Crush them! Hands on with Skylanders: Giants

Big things are happening in the world of Skylanders! (Sorry, couldn’t resist a line like that.) I’m talking about Skylanders: Giants, the upcoming entry into the popular Skylanders franchise. As the title suggests, the big focus this time is on the giants – in this case, new allies of your mostly-adorable Skylanders cast, with said allies being on the huge side. I was able play around with this one personally, and now I can pass on information about both the game itself as well as its new entrants. Click in to find out more!

First, some grittier details. Anyone who played the first Skylanders game will recall that you didn’t just pick a character in-game and level them up – instead you had an actual, material Skylanders figure which you used to ‘insert’ their 3D version into the game. After loading said character up, you could play as them and level them up, and this progress would be ‘saved’ on the figure. Well, good news: not only will those same figures be usable in Skylanders: Giants, but all of the powers you unlocked for them will be accessible and present in the new game. That’s a nice feature for any fan of the world, granting that always-desirable sense of continuity and investment in the game.

[singlepic id=7079 w=320 h=240 float=left]Of course, Giants is going to feature some brand new figures to go along with it – not only the 8 new Giant figures themselves (one for each element), but versions of smaller figures that not only have new abilities, but physically “light up” when placed on the interactive portal. No batteries are required for this either – it’s pretty neat, and also gives you a visual cue that yes, your character is there and able to be accessed by the game itself. For those really curious about the size, I’d say the Giants figures are around 2-3x the size of a typical figure – and much, much larger when in-game.

As for the game itself, my understanding is that it’s working off the engine of the previous games, but updated to accommodate the newly massive Giants, complete with puzzles for both the big and small characters. What I saw seemed pretty fun, if aimed at a younger audience understandably – some challenges and areas required a character of a specific element in order to advance through, and you can expect there to be quite a variety of different requirements. After all, it’s one way to encourage players to buy more figures – or at least get their parents to buy more.[singlepic id=7080 w=320 h=240 float=right]

Nevertheless, what Toys for Bob is doing here felt solid: they’re taking the existing game, retaining everything that people loved about it, and expanding on it even further with some distinct, stand-out creatures. No big changes, just new additions that fit into the world well, and allowing people to bring their already-purchased figures into the new title. Watch for this one when it comes out fall of this year, and I’m sure we’ll have more information when Skylanders: Giants is ready to launch.

Victor Grunn has been a gamer since the days of single-button joysticks and the Atari 800XL. When not lamenting the loss of the Ultima series or setting people on fire in Team Fortress 2, he's an aspiring indie game developer and freelance writer.

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