When I first heard about Skylanders, I had no idea what it was. When I started researching the video game, it took me a while to sort it all out. Here is a quick guide to help you figure out if Skylanders is a good option for your child.
Skylanders is different than traditional video games in that it has actual figures that go along with it. The game comes with a portal, which is a small round platform that attaches to the video game system. When your child puts one of the Skylander figures onto the portal, that character goes into the game.
It’s a very cool idea, but it comes with some drawbacks. The starter pack comes with three figures. You have to buy all of the other characters separately. And there are a lot of them. And the cost adds up quickly. And your child will want all of them. It becomes a game of collecting the figures as much as it is actually playing the game. Plus, you have all of the individual characters to store instead of just a video game disk.
A new version of the Skylanders game seems to come out every year. The new game is typically released in October — just in time for the holiday shopping season. The first three versions are Spyro’s Adventure, Giants and Swap Force. The fourth edition — Trap Team — is set to come out in October 2014. Each version has a slightly different focus and special characters. In Giants, for example, some of the characters are extra large. In Swap Force, some of the characters can actually be taken apart and combined for different combinations of powers. You can mix the top of one character with the bottom of another.
Each time a new version comes out, you’ll also have new characters to buy. You also have to buy a new starter pack for the latest version. The same portal worked for both Spyro’s Adventure and Giants, but a different portal was required for Swap Force. You’ll also need a new portal for Trap Team.
Playing With Friends
One of the creative aspects of Skylanders is how the information is stored. Each of the figures has a chip inside that stores information about play. If your child gets an upgrade or special power for a character, that information is stored on the actual figure. If he goes to play Skylanders with a friend, he can take his figure along with all of the upgrades he’s earned.
The Bottom Line
Skylanders is a creative twist on the traditional video game. But it does get expensive if you get caught up in buying all of the figures. Proceed with caution and prepare for the commitment when you buy your child the Skylanders video game.