You might have heard of a recent game/fad known as Skylanders. Don’t worry too much if you haven’t, its one of those things that either passes you by entirely or ends up firmly embedded in your radar. Skylanders, full title “Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure” is an Action-RPG and the most recent game in the Spyro the dragon franchise and comes from the creators of Star Control 2 and Pandemonium.
The interesting thing about this game isn’t that it has an engrossing story our solid combat mechanics, but how you choose the characters to play as. With the main game you get 3 action figures, 1 of Spyro and 2 different Skylanders, and the “Portal of Power”. You plug the portal of power into your console then place the action figure of the character you want to play as on top of it, simply swapping it with a different figure if your character is defeated, or if you just feel like playing as someone else. Essentially this means that the number of lives you have depends on the number of figures you own. There’s also certain areas of the game that you can only access using certain characters.
So how many different characters are there? 32 on my last count, but they could always release more as DLC. So far every single one of these is already on the disc, you’re just not able to play them until you buy the action figure for it. Since they come in packs of 3 and cost £20 a pack you’d think that gamers would be raging about this all across the internet, but there’s actually very little rage to be found regarding anything other than how hard done of them are to find. It seems that people are instead prowling different stores for missing figures and store exclusives to complete their Skylanders collection. And at around £250 for the entire set (just for the one hand remember) that’s nothing to sniff at. While the game was originally targeted at younger gamers it seems to have that sweet spot that appeals to both gamers and toy collectors alike. Even more so for the hardcore collector crowd as it seems you don’t actually need to take the models out of the packaging to use them, leaving them all in mint condition.
One nice thing that they’ve done is while the game itself is available on different consoles, the figures don’t seem to care which one you used them with. In fact the character saved data is stored on the figure itself you don’t have to worry about your saved data and you can take it to friends houses for multiplayer gaming on a current console and keep all the levels and upgrades you’ve built up. This is speculation on my part, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you can use the same figures in future games, alongside the new batch of characters that
I’m sure they’ll release. In years to come it might not be too uncommon for fellow geeks to have a several shelves just for their Skylanders collection, with internet forums occasionally debating the pros and cons of particular ones.
When I started writing this post I had no intention in getting into the Skylanders, and I hope that for the most part that I can stick to my original plan. But the more I think about it, the more I can see myself maybe getting into it as a long-term investment.
The Giant Bomb podcast was responsible for teaching me most of what I know about Skylanders, so it only seems fair to provide a link back to them. The specific podcast in question can be found here:
And the main Skylanders website: