Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure Could Be The Most Expensive Game You Ever Buy

While at least two of us at Kotaku enjoy Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure enough to recommend a purchase, that doesn't mean we're oblivious to the costly downsides to a game that sells its downloadable content on toy store shelves.

To experience everything Skylanders has to offer as of this writing would cost roughly $US225.

Merging physical toys with an interactive video game, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure opens up parents and children to a new way to play, but it also opens up parents to a new way to pay for their child's interactive entertainment.

First they must invest in the game itself, which will run them $US69.99 on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, or 3DS (the PC / Mac version is $US59.99). With the three included characters, players have access to a good chunk of the game's content and are able to play through to the game's end without worrying about purchasing anything extra.

But the game really makes you want that something extra.

Take the video above. As you play through the console game you're constantly unlocking special powers for characters you don't own yet. The game lets you know which power is for what character, and then shows you a preview of that character in action specifically tailored to making young children scream at their parents until they own one.

That mechanic doesn't specifically lock content away from the player, but others do.

For instance, each level in the game features doors that can only be opened by Skylanders of a specific element. The game comes with three. There are eight elements. Behind those doors lie short obstacle courses containing in-game prizes (power augmenting hats) that can't be completely accessed unless you own a toy of each eight elements. With characters running $US7.99 a piece, that brings the total up to $US109.

But wait, there's more!

Each Skylander unlocks its own heroic challenge in the game. Completing these challenges grants permanent stat and power buffs to whichever Skylander undergoes the trial, so in order to get the most power out of your characters, you'll need all of them. Since only 12 additional characters are currently available, the total rises to $US165, and that's before wave two even hits.

For the sake of completion, let's add in the two adventure packs currently available, each of which add extra game levels and another character each, as well as the Toys"R"Us exclusive Legendary pack, containing three recolored versions of existing toys, including Spyro himself. That's another $US60, bringing the grand total to $US225.

Again, not counting the next wave of toys, another dozen or so at $US7.99 apiece, tacking on an additional $US95.

So to get the total Skylanders experience you're going to be paying at least $US320, and I'd argue that you'd need to play both console and 3DS versions (the 3DS comes with an exclusive Dark Spyro figure), since the 3DS version is a completely different game that uses the same figures.

No matter how you do the maths it adds up to a lot of money, possibly more money than you've ever spent on a single video game, outside of the pricier Rock Band or Guitar Hero bundles.

On one hand, I can see how that might make someone upset with Activision. They're trying to take our money, after all. Well that's what big companies do. Activision has just found a brand new way to do it. It seems to be working, too; the Toys"R"Us I went to on Sunday told me they sold through nearly an entire storeroom filled with Skylanders product.

At the end of the day I'm having fun, I'd like to think my kids are (or one day will be) having fun watching me play, and no other game's downloadable content has left me with a horde of colourful, well-made statuettes lining my entertainment centre. If that sounds ridiculous to you, then you're probably not the audience Acti is looking for.


Comments

    Its no where near the amount you have to spend on some Free To Play games to get the most out of it.

    My wife and I have been playing this for the last week and we have to say its been heaps of fun. Thinking about kids from a soon to be parents perspective I don't find the cost that bad. I can see this being the kind of title that I wish was the model for DLC from the start. If my child wants a new game I would have to fork out $100 for a new title. Where as with this model they can play the same game again, get a new experiance with a new character, continueing to unlock new content and it only costs $15. Its better than a new skin as the characters play differantly, and lasts longer as it encourages the kids to play all the ocntent again.

    Sorry, what's this about "more money than ever before"? WoW costs $180USD/year plus any expansions you don't own yet.

    Additionally, I think Skylanders is an amazing idea, but I don't see it taking off in Aus due to the thinness of Toys'R'Us retailers.

      I went to Big W this past weekend and the shelf right as you walk in was filled with Skylanders stuff.

      It's also been prominent in catalogues.

      Harvey Normans have a few prominent displays as well with several of the 3 character boxes, and Game have a lot of the single character boxes along with one of the adventure boxes that I've seen. Availability isn't a problem here depending on which toys you're after.

    So does the 3DS "exclusive" Dark Spyro work on the console versions?

      Answering my own question: Yes, but it seems to be just a recolour of Spyro - no different abilities, etc.

      New question: Do I grab the 3DS version since I'm likely to get the most hands on time with it, or do I buy a console version and try and find some time to play it, and then which console version...

      So many questions.

    Mawt - Sure does, but unlike the 3DS SKU, he doesn't have any unique abilities in the console version.

    You only really need 1 of each element so about $100 more unless you plan to catch'em all.

    Railworks DLC says hi http://store.steampowered.com/app/24010/

    There's an arcade game I played in Hong Kong like it. You got Gundam in a gachapon machine, and you used them in the arcade game. It was awesome. I would prefer it Spyro were more like that, but really, I just hope a similar method is applied to other games later. It looks like fun :D

      Not to mention the sheer number of Data Carddass series in Japan that have arcade rigs, eg. Kamen Rider Battle: Ganbaride.

    Ouch. I think the most I ever paid for a game was $130 for a Japanese import of SF2 Turbo, plus another $30 for the import adapter. As a teenager with no income it was like forking out a deposit on a house at the time, but damn it was worth it!

    I've been skeptical but after seeing it in motion at EBExpo I'm kinda intrigued. Having once dabbled in Warhammer Fantasy/40K I'm no stranger to spending a lot of money on models but those I can paint and pose any way I want and play a different game each time.

    My biggest question is, what's beyond the end of the game other than XPacks? Can you duel like Pokemon? Are there procedurally generated maps to play?

    Maybe I'll wait for someone to hack the portal device (Not that one) to allow you to play your character in custom games.

    Yep I'm eyeing this off for Xmas for the kids and I do realise that this is Activisions latest go at getting plastic toys into people houses after the Tony Hawk boards failed and Guitar Hero died.

    this is a new page for Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure on facebook, check this out. thank you!
    http://www.facebook.com/DarkSpyro123

    does anyone knows where can i get those skylanders Spyro's Adventure Pack and figures? cos the starter pack only got 3 characters. but i dont know where to get other characters :(

    does anyone knows where can i get those skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Pack and figures in melbourne australia? cos the starter pack only got 3 characters. but i dont know where to get other characters :(

    pleaas follow and search "Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (Fans' strongpoint)"--COPY IT, on your facebook, you can join the club with SKYLANDERS, just try.

    There is news of a POKEMON version similar to skylanders.

    Now THAT is expensive. Here each skylanders toy is around $12 and you need to collect roughly 36 + Lengendaries.

    Look at pokemon statistics. over 700 pokemon to collect each priced at the same rough price of $12 a pop. Already you're looking at over $7000 dollars. and thats to collect the toys alone!

    much rather skylanders :)

    Has anyone come across a Silver Skylander Figure? Do they do any thing different from regular figures I notice one for sale on Ebay from my readings they appear to be very rare.

      the silver ones are fake they just spray painted them there frauds

    I don't play the game my self only my kids do and I don't find the price to bad for the most part as i now own 32 the sky lander figurines.. the way i look at it can you really put a price on your child's happiness but i hope they don't bring any more out or i will go broke.

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