Posts Tagged ‘Skylanders’

Drobot and Flashwing

Posted: January 18, 2014 by Noccie in Noccie, Video Games
Tags: , , ,

Skylanders has some great characters. I’ve fallen in love with a few of them. They have these little dragons that I really enjoy playing. Most of the elements have them but so far the best are Drobot and Flashwing. Most of the dragonlets are really useful characters with great models… except Zapp. He is the dragonlet for the water element and has really annoying voice acting and weak powers. That’s a subject for another blog.

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Drobot is part of the Tech element. His model stands on a pile of silver gears, wings lifted. When his wings lift and tail curls they turn into the middle. He has lasers that shoot out of his eyes, he can fly and shoot gears out behind him. He’s a great character for flight and fight. Strategically, once he has flight he is one of the best characters for dealing with mobs.

His background says he felt odd and went off to an island where he found mysterious technology. Using the technology he found he built a suit, which he uses to fly and defend himself.

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Flashwing is from the Element of Earth. Her story starts with the character Bash wishing he could fly. A star streaked across the sky and crashed. When Bash ran over to the crater he found a cracked stone and Flashwing exploded out of it. She then proceeded to fire a laser than blasted him off a cliff.

Crystals are the main source of Flashwing’s powers. She is infact a crystal dragon after all. She shoots crystals out of her wings in two different manners. Her attacks are SUPER fast. She has a high damage per second. When I am playing an area with lots of small enemies, I prefer to play this Skylander. She’s fast and cleans the area’s out quickly.

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Skylanders was made by adults for players 6 years of age and up. Then they throw in jokes that children born since 1990 probably wouldn’t get. Here is TerraFin. He’s a part of the earth faction in the game. They can control rocks, dirt and earthy things. That makes TerraFin a “land shark.”

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A land shark is a reference to a 1970’s Saturday Night Live skit. According to Wikipedia it’s also a term that used to be used for real-estate speculators, German Shepherds and a beer by Busch called “Land Shark Lager.” The Land Shark skit from SNL used to be pretty much the same each time but it was funny regardless.

The set up was a knock on the door. The land shark would try to gain entry by claiming to be a delivery person of some type, like a singing telegram. Here is a video link to one of the skits with Gilda.

I do like that some of the characters in the game, you wouldn’t normally associate with their element. They usually turn out to be some kind of in joke or pun though.

On the other side of the coin, Terrafin is a great character to play. He has two attacks. One is punching and the other he dives under the ground, swimming like a shark. When he pops back up he can slam the earth causing collateral damage to multiple targets around him. There was one part of his character I don’t like. He makes this one random comment “Where’s my five dollars?” He only makes it when he’s collecting money as treasure but it struck both me and Kane as a little offensive sounding. You have to hear it to know what we are talking about. I can see that some people are talking about this on the internet. Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive but until I heard that quip, I thought he was one of the best characters in the game. It just offended me the way that line comes off. It presents itself as racist. There really aren’t races in this game but outside of the context in the real world you brain picks up on the racist nature of this one voice acted comment. He is part of the brown, earth faction and he is hitting you up for money. The accent is a stereotyped black accent. It’s very upsetting.

According to Youtube he’s actually a very popular character. Maybe I am making to much of this one comment. If anything, they just weren’t thinking about it when they recorded it… I hope.

The original, first version of him comes with Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure in a package with the Pirate Ship, a treasure chest and pirate swords. The pack gives you a new level to explore, a huge magical attack, a weapon and a hidden treasure. ¬†The package is $24.99 at most places. Right now Toys R Us has a buy, get 40% off deal going. The price is worth it for the added content.

They do have another version of him that comes with GIANT METAL KNUCKLES. So, we will see what happens with the game and if we keep playing past Giants.

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What ever happen to the song Toys R Us used to use. You know what I mean. ” I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us Kid.” Well… here’s a ling to a video. (And here are those kids 14 years later. Sorry for the terrible quality, it’s the only one I could find.)

Yeah I know, I am an adult. I go to Toys R Us for a few things Legos, My Little Ponies and now Skylanders. There is nothing that says you have to have a child or be a child to shop there. Yet, when I go there people give me the stink eye.

This Christmas was especially awkward. Kane and I were at a Toys R Us to purchase a gift for a friend and his daughter. After we picked that out we moseyed¬†over to the My Little Pony section to see what Toys R Us exclusive figures they had and found blind bag ponies! I spent a bit checking codes and digging through the bags for some of the Wonderbolts figures I needed. Gawking at all the neat toys and figures. A lady asked my why they had a scary pony named Nightmare Moon. Without missing a beat I explained that “Nightmare Moon is the form that Princess Luna takes before the Elements of Harmony bring her back from the dark side.”

