Spyro the Dragon: Reignited
Believe it or not, I didn’t play Spyro the Dragon games as a kid. I grew up in a Nintendo household, and never had the right console to grow attached to this little purple dragon.
But now I’m in my 20s, Spyro is on the Switch, and every single one of you probably saw this coming. I love dragons. I love video games. And smashing the two together and handing it to me for Christmas?
This is a game tailored exactly to my interests, which means putting it down long enough to write this post was a challenge in its own right! Yes, it’s that worth playing. But I can get a little more descriptive, no worries! See for yourself what makes the first entry in the Reignited Trilogy worth playing!
We’re talking about a visual treat.
I may not have played the original games, but I have Googled them, and oh boy. Comparing graphics from the 1990s to current graphics is a doozy! But it also drives home just how lovely it is on the eyes to play Spyro the Dragon. The colors are bright and lively, the animation fluid, and the shapes so much cleaner. There’s charm to older games and their blocky polygons, but the difference between then and now speaks so much to graphic improvements in the industry.
And even without knowing how the originals looked, the designs are still great! Each dragon you rescue is brimming with character in their designs, and each world you visit is equally distinct. If you don’t believe me, look up a playthrough on YouTube, like this one from GameRiot. It’s a small taste of what’s available, but showcases how charming the game is from the very start.
More importantly, it shows how stinking CUTE Spyro is. Look at him run and glide! Look at this little itty bitty dragon go!
We’re also talking a refreshing amount of simplicity.
When you’re playing Spyro the Dragon, you don’t have to ask yourself over and over again, “Oh no, I forgot where I was at, what do I do now?” Set up in a way that walks you through level by level, with ways to check your progress in the form of a percentage, the game makes it difficult to get truly lost. Missing gems in a level? On the Switch, you can press in on the joystick, and Sparx the Dragonfly will point in the direction of those gems for you! Not enough eggs to travel to the next world, or missing some dragons you should have freed? The pause menu has percent complete stats visible for each level, and tells you how many eggs and dragons you’ve already rescued (or left behind).
That’s not to say the game holds your hand through every aspect. Some levels are rather tricky, trying to figure out how to reach those last few gems on that out-of-reach platform (I’m looking at you, Tree Tops). Other times, the achievements can be a little tough to complete, forcing you to do somewhat unusual things to check them off the list. But when the core mechanics of the game are straightforward, and there’s a few opportunities for you to go off the beaten path otherwise, I think that’s solid design!
You did read that right: there’s an achievements system!
Can I ever fail to mention an achievements system? My brain loves the feeling of checking off little boxes one by one, and the achievements in Spyro the Dragon do just that. Few of them are truly outrageously difficult, but they require some effort and observation to complete. Most of them can’t be accomplished by accident.
Additionally, there aren’t hidden achievements. There’s no guessing if you did it right, or if that vaguely suspicious part of the environment might grant you something sweet when you interact in a highly specific way. In the pause menu, the achievements are laid out plainly. There’s no step by step guide to crossing them off your list, but you don’t have to wonder which world you’ll encounter that secret painting in, or what the achievement for the fight against Metalhead is supposed to be.
The only downside for me is Gnasty Gnorc.
I wish I could hate Gnasty Gnorc because he’s the villain. Instead, I hate him because the final segment of his boss fight is THE WORST.Anyone who can get past those lava platforms has my respect and also $10 if they wanna get the perfect achievement for that level on my behalf. Seriously. Please beat him for me before I tear my hair out. He’s an otherwise hands-off villain, and you fight his minions along the way, but this? This fight has me steamed.
Of course, his fight is mostly him running away and me forced to keep up. While executing every charge and jump with painfully near-impossible precision. And since I prefer a straightforward fight where there’s not a single way to beat the boss, no exceptions… Well, it’s no surprise I don’t really care for the final boss.
But I won’t let one boss fight ruin it for me.
I’ve had so much fun with the rest of this game. It’s charming and bright, and doesn’t frustrate me very much (Gnasty Gnorc aside). Since I play video games to relax and ease away from the things stressing me out, it’s perfect!
On top of that, folks who grew up playing Spyro games have told me that the next two games are even better, and I’ll probably enjoy them more. That gives me all the incentive I need to keep playing!
Well, that, and the achievements system. I will beat the Gnasty Gnorc fight without taking damage. I will unlock the art gallery for completing all the achievements. I MUST 100% this game.
Check in next month or so to see if I can actually do it, though. And in the meantime, consider playing Spyro the Dragon for yourself! The official website has a small gallery, some fun behind the scenes social media tidbits, and a way to find out who’s selling the game on a console you prefer!
Have you played the Spyro games before? Are you as new to them as I am? Let’s chat about this good, good purple friend no matter your answer!