I like video games. I’m not a huge nut nor am I super good, but I enjoy playing video games. My twins have an XBOX360, my little ones have a Nintendo DS & Nintendo DSi, and we have a Nintendo Wii hooked up in our living room. For Christmas Aunt Kathy & Uncle Bob gave us all Walmart gift certificates, so the little ones and I combined our cards and purchased a new game, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures. But Skylanders isn’t just a new game, no, it is a new gaming experience where the sky’s the limit!
Most games merely come with the game itself, the disk or cartridge. And yeah, that’s usually good enough. Sometimes a game might come with a collector’s figurine or an action figure to place on a shelf to collect dust and serve as a symbol of geekiness. Skylanders comes with the game, three action figures and the Portal of Power-all required to play the game. The action figures are placed on the physical platform; place different action figures on the Portal of Power and they come alive in the game and the game changes as you place different action figures to play different characters. Different characters unlock different areas of the game. The game with the portal and 3 action figures cost $70 on all platforms.
Portal of Power
The Portal of Power, the wireless platform that comes with the game, is one of the first new cool things I’ve seen in recent years-since the Wii Fit balance board. The Portal of Power platform connects to the game console (XBOX360, PS3, Wii & 3DS, PC) much like a wireless mouse, with a little USB connector. Initial setup was plug and play and completely painless.
Skylanders is one of the first games to take the concept of action figures and collecting to the next level-and they’ve done it brilliantly. Each game comes with three action figures that become characters in the game. Up to two action figures can be placed on the portal simultaneously, for cooperative or versus play. There are 37 action figures in all. Toys R Us even has a couple of different carrying cases! Individually packaged action figures cost about $8. 3-packs of action figures cost about $20.
Each action figure has a memory chip in the base. The memory chip stores progress and since the action figures are not platform-specific, the action figures can be ported to a different system and all progress is portable as well. For instance, I bought the Wii version of the game which comes with an action figure, Trigger Happy, but I can use Trigger Happy on an XBOX360 (or PS3 or 3DS or PC) and the progress and all the character’s status will follow.
Collect them All?
As stated before, there are 37 action figures in all. This is where things can get a bit confusing (and expensive). There are eight different groups or families of characters called Element Classes: Air, Earth, Fire, Life, Magic, Tech, Undead & Water.
Although the game can be beaten with the three characters that come with the game & portal, there are areas of the game that you cannot access unless you have a character from each class. This is where the marketing guys start to earn their salary!
So you really only need eight action figures right? Well…
In other games, any Mario game for instance, you collect free lives as you play the game. In Skylanders you collect free lives by collecting more action figures! One character runs out of steam then take him off the portal and replace him with another. Well played Mr. Marketer dude.
There are eight classes with four action figures/characters per class, which is 32 action figures/characters. There’s a pretty cool full-sized poster of all 32 action figures in between Justin Bieber and The Marvel Superheroes at the poster display.
Although listed as part of the “official” 32 action figures, the Drill Sergeant action figure is exclusively sold at Walmart. Another point to the Marketing guys!
Dark Spyro is not listed among the “official” 32. The Nintendo 3DS version of the game, portal & figurines comes with Dark Spyro, to my knowledge this is the only way to purchase this action figure-to purchase the Nintendo 3DS version of the game which includes Dark Spyro. This is where the marketing guys took collecting to the next level! Dark Spyro is selling for a pretty penny on Ebay. Although Dark Spyro can be played on any of the Portals of Power (any of the game systems) it is only listed in the 3DS packaging.
Toys R Us has three exclusive “legendary” action figures that are also not listed among the “official” 32. Legendary Bash, Legendary Chop Chop and Legendary Spyro can only be purchased at Toys R US. More points to the marketing geeks. When in stock, the exclusive Toys R Us Legendary 3-pack can be purchased through TRU for about $25, or for around $40 on Ebay-again props to the marketing guys for creating a demand for toy collecting.
Legendary Trigger Happy is a rare counterpart of Trigger Happy. Little is currently known about him. He was firstAdded by Herecomestrouble
seen in the 3DS version of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, in the list of all 37 Skylanders.
Here is a complete (as of this writing) list of all 37 action figures/characters:
- Air – Lightening Rod, Sonic Boom, Warnado, Whirlwind
- Earth – Bash, Dino-Rang, Legendary Bash, Prism Break, Twrafin
- Fire – Eruptor, Flameslinger, Ignitor, Sunburn
- Life – Camo, Stealth Elf, Stump Smash, Zook
- Magic – Dark Spyro, Double Trouble, Legendary Spyro, Spyro, Voodood, Wercking Ball
- Tech – Boomer, Drill Sergeant, Drobot, Legendary Trigger Happy, Trigger Happy
- Undead – Chop Chop, Cynder, Ghost Roaster, Hex, Legendary Chop Chop
- Water – Gill Grunt, Slam Bam, Wham-Shell, Zap
Adventure Packs & Add-Ons
Adventure Packs come with an action figure and a few other object action figures-magic items. Think of these as expansion packs. Place a location figure on the Portal of Power and access a whole new chapter! Experience new challenges, menacing enemies and whimsical adventures. An Action Pack with one action figure and a few object figures cost about $20. There are four Adventure Packs:
- Pirate Seas Adventure Pack- This expansion pack includes the character, Terrafin, a pirate ship that unlocks the level, and two Magic Items, Hidden Treasure and Ghost Swords.
