Monday, 12 December 2011

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure { Giveaway & review }

A few months ago my boys & I were invited to a truly innovative experience – Skylanders Spyro's Adventure. When I got the first email I was really unsure about it.

Having had experience with a few different gaming systems, our now 18yr has played , I knew within minutes of seeing it for real- it was a winner. Skylanders Spyro's Adventure’s story line was penned and crafted by the writers of Toy Story... Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow, with very cool technology.

A game that meshes the toy and videogame worlds ! Bingo !

It’s also no surprise the inspiration for the game came from some of the developers' observations of their own children. It is recommended for children 6yrs and over ; Sam & Joel can already manage some independent game play and know how to read the visual clues and follow verbal prompts. 
 "For generations, the Skylanders have used their magical powers and weapons to protect Skylands. But now, an evil tyrant has frozen them into toys and banished them to Earth. Only you can put them on the Portal of Power and bring them back to life in their world to save Skylands forever."

This is Spyro the Dragon in a way he hasn't been seen before – in a hand-sized action figure along with 31 other Skylander action figures in all (Each one with a unique powers). Each Skylander falls under one of eight elemental groups: fire, water, life, earth, tech, air, undead, and magic. I love the names Chop , Chop - Trigger Happy with his 2 six shooter that shoot gold coins.

The game starts by placing the Skylander character of your choice on the glowing "portal of Power" the gateway to your Skylander adventure.The figures are teleported ( Yes, with a radical buzz of streaming light) into the game and come to life. The 'portal of power' syncs wirelessly to the game through a USB adaptor plugged into your console or PC. (Beware the Portal is battery operated but it does include 3 Duracell – stock up for Christmas or get rechargeable ones and watch you don't lose the USB adapter)

Skylanders are far from ordinary toys - they have 'brains' that as you progress through the game remember shared experiences and leveled-up abilities (but only on your own console). There are also different game slots to save different family member's games.

Don’t worry , even if you are not in possession of all character types (YET) you can still beat complete the game. Awesome hats provide attribute bonuses and characters wear them in-game, adding some interesting customisation . Finding all the hats is an addictive engaging bonus – if you have the right Skylander figure to get access to them.

The down side is the pester power your kids will be leveling up AT YOU . Even as I played, past a bonus area that could only be unlocked by a certain Skylander element, I could feel I needed that Skylander – now !

Another thing I loved is that is has visual and verbal clues for kids in-play to tell them the best Skylander (element) for each area and what button to press. It still allows for players to develop their own strategies and chose own game tactics.

What does the STARTER PACK come with  ?
- The starter pack comes with everything you need to start your own adventure including:

• Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure software
• Portal of Power
• 3 Skylanders Figures
• 3 Trading Cards
• 1 Sticker Sheet for all three characters
• 3 Skylanders Spyro’s Universe Codes
• Collector Poster (to put your stickers on)

You can, I am told, play the entire game with just the Starter pack. Skylanders is also playable on the web.

The Activision website has cool stats on each Character , information for parents and you play it there too.

Skylanders can be played with friends (or siblings) by simultaneously placing two interaction figures on the Portal of Power ( long as you have 2 controllers). Each Skylander works across all gaming platforms so they can be taken teleported anywhere, jump from console to console or even to the web.

Activision has ingeniously and very functionally, made a completely cross platform multiplayer game. So if your kids own the PS3 version, they can play the Nintendo Wii version at a friends house with their  own figures.

The ability to trade the Skylanders around and because friends can team up in play means there are endless opportunities to extend the gaming experience with extra battles and challenges. You also might not have to buy them all ( The bonus is you can buy individual Skylanders & pieces so makes for easy birthday party gifts.)

The game is so engaging older siblings (or parents) will want to play along too (trust me). The genius of the game is you can start play or drop out of the game instantly , swap characters in play and add characters. NO more – "I need to finish this level Mum"

I know my 9yr nephew and his friends are flippin’ their minds about this game. I saw it on his wish list (on the fridge) and asked my SIL what she knew about Skylanders ? - Just that L really wanted it - She had no idea of the games potential. I told her the website has a great parent's guide. They are getting it on Xbox.

Sure the Skylander characters just explore various levels – castles, mines, forests, pirate ships – beating up enemies as they collect money, unlock gates and solve puzzles but ..... each new figure adds extra challenges and boosts the power of other figures. Extra figures = a life, and as long as you have a free Skylander you continue a level without starting over. The characters don’t die but rest till the next level - I love that we have two Spiros -just saying we needed them !

Skylanders is available for the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft XBOX 360, Nintendo 3DS and PC. We have Playstation3 and the graphics and visuals are incredible.

The good news is I have one Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Wii version only to giveaway to one lucky reader. Oh I wish I had more.

In 30 words or less tell me who you would like to be in Skylanders and why ?

If you are the chosen one with the most interesting, creative or original answer - a Skylanders Adventure Wii starter pack will be teleported to you by Australia Post hopefully before Christmas - no promises.

Australian residents only -read full term & conditions.
One entry per person leaving a 30 words or less answer

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Disclaimer: I received a complimentary PS3 copy for review purposes. No financial payment was offered nor accepted for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.