Familiar


Spyro 1

Basic, but still good. Worth a playthrough if you enjoy collectathons or 3D platformers in general.
Type Of Review: Familiar Run
Total Story Score: +9
Total Gameplay Score: +6
Golden Number: 42.14
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 9.29 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-23-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Intro: While short, the opening cinematic and initial interactions get you into the mood, tone, and vibe of the game instantly
  2. Humor: While not really a game filled with jokes, the overall light atmosphere really adds a humorous flavor to things
  3. Voice Acting: Generally good voice acting for all the various dragons
  4. Brickwork: Artisan’s World, the delightful fresh medieval greenery and lighting is quite well done
  5. Character: The individual characters of the dragons you rescue are one note, but still add some delightful flavor to things
  6. Brickwork: The Peace Keepers World continues the visual variety, keeping things fresh and popping
  7. Brickwork: Continued visual excellence in the Magic Crafter world
  8. Brickwork: Dream Weavers probably best overall personifies the fairy tale aspect of Spyro 1
  9. Animation: Clear effort was put into making the dragons distinctly animated
  10. Spritework: Enemy variety and character

Story Negatives:

  1. Outro: Even for a platformer, that ending was pretty lacking

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Guidance and Flow: The ability to use the dragonfly to guide you towards missing gems is a godsend in a game like this and frankly deserves…
  2. Guidance and Flow: …two positives
  3. Interface: The built-in interface showing you exactly what you’re missing per level (which also has a separate hotkey just for it) is similarly a great QoL feature and gets…
  4. Interface: …two positives
  5. Yoshi Drums: The dynamic music option is quite nice
  6. Music: Generally enjoyable music
  7. Intro: The Intro does everything it needs to to explain how to play the game without a tutorial box, but on top of that offers said tutorials in the form of (skippable) dragon dialogue, earning it two…
  8. Intro: …positives
  9. Level: Special mention to the Artisan levels in general for smooth flow and design and…
  10. Tutorialization: …good tutorialization
  11. Fast Travel: The fast travel system of being able to warp between worlds and levels more or less on the fly and at will is honestly really good…
  12. Fast Travel: …and earns two positives
  13. Level: The Peace Keepers world is where secrets start to get more interesting, and level flow starts to be more a part of the process…
  14. Level: …and overall generally interesting level design, enemy design, and layout
  15. Level: High Caves is probably the single best level to-date, really using the mechanics that have been established to this point and doing something with them
  16. Level: The Magic Crafters levels in general are pretty decent, though in some cases fall a bit flat of the earlier Peace Keepers one
  17. Level: Beast Makers isn’t quite as good as the previous levels but still has some fun platforming and decent secret design
  18. Control: The game, despite controller issues, does still play very fluidly and smoothly
  19. Level: Lofty Castle is one of the other better designed levels to-date, great flow and great secret usage and general fun of platforming
  20. Level: While shorter, there’s some sufficiently tight design in the Gnorc levels
  21. Level: The final level’s usage of no-height-loss gliding and layering access to higher shelves to access more of the level is actually quite clever

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Options: Lack of rebinding controls
  2. Level: Sunny Flight is a bit too tight and entirely too irritating to 100%
  3. Level: High Top… yeah no. I’ll only ding it once cuz most of it is ‘fine’, but the rest of it can go straight to hell
  4. Level: Haunted Towers has a precise secret… which is fine but the controls just don’t support that, which even that I might forgive if not for the massive red herring which is along the secret’s path
  5. Bug: Load times
  6. Bug: Framerate issues
  7. Boss: Generally lackluster boss design
  8. Enemy Design: Those damned thieves…
  9. QoL: …their damned laugh…
  10. Core Combat: …and the fact that you have to stop to attack them, during a car race
  11. Outro: Screw that outro. Screw it hard. It’s a chase followed by a chase followed by a chase followed by a chase (no exaggeration). It’s also very easy to screw up, is unclear in what you should do, and, very much worst of all, absolutely no mid mission checkpoints. I’d be willing to make this a one negative situation if not for that lack of checkpointing, but having to do the two thieves again every single screw up is absolutely ridiculous…
  12. Outro: …earning it…
  13. Outro: …three negatives
  14. Level: The final level’s total lack of checkpoints drags it down a fair bit (oh and the damned thieves)
  15. Camera: Unfortunately I do have to ding the camera, as it just gets in the way as it almost always does. Not as bad as most games, but it’s still there

