Bestest Christmas Gift Guide – *whispers* Skylanders… (Please don’t tell Boy)
Top (and bottom, and a few times in between) of Boy’s Christmas list this year is the Skylanders game.
Oh, how he LONGS for one.
And whilst at first glance I sniffed and sighed and said “ANOTHER game, Boy? REALLY?”, the more I looked and listened to his (endless) tales of its wonders, the more I was convinced…
And then I played it for myself.
Wowsers it’s good!
The thing about Skylanders is that it is MORE than just a video game . You see you get a ‘Portal of Power™’, and some figures. You place the figures on the ‘Portal of Power™’ and hey presto! They are on screen, and you are they, as it were. Yes – your little toy comes alive on screen, and you get to play AS that character. GENIUS!
Each figure has its own powers and abilities, and naturally, whilst the system comes with three there are many many more to collect. Each new figure unlocks worlds and introduces mini games, and accomplishes tasks, so will want to collect more.
A-HA! Money-grubbing Games designers, I hear you cry.
Well… yes, you could say that…
It does mean that the game has longevity – no 3hr run-through only for it to be left on the shelf for the next 6mths. This is a game that keeps on bringing in the fun. Bringing toys to life – really, what’s not to love? You need 8 toys to access all the bonus areas – one of each type (36 in all to collect, but not all have been released yet). And fear not, the con is not so deep as you first thought: you don’t need to access the bonus areas to complete each level, and you CAN complete the whole adventure with the three characters in the starter pack (its just easier if you have more characters). Being able to add to the characters just means a line of toys to save up pocket money for (or ready-made Grandparent spoilings…).
The game itself is a simple platform game; following the story line, doing battle, solving puzzles and finding hidden treasure over the 20 levels.
Even after completing a level, playing again as a different character necessitates a whole new strategy – and bop! You’ve gained a whole new game experience. And, of course, you may have missed a chest or a scroll first time through.
PLUS – plop a 2nd character on the ‘Portal of Power™’ (*sigh*) and it’s suddenly a co-operative play game. Brilliant!
And of course, when the Xbox or Wii are off (i.e. Sun-Thurs in our house) those figures still have great play value. And they can be taken to a friends house and used on THEIR Portal of Power™’ (*eyeroll*) too. I also love the fact that the upgrades and levels you have earned remain with the toy, not your gaming system – so bring it to a friend’s house and it will have the same level and upgrades.
Honestly? We love it. We love it’s beauty, it’s attention to detail, it’s total immersability – and it’s sheer fun-to-play goodness.
Skylanders really is a breath of fresh air – reminiscent in mood to the simple fun games of 20 years ago, the original Sonic’s and Mario’s and Zelda’s we all spent far too many nights pre-children up bashing our thumbs over. but with far better graphics.
No guns, no driving, no violence… just a highly appropriate, charming and ever-so-slightly genius modern toy.