Posts Tagged ‘Toys’

skylanders box

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.

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