System: Microsoft Xbox 360 (PS3, Wii)
Price: $75.00 Starter Pack
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Review Rating: 4 stars
Plenty of video games are based on toys, so it seems inevitable that the two would be merged into a tech-savvy hybrid. Last year's "Skylanders" game introduced the idea of turning real-life toy figures into video game heroes, and "Skylanders Giants" adds new characters and abilities to the innovative mix.
This sequel truly is a bigger and badder game, mostly due to the introduction of ancient mythical Giant Skylanders that sport all new abilities. These giants join eight new characters and dozens of old Skylanders from the first game to fight an evil wizard named Chaos and save the day.
For those unfamiliar with "Skylanders," the basic premise is that real-life toy figures can be purchased, and each one of them contains a microchip. When placed on a special required peripheral called the Portal of Power, each toy comes to life in the game and players can use them to interact with the environment and combat enemies. This transformation is a joy to behold the first time, and kids can't seem to get enough of the "magical process."
Each character has special abilities that lets them access different areas, so several characters much be purchased separately to complete every area of each level. This sounds expensive, but the game can still be finished without purchasing additional toys. I also appreciate the ability to use any figure on any console, which eliminates the need for console compatibility.
Although the game play itself isn't very deep, it does offer an enjoyable dungeon-crawling experience filled with plenty of puzzles to solve, enemies to defeat and loot to collect! Players can also level up their characters to make them more powerful and collect hats for temporary buffs! These boosts become very handy when traversing the larger and more complex levels found in the sequel.
Children will certainly love playing with the "Skylanders Giants" characters both in-game and in real life.