoy the fun platforming on offer. Not every game has to be about the world ending or gritty shooting, and some people like myself have been itching for cute fun charming platforming for a while with only a handful of recent releases.
The story kicks off in Spyro the Dragon, where Gnasty Gnorc is watching TV when he sees dragons insult him. He sends off a magic spell which turns all the adult dragons to Crystal statues, so the young Spyro heads off to free them all from the imprisonment.
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! visits Spyro again as he decides to go on vacation. He goes through a portal headed for the tropical holiday but instead winds up in Avalar where a frantic team says they accidentally summoned the angry warlock Ripto. So Spyros mission to beat him and his minions begins. Spyro: Year of the Dragon starts with Bianca, a hooded rabbit, who steals the dragon’s eggs for a sorceress, and Spyro comes to save the day again.
Those are some light summaries of the plots of the games because A: there are three of them which I could fill the whole review covering that alone, and B: you need to know the vibe of the game. If you have played these before then you know what you are in for with the plot, as it is the same as the original games. If you haven’t then they are cute and charming stories that give you a reason to run around Levels as Spyro lighting up the bad guys while saving the day. It is as true now as it was back then, this trilogy couldn’t be more family friendly if it was Easter Bunny Simulator 2019.
All the games are based around a hub world that Spyro can explore, opening portals to each of the Levels. This is something I disliked in the original games, but now I am less annoyed by it as I have become older. Jumping into Levels you generally explore by platforming, gliding with Spyro’s young wings, and blasting fire to dispatch enemies. He can also head charge but thanks to the camera being closer to Spyro than the original, this attack is a little more annoying than it used to be.
This isn’t the only thing that doesn’t sit quite right, the other thing is the special Levels that mascot platformers of the error became famous for, was their side games. The most notable is the skateboarding, which is so 90s and a fun throwback to the era, but my lord it couldn’t feel worse to play on a timer if it tried. When not on a timer it feels silly and charming, when on the timer it gets game breakingly frustrating.
The reality is these are to be expected with a faithful rebuild of a 90s game, which is what these games are; minor tweaks with a graphical and musical overhaul, so it is the game you remember playing. That graphical overhaul, like again the Crash trilogy, which was released two years ago, is fantastic. The game looks like a beautifully crafted animated film, which when even moved to the Switch, is outstanding. Toys for Bob have proven how amazing a surprisingly detailed game can run on this machine, even when it wasn’t built up for the Switch.
As with any port to the Switch, you are buying the lesser version of the games thanks to sacrifices having to be made.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is one of the cases for that sacrifice, but being small. On handheld and the big screen, the game looks fantastic and runs as well as I could have hoped for, which given the added portability I can’t recommend this enough to newcomers or returners to the iconic series.
Released: September 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Toys for Bob