Skylanders fans haven’t been feeling confident about the series lately. Activision announced last year that there would be no Skylanders 7 release, the first year a new Skylanders game hadn’t released since the series began in 2011. We’ve been given no new updates on the future of the once stalwart kid-friendly franchise.
For now fans can revel in the sales of older games and figures. Whether you’re a newcomer to the toys-to-life series or a reminiscing veteran, we’ve compared all six primary Skylanders games and ranked them from weakest to strongest.
Last year Disney abruptly announced they were ending Disney Infinity after three years. Earlier this year Activision gave the foreboding announcement that they would not release a new Skylanders game this year– for the first time in six years. This week Warner Bros. confirmed that they’re ceasing development on LEGO Dimensions (though online support will remain).
At this point there are more discontinued (or on hiatus) toys-to-life games than ongoing. In the span of a year we went from most major game publishers wanting a piece of the surging toys-to-life pie, to suddenly being left with a grim outlook for the future of the genre.
The dust has begun to settle from the big Nintendo Switch Presentation. We now know the big main talking points. The price ($299), the date (March 3), and the launch titles (not much). There wasn’t anything very shocking, and the conference did a good job focusing on new games. But right now I’m not seeing a very good incentive to purchase a Nintendo Switch at launch, especially if you already own a Wii U.
At launch the Nintendo Switch will have five titles: 1-2 Switch, Skylanders, Just Dance, Zelda, and Bomberman. Skylanders released last year. 1-2 Switch and Just Dance are motion-control mini-games. Bomberman is a top-down party game. Only Zelda represents what we would call a core game – a true system seller.
What makes a successful brand or franchise aimed at kids? Often the first piece of media that entices children or young teens is a movie, television show, or toy line. From there companies can expand with multiple forms of media and merchandising – including video games.
Video games have reached an odd era when it comes to kid-friendly brands. In the 90s and early 2000s, a major video game tie-in was pretty much guaranteed, and many of these games were extremely well-produced and successful. But gradually the games declined in quality and were rushed out the door as games became much more advanced. Many major toy and kid-focused companies all but abandoned gaming – until mobile.
My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!
#9 Skylanders Imaginators
I’ve been playing Skylanders games since the 3rd one back in 2013. I’ve really enjoyed the series’ simple 3rd person action gameplay and huge variety of powers and play styles with dozens of figures.
Previously I would grab the Skylanders games on sale months after release and clean up on deals and BOGO offers. But with Skylanders Imaginators, the sixth in the series, I was ready to jump in at launch. Now it’s the first Skylanders game to make my Game of the Year list.
More than anything else, this was the game my daughter was finally old enough to really enjoy. Any game that can have us play together, and be a legitimately fun game to play, garners high praise from me. Continue reading “My Top Ten Games of 2016: #9”
With a sixth game in as many years, the Skylanders crew has had to create an astonishing amount of new toy figures. While each Skylanders game has its own unique gimmicks, playing with new and old figures is still the main draw of each entry.
Skylanders: Imaginators features one of the most enjoyable new twists in being able to create your own customizable Skylander. Yet the new Sensei and Villain figures shouldn’t be ignored; they are some of the best figures we’ve seen yet.
Skylanders introduces a new gimmick with each new generation, and this sixth game finally lets you build your own Skylander. Not only is this gimmick fun and rewarding, but the gameplay and character designs represent the best of what Skylanders can offer.
Series villain Kaos is up to no good once again. He’s trying to create an army of doomlanders using the same new Build Your Own mechanics that are added to Imaginators. The plot is familiar and forgettable. But the real treat is getting to see actual Skylanders on screen for the first time.
First generation Skylanders such as Spyro, Stealth Elf, and Jet-Vac take center stage for the first time, fully voiced and acting out fun scenes. This coincides with the upcoming Skylanders Academy Netflix show. It establishes the Skylanders with actual personalities outside of their battle cries.
Using your original Skylanders around those scenes can be a bit silly. But most likely you’ll want to use the new figures, and particularly the new Imaginator Crystals.
Skylanders Battlecast shamelessly rips its core gameplay from Hearthstone to create a solid and enjoyable digital card game.
Skylanders has dipped its toes into mobile apps before, from the Collection Vault to Lost Islands. Skylanders Battlecast represents a full spin-off that effectively uses gameplay heavily borrowed from Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to create a fun and easy to play digital card game.
Skylanders Battlecast is a free to play digital card game. Cards come in several different types, with the titular Skylanders cards being the most important. Every deck must contain exactly three Skylanders. Each Skylander has attack and health numbers, and gains levels throughout a match. One frontline figure can be used to attack or swap to another on the sidelines. Choosing when to swap and which cards to use is a fun dilemma in every game.
My wishlist of features and full-on predictions for the 6th Skylanders game, due later this year.
Whether you’re obsessed with collecting toys to life figures or you think it’s all a silly money trap aimed at kids, one fact is undeniable. The toys to life genre has exploded in the last few years, raking in billions of dollars for Activision’s Skylanders series alone. Now we have LEGO, Nintendo, and Disney all capitalizing on this unique toy-game craze.
But it all began with Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure in 2011. Every year brings us a new Skylanders game with new gimmicks and toys. A hallmark of the series is that you can take your older figures into each new game, creating a fun bond between your beloved characters.
A new Skylanders game has become as common as Call of Duty. As a Skylanders veteran I’m here to provide my wishlist and predictions for the next Skylanders game, which is expected to be announced within the next few weeks.
I recap a full year’s worth of gaming in 2015, including new games and my backlog progress.
I should really cut down on all these annual blog posts. The holidays are busy enough, and in 2015 I expanded my Top Ten list into ten separate posts, followed by my full Game of the Year awards and Most Anticipated Games of 2016 lists.
It’s all done in self-indulgent fun. My annual Year In Gaming post is probably the most navel-gazing thing I write on here. Part journal entries and part gaming calendar, I recap what I played on a month-to-month basis, and what really stood out.
2015 was the first full year of being a part-time freelance writer, and most of that was spent writing about video games. I maintained my blog both here and on Game Informer, appeared on podcasts, and can now say I’ve been published on Playboy. I also played lots of great games!
Though not as many as last year. I mentioned in my last recap of Rogue’s Adventures that I generally have less game time these days.
Since I enjoy recording my play times and my game library, it has helped me cut down on buying new games – which is painfully easy when you primarily play on PC thanks to rampant Steam sales. I played less games in 2015 but overall my “Progress Index” improved this year, so I’m pretty satisfied.
Progress Index is how Backloggery.com measures your finished-to-unfinished games ratio. Currently I maintain a Beaten ratio of about 63%, which has held fairly steady all year.
On to the monthly breakdown! Continue reading “2015: My Year In Gaming”