If you're unfamiliar with the Skylanders games, put simply they are a group of now four games from Activision where the player uses figurines on a portal to activate characters in a video game. Activision brings the world of gaming to life for gamers of all ages with unique ways of connecting to both parents and kids.
The game is comparable to Disney Infinity, which I reviewed here. I'm well aware all my Portal Master friends will give me grief for saying so, but trust me. When I say they are similar, I use the term loosely. Skylanders is a much more intricate game with original characters who have original back stories all new to this game. There are a few familiar faces, like Spyro and Cynder, for those of us older gamers who remember the grand adventures of the dragons. Other than that, though, the characters are all new all the time.
Now, this isn't a review yet, since I can't justify reviewing the new game without having first completed it. However I would like to make a mention of the new pieces and characters for those of you thinking about playing for the first time.
So to start us off, the first guys we meet are the Core characters.
With the release of the second game in 2012, players were introduced to a new type of character. The Giants.
Giants are an orange bottomed character, meaning they work in their own game and beyond, but not in the games before. These super sized Skylanders are twice as big as core characters and are used in the games to unlock areas and prizes too big for just a regular hero. They usually weigh in at about $15 a piece. Because they're a couple years older, though, stores like Walmart and ToysRUs have started dropping the regular prices down to anywhere between $10 and $12 on top of constant BOGO sales. Stores need to move the old merch out to make room for the new. With new constantly pouring in, now is the perfect time to get your hands on a couple of these.
Last year, with the third game came a third time of character, the Swap Force.
Story behind these guys is pretty simple. Just your average magical volcanic eruption giving anything near it the ability to swtich tops and bottoms with each other. These characters are great, because for the first time, kids actually get to break their toys. On purpose!! Each piece has two little magnetic spaces at the breaking point, so they don't just fall apart while you're playing. When you switch and mix up the toys in real life, the characters in the game mix accordingly, and along with their new look comes all the abilities, quests, and upgrades. Swappers are usually $14.99 regular price. They aren't new anymore but they're still very easily found, and their "not new" status makes them a guaranteed sale item once the holidays hit. I'm hearing "Christmas presents!"
Now we have the new game. Which gave us a surprising and unexpected three new types of characters. Firstly, we have the new Skylanders addition themselves, carrying special weapons for tapping enemies. Therefore, these characters are appropriately called the Trap Team.
Larger than cores, and hefting translucent "traptanium" weapons, these villain snatchers sell for an average of $14.99 in most stores. ToysRUs has the price set a couple dollars higher, but during their sales weeks with BOGO 40% off sales and rewards points, they're cheaper than anyone else. Still, because this game is new, expect the sales to be fewer and the prices higher. At least for a while.
Second, we have a shrunk down version of core figures called Minis.
These may seem like they're not worth the $14.99 you pay, but each pack comes with two characters and both those characters are completely what they were in previous games. Only a thousand times more adorable. So with full powers and upgrade abilities, you're essentially paying $7.50 for a cuter version of a core that would cost you three bucks more! In my opinion? One of the best, and most adorable, deals the Skylanders game has put out yet!!
The third type of playable character in the fourth game are, believe it or not, the villains! But you'll need special traptanium crystal Traps to do so.
Traps are a little pricey. They're $5.99 a piece, and the variety is seemingly endless. But don't think they aren't worth it. Each trap can hold two villains and each villain is a fully playable character. Not only do they have their own powers and talents you can use to fight for good, they also talk to you through the portal when the trap crystals are in play.
A game like this can be expensive, and buying every character for a full collection could quite literally break the bank! But a game like this could also teach kids saving and money management. I love it, my family loves it. I'm sure you will too!
(More to come.)