Skylanders Giants - Mobile Impressions
During my recent visit to the Toys for Bob studio I got a quick peek at the Skylanders mobile division and got a first look at some of the titles currently in development that will be available later this year. For those out there who need their Skylanders fix now, there is Skylanders Cloud Patrol, an arcade shooter that allows players to integrate their collection of toys in to the game. There is an updated planned for November release that will add some social multiplayer functionality, although details were sparse. But for those who were hoping for something a little more, substantial, it looks like Toys for Bob has got an app for that.
The next Skylanders game that will be available on iOS is Skylanders: Lost Islands, a resource management game that is quite common on Facebook. Players are tasked with rebuilding an island that has been wrecked by Kaos. By plotting down buildings and sending Skylanders out on adventures, players can rebuild the Lost Islands. The game was definitely colorful and lively like most games of this type, but unless the resource management has a more compelling hook, I don't see too much that separates this game from others like it. Skylanders: Lost Islands will be available later this year.
The second title revealed was definitely a lot more impressive and left me feeling more hyped about what Toys for Bob was up to. Skylanders: Battlegrounds is an action-RPG that will be available for iOS devices and a build running on the latest iPad hardware showcased some really impressive visuals, making use of Xbox 360 assets that will scale down according to the player's device. The big surprise for Battlegrounds is the inclusion of the Portal of Power. Players will now be able to take their purchased figures and use them in Battlegrounds via a bluetooth connectable Portal of Power, and the demonstration included a couple of quick swaps, making it as seamless as playing on a console.
Players can purchase characters in Battlegrounds through an in-game currency of gems, or they can be unlocked over time. If players later opt to get the Portal of Power and Skylanders figures they will receive a refund in gems that can be used for in-game items or other Skylanders. The toys themselves will store data, though it will not be cross compatible with the console version of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure or Skylanders: Giants.
Gameplay of Battlegrounds is focused on controlling two different Skylanders while engaged in combat. Players can use simple touch-and-drag controls to target enemies that will stream on screen and can take them out with characters that specialize in ranged or melee attacks. Our demonstrator showed that a team of just melee or ranged characters can be effective, but a split team really did seem to be the most effective at taking out the enemies on screen. Outside of combat players will navigate an overworld map that will contain two chapters worth of story and gameplay for the initial release. A price point was not available at the time of this preview, but the game is scheduled for a November release.
While it was a short demonstration, it was interesting nonetheless. Skylanders fever is definitely spreading and for those who don't normally play console games, they'll soon have a unique experience to call their own. Series loyalists on the other hand will have a new outlet to see their favorite toys come to life, and a new drain on their wallets.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I recently cleared the 10 year club with Gaming Nexus. Kind of surprised I've been a mainstay here for a little over a decade now.
In a past life I worked with Interplay, EA, Harmonix, Konami, and a number of other developers and have recently returned from a job in Texas doing production work for a company that did cell phone games. Now I'm working for a record label, along with Gaming Nexus, and anywhere else that sees fit to employ me.