Spyro 2

So, worth a playthrough, but honestly while it tried a lot of new things, it also failed at a lot of new things. Be warned, 100%ing this one is a lot less pleasant than 1.
Type Of Review: Familiar Run
Total Story Score: +3
Total Gameplay Score: 0
Golden Number: 7.90
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 3 Days // 12.08 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-25-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Internal Continuity: Each world does a weirdly good, if small, job of keeping itself relatively consistent with its own recurring issues and contestants
  2. Animation: As with before, good animation on the characters
  3. Storytelling Mechanics: The little intro and outro tidbits are at least occasionally amusing
  4. Brickwork: A general brickwork positive for the Summer and Autumn worlds combined
  5. Voice Acting: As with before, it’s pretty decent
  6. Character: The ‘main’ characters are weirdly weak, but the NPCs across the worlds have enough flavor and fun to them to qualify

Story Negatives:

  1. Character: Hunter is… just irritating
  2. Atmosphere: Kid’s show mentality. It’s all over the place and it honestly takes away from the narrative
  3. Cutscenes: Related to the kid’s show thing earlier… I honestly want to ding every cutscene in the game, but we’ll be nice and simply call them all bad

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Guidance and Flow: The ability to use the dragonfly to guide you towards missing gems is a godsend in a game like this and frankly deserves…
  2. Guidance and Flow: …two positives
  3. Interface: The built-in interface showing you exactly what you’re missing per level (which also has a separate hotkey just for it) is similarly a great QoL feature and gets…
  4. Interface: …two positives
  5. Yoshi Drums: The dynamic music option is quite nice
  6. Level: A general aggregate double positive for the Summer Forest worlds…
  7. Level: …for there is some good stuff spread throughout
  8. Level: A general aggregate for the X worlds
  9. Fast Travel: The fast travel system of being able to warp between worlds and levels more or less on the fly and at will is honestly really good…
  10. Fast Travel: …and earns two positives
  11. Control: Issues aside, the game continues to play quite smoothly
  12. Intro: Overall a decent enough Intro to qualify for a positive
  13. Levels: A general aggregate positive for the Autumn Plains worlds. They’re not terrible, but they’re noticeably lacking compared to Spyro 1 levels and earlier stages thanks to irritations in backtracking and a lack of cohesive flow or design to them, plus they feel entirely too cloistered
  14. Levels: So then there’s the Winter Tundra levels. There’s some creative ideas here (Metropolis, Canyon Speedway) but then there’s… other issues

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Options: Lack of rebinding controls
  2. Camera: Camera continues to have the same issues as before
  3. Minigame: The ice hockey minigame is sluggish, you can’t jump, there’s no sprint, the controls suck, and there’s too much randomness built into it
  4. Minigames: A bonus aggregate negative for all the irritating minigames in the Summer Forest World
  5. Minigame: TrOuBlE wItH tHe TrOlLeY, eH? But seriously screw this minigame. It’s janky to begin with thanks to being 3D forced crudely into 2D…
  6. Mid-Mission Checkpoint: …but also the total lack of mid mission checkpoints and the actual mockery each time you fail (which you can’t skip) drives into double territory
  7. Minigames: The Autumn Plains minigames are a mixed bag but mostly can suck a lemon
  8. Backtracking: The game’s insistence upon being incapable of finishing a world the first time you go in sucks on several levels. Backtracking is a small issue, really (thanks to the fast travel), but the fact that you can’t be sure if you’ve finished a level or if you have to solve a puzzle is aggravating at best
  9. Level: Okay so Fracture Hills has the worst escort in the game. He’s slow, the enemies are easy to miss, they have tons of range and perfect tracking, if they hit him at all it’s a total failure, he takes a long and winding route, and the whole thing mega sucks…
  10. Level: …earning it two negatives
  11. Backtracking: What pushes it up to technically three negatives is the fact that you get access to this before you have access to the power up required for the second part of the quest. This means if you do this when you’re here (and NOTHING indicates you shouldn’t) you’ll have to do the escort again later just to do the final step
  12. Level: The Winter Tundra world levels have several irritating or frustrating segments and, honestly, feel a bit rushed… but if I had to earn this negative, it’d go to the high-speed blind-run segment of Robotica Farms
  13. Outro: Bad camera, RNG on Hunter, frustrating controls, irritating tendencies to screw you over thanks to collision or placement…
  14. Outro: …leading to two negatives

Spyro 3

A very good game surrounded by a total lack of polish. Still absolutely worth a playthrough and arguably the best of the original trilogy.
Type Of Review: Familiar Run
Total Story Score: +8
Total Gameplay Score: +8
Golden Number: 44.43
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 3 Days // 16.95 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-29-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Character: Sparx’s unique voice acting is the most adorable thing in the whole game
  2. Humor: Holy crap, the game got an actual laugh out of me with the Sgt. Bird cutscene
  3. Character: Bianca is… just so adorable. She has so, so little of an idea of how to be evil, and she’s trying so hard
  4. Cutscenes: So this is technically an aggregate for all the times they beat the crap out of Moneybags
  5. Character: Speaking of which, Moneybags is substantially better and more interesting this time around
  6. Brickwork: So the brickwork is similar to 2’s, but still generally decent
  7. Animations: The animations in cutscenes are quite good
  8. Spritework: Despite some issues, the spritework is still good
  9. Voice Acting: And similarly, voice acting

