Tech News on G4
Dec 1, 2011
By John Powell - G4 Canada
2011 has been a turbulent year in gaming. Releases have been delayed due to economics and some anticipated titles have not lived up to expectations. With the exception of Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's 3DS, sales have been disappointing and will probably end the year on a flat note.
Where there has been a bright spot though is games for kids. There have been more high quality children's games in 2011 than in any recent year. It is going to make handing out those digital trophies for a job well done very difficult in about a couple of months. Not that we are complaining in the least. It is good to see bar being set higher and higher.
Another name to add to that list of worthy releases is Activision's 'Skylanders'. Headlined by the ever-popular Spyro, the heroic purple dragon, the game is a spin-off of his on-going series of adventures. Joined by up to 32 other playable characters, Spyro journeys through magical lands in the action-platformer fighting Kaos, an evil Portal Master bent on world domination.
The story is written by 'Toy Story' scribes Alek Sokolow and Joel Cohen. Spyro and his interchangeable pals must solve puzzles, collect treasures, complete quests and win battles to succeed. Some puzzles require certain characters and their unique abilities to solve them.
How you switch out the characters and unlock them is the hook of 'Skylanders'. The game comes with three character figurines (Spyro, Gill Grunt and Trigger Happy) and a “Portal of Power” peripheral. A small lighted stage which plugs into the Xbox, the 'Portal' is used to easily transfer characters in and out of the game. You just place a figurine on the 'Portal' or take it off to swap them out. If you wish to increase the number of characters you can select from, you must purchase the remaining 34 action figures separately. They come in singles and sets and they are all playable on each gaming platform 'Skylanders' is made for.
As you win more battles, you can upgrade the characters improving their skills and attacks. In order to play co-op or versus, all you need to do is put two figurines on the 'Portal' at the same time. Keep in mind though, one of the games flaws is there is no online multiplayer. One interesting strategy is the more characters you have at your disposal, the more lives you have in the game.
Although 'Skylanders' sounds like an expensive proposition, parents shouldn't panic. You certainly don't need all of the figures to complete the game. Though they do give players more options, they aren't essential to getting the most out of 'Skylanders'. None of the figures are uniquely registered to a particular machine so kids are free to swap, trade and borrow figures from one another. Hey, it beats keeping track of all those Pokemon cards.
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.