While the little Dodo in our logo is undoubtedly a cool customer, the best Spyro games prove that a certain dragon takes the title of the ‘worlds most popular purple person’.
If that isn’t a real thing, then it should be…
Spyro is one of the most famous video game characters of all time. Cutesy but daring, this little dragon is loved by men, women, and children of all ages. He’s an instantly recognisable character and one of Sony’s most loved heroes.
In the early days, Spyro remained confined to the PS1. Along with Crash Bandicoot and Lara Croft, he is synonymous with the console and often features in lists of the best PS1 games.
Since then, however, Spyro has spread his wings. He now appears on multiple platforms including the GBA, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch!
With all those consoles to cater for and a whole host of titles under his belt (if he wore one, that is), picking the best Spyro games is no easy task. We’ve got our own favourites, but Spyro’s fans are so loyal that the general consensus as to which are the best is a sore topic.
We’re not afraid of a challenge, however. We’ve listed our 12 favourite titles below along with links for readers to bag the games along the way.
Complete your collection of the best Spyro games right here, right now, without a moments delay!
12. Spyro: Shadow Legacy (2005)
How about we kick things off with Spyro: Shadow Legacy, an RPG Spyro title and the first to bring RPG features into the canon.
Using training and lessons imparted by the dragon elders, Spyro must complete quests and save his friends from the Shadow realm.
So what about these RPG features?
Well, players have to gain experience points by completing missions and battling enemies. When they get enough points, they get to level up and learn new skills.
Spyro has to harness flame breath, ice breath, magic, and chi in order to save the day.
And, in a Witcher-style magic fest, players draw symbols on the DS touchpad to cast spells. How cool is that!
11. Spyro: Season Of Ice (2001)
Spyro: Season of Ice takes the Number 11 slot in this list of the best Spyro games. You may have read about it in our list of the best Gameboy Advance games, and it’s one of those titles that’s so hard to put down.
Alternate timelines run through the Spyro games. Season of Ice starts a new time branch after the first three original titles with Spyro 2: Season of Flame and Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs following.
So what happens in Season of Ice? Well, Spyro and Sparx take a well-earned vacation that unfortunately ends up being interrupted. It turns out that Grendor has messed around with a magic spell book and turned himself into a two-headed Rhynoc.
What a headache!
Spyro must traverse different levels in this 2.5D top-down title, rescuing fairies and collecting jewels along the way.
This game has a strong feel of Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge about it and received pretty good reviews across the board. I like the colourful characters and levels in Season of Ice, though in truth, I like the second and third offerings in the GBA series a whole lot more!
10. Spyro: A Hero’s Tail (2004)
Spyro: A Hero’s Tail was the first Spyro game to make it onto the Xbox, though I remember it most fondly on the PS2.
Hunter the Cheetah and the gang return to help Spyro track down and defeat Red, a banished dragon elder. I liked the touch of having a dragon as the antagonist in this game, though Red isn’t the most original name for a red dragon… maybe ‘Scorcher’ or ‘Flame Face’ might have been better!
Spyro fans undoubtedly know how important gem collecting is in the original games. In A Hero’s tail, however, it’s less of a necessity. Gems now act as currency like the rupees in Zelda and aren’t integral to the level progression format.
I also liked the Professor’s return in this game and his ability to assist Spyro. It reminded me of Bottles the Mole and Mumbo Jumbo in Banjo-Kazooie.
One thing I will say is that it’s very much like the original Spyro game bar the minor differences listed above, which is why I’ve ranked it at 9 rather than further down the list.
It’s a great game, but it’s not special. It’s a reskin of an old formula, but it’s a formula that’s hard not to love.
9. The Legend Of Spyro: The Eternal Night (2007)
The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night takes the 9th spot in this list of the best Spyro games.
This title deserves a spot in out list for Elijah Wood and Gary Oldman’s voice acting alone! Frodo Baggins as Spyro; what more could a person want!
The Legend of Spyro series spans the GBA, DS, Wii, and PS2. I had this game for the Wii and it blew my mind.
The one thing that Spyro always lacked was tricky puzzles to solve. Everything always felt so ‘get from A to B without dying’.
