When you think about platforming icons, who comes to mind? Crash Bandicoot? Mario? Banjo-Kazooie? For a good number of people, there’s one purple dragon who flies high above the rest. Spyro the Dragon, that is.
Although once synonymous with the PlayStation brand, Spyro the Dragon is now on pretty much all consoles, the most recent being this Nintendo Switch port. In case you didn’t know, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a remaster of the first three Spyro the Dragon games.
Calling the games in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy remasters feels like a bit of a disservice, but calling it a remake isn’t exactly right either. We’re still in the weird middle ground where remastering a game can either mean just making it run at 1080p or completely sprucing everything up like developer Toys for Bob has done here. That is to say, that this is an extremely high-quality remaster of the original three Spyro games.
If you haven’t played any of the Spyro games before the general gameplay loop has you going into different levels and trying to collect various items, which comes from solving the problems that you face in each area. You’ll often find yourself completing tasks in order to get the items you need, but each level has multiple different things to work through.
Platforming and movement play a big part of it, whilst combat takes a back seat. Spyro gains different abilities throughout the games that help him get around easier, but his two most famous are his charge and flame breath. The charge in particular really changes how Spyro controls and is absolutely one of the best aspects of the game.
The games in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy don’t really control or play like any other thanks to their open levels and unique abilities. Although the first game – Spyro the Dragon – doesn’t have too much variation thanks to it starting the series, the second and third games – Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon – both add a lot of different features even in between levels. The general gameplay loop is really good enough on its own, which is why the first game is actually my favourite.
All of the content from the originals has been kept the same, but how some of it is presented is a little different. Things like dynamic audio tracks and having Tom Kenny voice Spyro in all three games help to make this collection feel substantial. There are also a few little gameplay adjustments, such as having Spyro perform a little hop when he’s just about close enough to landing on a platform.
To put it quite simply, all three Spyro games are fantastic and have aged surprisingly well. However, revisiting these games all at once has shown how different they really are from one another. The purple dragon’s first outing is very simplistic and focused on its platforming, whilst the second game has a bigger focus on expanding what Spyro can actually do in his environment and giving him more to do in each level. The third game is perhaps the most different of all, introducing a few new playable characters and adding the skateboarding mini-game.
With the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, everything you loved about the originals is back and even better, but that also means everything that was wrong is mostly back too – although with a few exceptions such as improving how some of the new characters play in Ripto’s Rage. There are still some really annoying missions here and there, but these are generally few and far between.
For those worried about how the graphics and performance may have been affected by being ported to the Switch, worry not. Toys for Bob has done a fantastic job of giving Switch players pretty much the exact same experience as those on console, with only a reduction in graphical fidelity and some occasional performance issues. For any Nintendo Switch-dedicated player, this isn’t really a surprise as this is the case with pretty much all ports to the portable home console, but it’s pretty impressive to see how well the Spyro Reignited Trilogy holds up.
If you’ve not experienced the purple dragon’s adventures before, then playing them in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is absolutely the best way no matter what console you choose. Thankfully, those looking at the Switch port will be happy to know that they’ll be getting the same great experience as everyone else.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Activision