Now, I wasn’t expecting anyone to be impressed but she was more weirded out. She said her daughter probably would have explained that no problem. She joked about being a bad parent or something and I assured her that it was not that. I just watch the show. They passed by and then we bumped into each other looking at the Monster High dolls.

Monster High is the favorite topic of discussion for my friend’s adorable daughter, Sheeny. Sometimes I babysit her and it’s the only thing we can talk about or we play with her dolls. It’s better to know when I am doing so she doesn’t get disappointed when I don’t know Cleo is an evil mummy girl and that Draculara is a vegan. While doing my duty as the coolest babysitter ever, I watched the show and I keep track of the dolls coming out. They are pretty cool actually. Well the lady laughed and asked if we were following them. I blushed and said no with an awkward laugh. Then she asks me, “How old is your daughter?”

This stopped me in my tracks. I want kids very badly but Kane and I are having problems in that department. Honestly, I don’t know if we will ever conceive. If it is possible, which I hope it will be in the next year, we will have as many children as we can. Two would be fine with me… or even just one.

I admitted, we were buying the ponies for me. That I am a collector and have loved My Little Pony since I was five. The couple was very weirded out by this fact. I spent a few awkward minutes explaining I was looking at the Monster High Dolls because of Sheeny. That made them feel a little less weird. Then she asked me, openly and honestly out of curiosity, “Do you play with them?” I laughed, no I don’t play with them. “Do you just keep them in the package.” I took a bit to explain that I put them on display but I don’t play with them. Even if I did… ( ok sometimes I have been known to play with them) there is nothing wrong with that. Who am I harming by having these toys?

Sometimes I forget about the real world outside the fandom. Sometimes I forget that some people don’t live in a place where it’s ok to be a little immature or still like toys or play video games. Back in October I asked my Mom, “Did you ever think you would still be buying me toys?” She laughed and said, no. She had never expected this. I guess I don’t really understand why not.

There are ALWAYS collectors. Without the collectors we wouldn’t know so much about the toys of yesteryear. Even if you aren’t a collector, it’s still OKAY to appreciate cartoons, toys and games. It doesn’t mean I am a weirdo or a pedophile.

Alright, I am going to go play Skylanders now. The game is marketed to kids but it’s really well crafted. The models are COOL and the game is harder than it looks.

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Since it seems to be getting a BIG holiday push this year, its hard to avoid Skylanders. I have to admit I’ve been curious. I’m a miniature and toy nerd. I like video games. Whats not to like about this? A video game where your toys are on the screen? I recently found a copy of last years model, Skylanders Giants, on clearance at Target (now that the new SwapForce is out) for an insanely low price and decided to give it a go!

In the basic sense, my impression was correct. You put a toy on the Portal (included in the Starter Pack) and your character pops up in the game after a quick loading screen involving their catch phrase. You maneuver through well designed levels with your colorful characters fighting bad-guys with the unique abilities each character has. What I did NOT expect was the amount of depth that very slowly opens up as you make your way through the game.

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First off, your characters gain levels and you can buy them new skills as they level with coins earned in game. Not a new thing, but what makes it so amazing is that these upgrades are saved to the MINIATURE, not just your save game. This means that you can potentially bring YOUR copy of a character with you to a different console entirely. You can also switch characters out on the fly so you are never stuck with the character you started with and can even switch characters if the one you are using is low on health.

Second, the level layout. Their are all sorts of hidden areas and easter-eggs to come across. Many are locked behind gates requiring a character with a specific element to unlock. Others require careful exploration. Now, this does mean that you will NOT have access to every area of the game with just the models that are included with it, but all of these other areas ARE optional. The way things are laid out is simple enough for most kids (rated 10+, but probably safe a little younger) but with enough to keep an adult engaged for a good amount of time as well. I’m still trying to reach goals in the first level that I’m having trouble finding.

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One other thing I thought I would touch on is the quality of the models. I have seen pre-painted miniatures for tabletop gaming with less detailed paint jobs. These are seriously some of the better examples I have seen. They feel a step beyond toy quality for certain. I’ve honestly been debating finding a way to use them for tabletop gaming because they just looks REALLY cool!

I’m not far enough in for a full review by any means, but I thought having an adult perspective may be helpful for those of you thinking about gifting it to your kids or the kid-at-heart on your shopping list. Definitely recommend it to the toy/miniature enthusiasts and for those that appreciate exploration video games and even those that just enjoy interesting uses of technology.

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Lastly, let me just say its a very unique synergy that others have started to cash in on that may be the next step for video games. Free-to-play games that unlock content with a physical product are popping up a lot lately. Skylanders may not be free-to-play, but sometimes you get what you pay for. By no means do I feel that it was a wasted purchase and I would consider it a good buy even at full price.