In the Legend series, exploration and puzzle-solving play a key feature. It’s as though Spyro tuned into a Zelda game-making session and decided to implement some of the key features in his own titles.
Instead of just wielding fire, our purple powerhouse (Spyro, not the GBA) learns multiple different ‘breaths’ throughout the game. Breath electric, ice, fire, and earth, or unleash powerful spells using your dragon magic.
The graphics look slick compared to the original PS1 offerings, and I’m a big fan of the new slowing down time feature. All in all, a typical Spyro game with enough new features to keep gamers hooked.
8. Spyro: Attack Of The Rhynocs (2003)
Spyro: Attack of the Rhynocs is one of those GBA games that gets a bit of a pounding, but I love it. It’s got a nice RPG feel to it along with some cool inventions that make for a compelling storyline.
Oh, and an out of control robotic bear called Butler.
Gameplay is very similar to Season of Ice and Season of Flame, though the level design gives it that slight edge over the first offering in the trio.
Ripto and the Professor return for this title, both playing an integral part in the plot. Expect holes in the space-time-continuium, warping, a posh chateau, lava, and much more.
People didn’t enjoy the RPG collecting elements in this game, but I felt it added a new dimension to the formula. Without it, Attack of the Rhynocs would have been the same game as the previous two, and what would have been the point in buying it then?
No, I stick by my decision. This game deserves a place in our list of the best Spyro games purely because it’s different and inventive while still feeling familiar!
7. The Legend Of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (2008)
The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon takes the 7th spot in our list of the best Spyro games of all time. It marks the 10th anniversary of the series and brings some cool new features to the table.
Dawn of the Dragon is the final instalment in The Legend of Spyro series, and Spyro is beginning to look all grown up. He’s even brought a lady-friend along for the ride this time!
Players can control either Spyro or Cynder, the enemy love-interest Spyro turned good after freeing from her master.
If that doesn’t make for an ‘it’s complicated’ relationship status on Facebook, then I don’t know what does!
In Dawn of the Dragon, players can free fly at any time, rather than having to do those annoying flying levels that were super difficult in the first game. The game levels are much bigger, so free-flying is a great way of exploring all the different areas.
Speaking of the levels, just check out how good they look in the screenshot above. The graphics in this game are stunning, and twinned with Elijah’s great voice-acting and the return of Spyro’s new breath abilities, it makes for one exciting game.
With the well-thought-out co-op mode and and stunning scenery, this game is a must have for Spyro fans and newcomers to the many Spyro continuities.
6. Spyro 2: Season of Flame (2002)
Spyro 2: Season of Flame takes the 6th spot in our list of the best Spyro games! I know Spyro is an iconic PS1 character, but some of his best adventures have been on the GBA.
This sequel to ‘Season of Ice’ and second in the GBA series is our favourite portable Spyro title without a shadow of a doubt. Rescuing the Dragon Kingdom’s fireflies is a tough job, but someones gotta do it!
The Dragons of Dragon Island never told us that fireflies are what gives them fire-breathing abilities. Without fireflies kicking around, they just look like posh geckos with a grudge,
Once again, everyone’s joint favourite dragon (I’m a big fan of Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon too, you know!) must save the day.
Ok, so the camera angles are a little clumsy compared to the PS1 offerings, but it looks and plays like a classic GBA title, which is what we love.
Some gamers found the controls pretty difficult to get hold of, though I never really had any problems with it. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent most of my life playing handheld games instead of socially interacting with humans… who knows?
Give it a go and tell us how you get on!
5. The Legend Of Spyro: A New Beginning (2006)
The Legend Of Spyro: A New Beginning focuses more on combat than the previous Spyro games.
Rather than the usual platforming elements that have been a prevalent feature in the other Spyro games, A New Beginning boasts multiple fighting moves for taking down foes.
In fact, this game has a little bit of everything, including rail shooter style gameplay for you have a bash at.
At least you can’t say that Spyro doesn’t keep you on your toes… claws… you know what I mean.
As the first title in the Legends series, this game was always going to come under close scrutiny. Reinventing series is tough, but with Spyro’s new breath attacks including electric and earth alongside cool claw moves, Spyro is more kick-ass than ever.
Ok, so it’s a little short on the level front, but who care? It looks good, and it’s so fun to play that completing it half a dozen times is hardly a chore.
