Now that Disney Infinity is no more, the video game industry only has two major toy video game franchises. We have LEGO: Dimensions and Skylanders. We decided this past weekend to test out the theory that all kids love Skylanders, and it went down very well. We hosted a Skylanders themed birthday party for a 6 year old girl, and invited a ton of her friends along to join in on the fun.
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For those of you who don’t know, Skylanders is a video game based in a typical good versus evil world. Koas is always up to no good, and the Skylanders, who are the protectors of worlds, need to stop him. The game has been a mash hit for a few years now, and with each release, come new toys and things to collect. Skylanders makes use of physical toys which you place in a portal, and then they are summoned into the game. Progress and levels are all stored on the toys thanks to a NFC (Near Field Communication) chip. The toys are all high-end and fully represent the in-game characters. Each character is quirky and lovable, so much so, that each one deserved their own video game.
Now, it would not be a party without everything sticking to one theme, so we baked a Skylanders cake, decorated everything in Skylanders goodies, and even made our own Skylanders party boxes. Megarom Interactive, the local distributor for the game, sent us some cool swag to throw into the Skylanders party. We then set up three copies of Skylanders. The three copies of Skylanders ranged from the three latest games in the series, Swap Force, Trap Team, and Superchargers. As we are long-time fans of the series, we had a ton of figurines to play the games with.
We were a little worried about the kids not being able to take control of the game, and we would have to stand near to help them out. The controls in the game require a little gaming experience, especially when it comes to Supercharger’s driving mechanics. We were surprised to see that the kids immediately began to grasp the basics of the game. Walking around, jumping and attacking. They then took a while to perfect the ability to jump over gaps and ledges, but once they understood that the analogue needs to be pushed in the direction, they had no issue at all.
The most exciting part of the experience for them, was the vast collection of Skylanders they could choose from. One of them made it his mission to make sure he tried every single one of the 45 on offer, he even froze the game at one stage. They were constantly changing toys, trying out new attacks, and were intrigued by the idea of this physical toy manifesting into the game. Let’s be honest, Skylanders is a pretty flashy game, with every world you visit so unique to the others. The kids had a great time venturing into the Lost Library, and the same experience was felt throughout the game.
Speaking to some of the parents at the party, they were surprised to see their children take so naturally to something they had never experience before. One child in particular, had never played any form of a controller-based game before, and by the time he left, he was beating the children who had prior experience in gaming. The biggest thing about Skylanders during the party, was the interactions the kids had in the game with various things. They were able to distinguish bad from good when it came to characters, and they were able to solve puzzles during certain objective-based missions. They naturally knew that this block had to be pushed into that hole so that they could walk across the path. No guidance was needed.
The same can be said for the Skylanders toys themselves, as in certain parts of the game, you can use a certain Skylanders type, and it will be stronger. When this voice was heard in the game, informing the kids about this change in damage, they knew they had to find a new Skylander that would help give them this needed boost in damage. It was great to see this decision-making process, as they knew that they either changed, or they had to fight a little harder to get through a specific part of the level.
Each child had their own favourite Skylander, and even after a while they were able to mimic its introduction, action and all. Some of them even picked up the toys and took them outside to play with them. Thank goodness they are so sturdy and a few bumps and scratches won’t damage them. The versatility is really endless here as all the Skylanders can be played with as a toy and every game is backwards compatible, so buying a new game will not render your old Skylanders useless.
The main thing here is that the kids love it. In an industry ridden with overpriced apps for kids, Skylanders is a hardcore video game, that has dozens of hidden layers of educational material, while just having fun. The game is a light-hearted adventure, that clearly the kids adore, as the party was a huge success. We are sure that the parents are all being hassled now to go out and get some Skylanders goodness in their home.
If you are curious about Skylanders, there is a new one coming out this October that lets you create you own Skylander. We cannot be more excited!