- Darklight Crypt Adventure Pack- Unlocks the Darklight Crypt, a spooky level. Ghost Roaster is included exclusively with this adventure pack. The adventure pack comes with three magic items. Darklight Crypt, Healing Elixir & Time Twist Hourglass. Only one Magic Item can be active at the same time.
Unreleased Adventure Packs (as of this post)
- Empire Of Ice is a adventure pack that comes with a new chapter, 2 magical items, Sky-Iron Shield & Anvil Rain, 4 stickers, and 4 trading cards.
- Dragon’s Peak is a adventure pack that comes with a new chapter, 2 magical items, 4 stickers, 4 online codes, 4 trading cards and the Skylander Sunburn.
The Volcanic Vault is an exclusive portal, part of the Wii/360/PS3 Starter Pack when bought at Best Buy. When an action figure is placed on the Portal for the first time, it unlocks the multiplayer Volcanic Arena for play in Battle mode.
The portal, action figures and collecting would be worthless if the game itself was boring and bland. I’m happy to say that it is a fun game! The game is geared to younger players, but has been getting very positive reviews from adult gamers (including the guy that works at my local Game Stop-he said he and his girlfriend are addicted!). I’ve been playing it with my eight-year old and we’ve had a blast! Like many video games there is a story line version that includes hunting and gathering, fighting, puzzles, collecting and powering up. And like most video games there is a versus version where the characters fight each other in a battle royale, or street fighter style. I will say that the story line version of play, although very entertaining (the story was written by the writers of Toy Story), quick and fun is a little bit easy, but we are only about 15% through the game, so maybe I am speaking too soon. And the key may be leveling up and buying powers. UPDATE: I am stuck at 33%…so it isn’t all THAT easy.
Obviously this game is the ultimate in hunting and gathering games! There are lots of levels, lots of areas to unlock, lots of characters to collect, lots of things to find, lots of powers to buy, etc.
Each action figure comes with collectable cards and a code that can be entered to play the online version of Skylanders-much like Club Penguin (which means the online play is SAFE!). The Skylanders online game site is FREE and anyone can play without purchasing any pieces of the game. The online version serves as an extension of the game and is completely safe for kids. I’ve only played for an hour or so, but it seems pretty cool. Especially designed for the young ones, if, as a parent, you find yourself addicted to the console game, give the keyboard and mouse to you child so you can play with the controller and nun chuck!
Its Not ALL About The Benjamins
One of the negatives of this game is the price. The initial game, portal and three action figures, although not crazy expensive will cost you $70 on any console (including the 3DS). Each additional action figure costs $7.00-$9.00 (dependeing on where you buy and if you buy in packs of three). 37 figurines x 8.00 = just under $300! Plus the expansion packs and carrying cases…UGH! Yeah, it can add up fast. Here’s the good news, the game can be completed-without exploring ALL areas of the game-with the initial three action figures that come with the game. And, if you aren’t into collecting, but want to complete all the areas of the the game, a minimum of eight action figures (about $75) are needed to unlock all of the areas of game play (maybe excluding the chapters introduced by the Adventure Packs). However, if you really suck, keep purchasing more action figures to get more chances to pass that area you’re stuck on.
In all fairness it sounds like Activision’s marketing geniuses didn’t know that the game would take off. Game Stop says that production should pick up and characters should flood the market at the end of February.
Overall Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures is an awesome game!
Skylanders Buyer’s Guide
|Legendary Trigger Happy
|Legendary Chop Chop
Chop Legendary Bash
|| Empire of Ice
|CASES(To store your Skylanders in!)||Zip Case
- Skylanders speed drawing (boingboing.net)
- Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure review: Gotta buy ’em all (joystiq.com)
- Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure – Activision’s greatest gamble ever (geek.com)
- Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure review (news.consumerreports.org)
- Customizer Fixes the Biggest Problem With Skylanders Toys [Skylanders] (kotaku.com)
- Toys Take On Consoles: Spyro the Dragon Returns in Social Videogame [PREVIEW] (mashable.com)
- Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure Video Game Integrates Real Toys – Trailer (connectwithyourteens.net)
- Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure (7+) (mirror.co.uk)