In fact, I think I might go and play a bit now before I carry on!
4. Spyro The Dragon (1998)
The very first Spyro the Dragon game was, and still is, a masterpiece.
Back in 1998, kids went crazy for Spyro. He was unlike anything we’d seen before; a talking, mythical beast capable of burning Gnasty Gnorcs minions to a crisp.
The original Spyro the Dragon game is a fine blend of simple gameplay mechanics with quirky characters and interesting worlds. As the first in the series, it set a precedent of what was to come.
Spyro and Sparx must travel across their homeland with the help of the Balloonist, freeing all the dragons Gnasty Gnorc has frozen. What’s more, ‘ol Gnorc-features has turned all the dragon’s jewels into bad-guys.
Time to knock him down a peg or two, I think!
Spyro rams, runs, breathes fire, and flies in this first game in the series. Elements of collecting and an inventory of special hidden items make this title super addictive to play.
Along with Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon provided competition for the N64. It looked good and played better, and while easier than games such as Banjo-Kazooie, it certainly won a lot of gamers over and secured the PS1’s place as one of the greatest consoles of all time.
3. Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage (1999)
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage followed the original Spyro the Dragon game, dropping a year later in 1999. Working with the same core basics as the first title, the second release of the original canon feels meatier and boasts more missions to complete.
The dragons from the original game take a well-earned rest for this one. Instead, new NPCs including fawns and robots set challenges for Spyro.
In homage to platformers such as Mario 64 and Banjo, Spyro now needs to find orbs in each level to progress to the next stage. As opposed to saving strategically placed dragons, orbs are found by completing certain tasks.
As before, Sparx takes the place of a health bar, albeit an interactive one. His colour drains when Spyro is running low on health, so keep an eye out for when he loses that sparkling sheen. Bottled butterflies act like the fairies in Ocarina of Time when Spyro needs a boost, meaning you no longer have to run around trying to find a sheep in your hour of need.
Spyro games boast an iconic style that is instantly recognisable. While the graphics didn’t change that much between the first two games, the inclusion of new characters and even more exciting features to sink our teeth into provided way more value for money.
Glide to secret locations, charge enemies into oblivion, and collect gems to spend for items. Yep, that’s a Spyro title alright!
2. Spyro: Year Of The Dragon (2000)
Spyro: Year of the Dragon takes the 2nd spot in this list of the best Spyro games of all time. After the success of the first two games, Insomniac could have produced any old rubbish and we would have bought it.
What they did make was an amazing game with better graphics, catchier music, and even more exciting features to try out.
Minigames made an appearance in Year of the Dragon, adding yet another thing for us all to lose our minds over. As a ten year old, I soaked up this game like a hairy sponge and loved the new textures in the levels as well as the introduction of new playable characters.
Sheila the Kangaroo and Sergeant Byrd gave players the chance to complete sections of levels as another character entirely. Imagine Spyro meets Donkey Kong 64, and you’ll get the idea.
As well as breathing fire, Spyro can also swim. No more dying every time you fall in the water from now on!
Moneybags the Bear controls items needed to progress and trades items for gems, while dragon eggs must be collected in order to progress through the different stages.
TLDR: it’s like the first two original games but even better!
1. Spyro Reignited Trilogy (2018)
That’s right; the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is officially the best of the best Spyro games available today.
It had to be, didn’t it?
The first three iconic titles are the best of the bunch, there’s no denying it. While they might not be as advanced as Dawn of the Dragon, they are they most nostalgic to play through and brought all the other characters we love from the series into the fold.
And what’s more, they all look amazing in this trilogy!
The worlds and characters have all been supercharged. They look crisper and slicker, with each level boasting richer textures and a whole new range of features to drool over. Blades of grass replace green mounds, rocks have boulder line, and everything just looks super polished.
The best bit about this trilogy is that it can be enjoyed on multiple consoles.
While the original games released for the PS1, playing updated versions on the Switch via handheld mode feels like the ultimate win. Xbox One and PS4 users can also tap into the action, but you just can’t beat playing Spyro in handheld mode.
Same original stories, all reignited to 11. What more could a person want?
This article may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to purchase an item we may earn a commission. Thank you for your support.
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.