Skylanders really took off, didn’t it? Set in the same universe as Spyro, it had all the promise of purple dragon platform awesomeness, but in reality, had naff all to do with orb guzzling, and everything to do with action figures and portals with power. That’s ok, though; it still turned out alright, and even got itself endorsed by Mr Boyfriend himself, Justin Biebzebub, via his Twitter feed. Really, there is no better place to get your gaming reviews… (Apart from here. Obviously. - Ed.)
As with all things, Activision were quick to capitalise on the success and make a sequel; this time taking advice from the mantra, ‘bigger is better’. Introducing, Skylanders Giants.
While the Skylanders are seen as legendary guardians and protectors of Skylands, eons ago, the Giants were the ones who ruled with an iron fist. The giants immersed themselves in full-scale war, protecting the revered haven of Skylands from atrocious, ancient, evil. However, much like the Skylanders after them, when the war was won, the Giants were banished to Earth, never heard from again.
However, with the Skylands once again under threat from the maniacal, Kaos, who has freed himself from Earthly prison, as Portal Master, you must unite the forces of the ancient giants with the legendary protectors and once again restore balance to world.
We're big fans of Skylanders, the trans-media phenomenon that allows players to collect a range of collectible figurines and level them up within a light and frothy action-RPG (or cynical stopgap designed to replace Activision's lost peripheral sales after Guitar Hero went down the tubes, depending on how you look at it). It's a perfect example of how toys and videogames can compliment each other, using NFC technology, onboard chips and the 'magical' Portal peripheral to make models come to life. Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was a deserved success, and Toys For Bob plan to follow it up by embracing the philosophy of "bigger is better."
Giants is the result: a full sequel rather than an expansion, which heralds the launch of the Series 2 toy line. Alongside new versions of the original cast, who'll ship in a range of different poses, debut the titular Giants, enormous hulking models that stand at over double the height of their predecessors. Lightcore figures also make an anticipated appearance, using current derived from the Portal to illuminate them from within despite possessing no internal battery.
I was able to check out both the new game and new model series at E3 2012, and emerged from the Activision bunker suitably impressed.
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The Skylanders are expanding into the MMO space with Skylanders: Spyro's Universe, and Activision announced beta registration today so you can join Spyro in creating new, customisable Skylands. You can get involved here.Click here to check out the beta trailer...
In the movies, whenever two characters with towering pride find themselves embroiled in a slightly too public bust up they invariably arrange to meet in a less visible place, later on, where it's just the two of them and they can settle their differences like men. Of course, one of them always brings friends along to the party, resulting in an utter hiding for the poor soul who kept to his word. In somewhat similar fashion, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure is looking to mark something of a triumphant return for the little purple dragon. Only this time, he's brought a whole bunch of friends along with him.
You may not have heard of Skylanders yet, but by the end of the year Activision is rather hoping that, if you're a parent at least, Skylanders will be all you're hearing about. Combining cutesy action-platforming gameplay with tangible collectible toys, Skylanders represents a big project for Activision. While most adult eyes in the gaming world are going to be rigidly fixed upon the battle between Call of Duty and Battlefield, Activision are hoping that they can begin to corner the market for younger gamers in a way that's not really been seen since Pikachu and co. arrived on the seen last millennium.
'The aim behind Skylanders is to bring the two spheres of collectible toys and video games together,' explains Toys For Bob's Paul Reiche. 'The way that works is that you put your collectible figurine onto a 'Portal of Power' and it pulls that character into the gameworld. You can then play as that character in the game world and anything you do - experience you earn, abilities you unlock or treasure you collect - gets saved permanently to the toy's memory. It's completely automatic and you an use those characters across platforms on Wii, 360, PS3, PC, 3DS or anywhere the game is showing up and your character is there.'Click here to read more...
Toys For Bob's CEO, Paul Reiche, has said that Activision have been 'bizarrely supportive' of their new venture Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, giving them 'Hollywood-style backing' and a 'really big marketing budget'.
In the grand scheme of things, a good number of perfectly serviceable games geared towards the younger generation tend to disappear into obscurity as a result of a lack of support from their respective publishers. With Activision's rather inconsistent track record outside of Call of Duty, we asked Reiche last month just how supportive Activision have been, and he couldn't have been happier.Click here to read more...