Story Negatives:

  1. Animations: The ‘canned’ dragon baby animations are far too few for how many you have to get (nevermind 100%ing)… compare and contrast the completely unique dragon animations in the remake of 1

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Guidance and Flow: The ability to use the dragonfly to guide you towards missing gems is a godsend in a game like this and frankly deserves…
  2. Guidance and Flow: …two positives
  3. Interface: The built-in interface showing you exactly what you’re missing per level (which also has a separate hotkey just for it) is similarly a great QoL feature and gets…
  4. Interface: …two positives
  5. Yoshi Drums: The dynamic music option is quite nice
  6. Fast Travel: The fast travel system of being able to warp between worlds and levels more or less on the fly and at will is honestly really good…
  7. Fast Travel: …and earns two positives
  8. Level: Sunny Villa is a surprisingly well designed level; good indicators, good draws, good flow, good exploration
  9. Level: This is further emphasized over in Sheila’s Alp where we get to play as the aforementioned Sheila and the additional control precision and verticality are well utilized
  10. Kit: Sheila herself plays quite well, and is a good contrast to Spyro himself; Being primarily slower and higher than his low speed approach
  11. Kit: Then there’s the sarge, who controls deceptively well, with good and intuitive movement and more rapid horizontal reach than you’d think at first glance
  12. Level: General level positive for the rest of Sunrise Spring World
  13. Level: Sgt. Byrd’s Base is another good example of good level design, appropriate for the newcomer, and is a good way to introduce his concepts while still keeping the flow of the game moving smoothly
  14. Level: The Icy Peak and Enchanted Towers levels both have issues and frustrations, but overall still some good design
  15. Level: Spooky Swamp and Bamboo Terrace have some decent overall design
  16. Level: Bentley’s Outpost is simple, but very fun for what it is
  17. Level: The Fireworks Factory is honestly one of the better laid out and designed levels… with one big exception
  18. Level: Charmed Ridge and Dino Mines continue to have good level design
  19. Level: Crystal Islands, irritation aside, is still good stuff
  20. Level: A final general positive for some of the more unique and interesting levels (the Sparx levels, some individual challenges, etc.)
  21. Controls: With some notable exceptions, game continues to control well
  22. Intro: Usual decent Intro
  23. Hub: For the first time I actually like the hub worlds, and so grant them all a positive

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Level: The Country Speedway race is total bullcrap. Between inconsistent hitboxes, rockets that straight up rely on RNG to even hit (and occasionally do nothing), and being entirely overtuned, the whole thing is just frustration central…
  2. Level: …earning two negatives
  3. Minigame: Escorting the fireflies can suck a lemon. There’s no clear indicator of their pathing, there’s a total logic disconnect in the entire concept which just pisses you off after a bit, but the worst part and the reason this can go straight to hell is you have to stomp on the mushrooms… but the mushrooms have inconsistent collision boxes which makes you have to literally jump differently to get on top of them, and a mushroom pops back up after a period of time, during which they can’t be re-flattened, meaning you have to time it properly for the double back sections, on top of the delay before being able to stomp again…
  4. Minigame: …earning it a full…
  5. Minigame: …three negatives
  6. Level: Lost Fleet is disorienting, badly visually distinguished, has disorienting flow, and has the ‘one way’ problem in design too much
  7. Minigame: The boxing minigame on the snow level is really just honestly bad. It’s just rock paper scissors, but with inconsistent timing, bad frame windows, and AWFUL controls
  8. Level: Harbor Speedway isn’t as bad as Country, but it has the same general issues
  9. Boss: The double dragons in Fireworks Factory can go burn
  10. Minigame: I’m going to give another generic minigame negative almost entirely for the controls. So many of these minigames either have awful controls, or they’re inverted or reverse of what they are in ‘normal’ play, and there is no fixing or rebinding this
  11. Options: Lack of rebinding controls
  12. Visual Distinction: Similar to 2, the remake of 3 honestly gets color and visual distinction… wrong. It’s actually hard to tell what you’re looking at in many cases
  13. Minigame: The final final race is the same usual overtuned RNG garbage…
  14. Bugs: …but what really makes it awful is the fact that the race track is REALLY buggy. Like, I can’t describe the sheer quantity of bugs here but there are so, so many and they’re just on this one level…
  15. Bugs: …so badly so I’m willing to bake all other bugs and this into two negatives