Tagged "Skylanders"

Aug 25
By Matt Gander In Features No Comments

The last-gen formats have reached the age where they’re being handed down to younger siblings, with the Xbox One and PS4 taking pride of place under the main TV instead. Both consoles have also fallen in price heavily over the past year or so, making them affordable (and more viable) for children.

Unlike the Wii and Wii U, the Xbox 360 and PS3 never saw a steady slew of children’s games – just the odd movie or cartoon tie-in here and there, plus the usual LEGO, Skylanders and Disney Infinity games.

The aim of this guide is to highlight some of the alternative kids’ games out there while sorting the good from the bad. Contrary to popular beliefs, kids can tell the difference. They may not be able to exactly point out why a game is bad, but they know the difference between boring and entertaining.

With this guide you hopefully won’t be hearing “this game is boring” too often.

The obvious choices


Let’s get these out the way first, as chances are your child already owns a few of these. We’re talking about the games that are always prominently placed in supermarkets and GAME, such as LEGO, Skylanders, Disney Infinity, Just Dance, FIFA Soccer and Minecraft.

Disney Infinity was axed earlier this year, meaning retailers are starting to clear out stock. The first DI features Disney and Pixar franchises and packed in a lot of content, with worlds based on Monsters Inc, The Incredibles and Pirates of the Caribbean. You do however need two characters from the same universe to play two-player in these worlds, which obviously goes against the whole ‘Infinity’ aspect.

Disney Infinity was axed earlier this year

The second DI favours Marvel superheroes and has a quickly cobbled together feel to it, with just one campaign that soon becomes tedious. The Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man add-on packs also scored poorly by the gaming press.

For the third and final DI, Star Wars is the theme and this iteration focuses heavily on the premium priced add-ons. Despite featuring characters from all different Disney lines, the majority can only be used in the Minecraft-style Toy Box mode…which is due to go offline next year. It can still be accessed, but the ability to share creations with the community will cease.

Children are likely to lean towards their favourite franchise, but for our money, the original DI is the one to go for. With three campaigns lasting around 3-4 hours each, it offers the most out-of-the-box value.

As for Skylanders, we recommend the recent Skylanders Superchargers – which has online co-op play and Mario Kart-style races – and Skylanders Giants, which wasn’t too demanding when it came to extra figures. Although Skylanders Giants is also knocking on a bit now, it’s the prices for the giant figures have hit rock bottom. A full set can easily be obtained for around £20.

While not bad games – the Skylanders games have a rare consistency to them – both Trap Team and Swap Force lock a lot of content away, with the former requiring £5 coloured crystals to capture bad guys in, and Swap Force adding new areas that only Swap Force characters can enter. These two are by far the most money grabbing.

LEGOMovie (1)

Then we have the LEGO games, which too are constantly good…and sometimes even great. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones and The Lord of the Rings are generally seen as some of the weaker entries, while Harry Potter, Star Wars, Batman, Marvel Super Heroes and The Avengers are perceived as the best.

LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga are the ones commonly found in bargain bins nowadays, both of which are recommended.

LEGO Dimensions stuff meanwhile is slowly starting to come down in price due to the arrival of season two. The starter set hasn’t quite hit the magical £30 mark yet, but it’s almost there. Out of all the ‘Toys to Life’ franchises, LEGO Dimensions is the most demanding on the wallet, and the upcoming second season looks set to be even more so with packs based on Sonic the Hedgehog, Gremlins, Adventure Time and dozens more. At least LEGO tends to hold its value, eh?

This leaves us with Minecraft, which needs no introduction. Several years from launch, it’s still a big seller and just as popular. Thankfully for parents, it isn’t a full price release – expect to pay between £15-£20. If your child is into Minecraft in a big way, also be sure to check out Minecraft: Story Mode – which features a collection of episodic adventures to play through – and Terraria, which is often referred to as Minecraft’s 2D cousin. It’s slightly trickier to master, but chances are your child has friends who’ve already learnt the ropes and will be keen to show off what they know.

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Oct 21
By Adam Philbin In UK Charts No Comments

This week’s UK chart looks quite familiar, with GTA V on top of the charts, sitting above FIFA 14.

There is however a new entry at #3, in the form of Skylanders: Swap Force, Activision’s latest attempt to sell children more plastic figurines.

Pokemon X and Y fall slightly to #4 and #5 respectively, showing that X is a better letter than Y, or people prefer that cover art. Sitting immediately below them is Beyond: Two Souls, Quantic Dreams’ attempt at making Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe look like bad actors.

The rest of the top ten is made up of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, F1 2013, Just Dance 2014 and Disney Infinity in the #10 spot. Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD falls six positions to #16.

With Batman: Arkham Origins and Assassin’s Creed IV both out this week, next week’s chart might have a new number two.

Sep 29
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

Sainsbury’s has bagged an exclusive Skylander – the ‘Halloween 2013’ edition Eye-brawl. It’s available in-store now for £14.99 – the standard RRP for a Skylanders Giants figure.

Usually retailer-exclusive edition Skylanders have a simple alternative colour scheme or have been moulded out of glow-in-the-dark plastic. What sets this one apart from the rest is that Eye-brawl’s rather hard to overlook giant eye has been replaced with a bright orange pumpkin.

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Jul 18
By Matt Gander In Features 1 Comment

The Skylanders come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but most are easily identifiable. Thanks to Spyro’s involvement there are a fair few dragons, plus a few knights, elves, skeletons and dinosaurs thrown in for good measure.

Then you have these chaps below, who are somewhat harder to describe, with faces only a mother could love. Presenting the six strangest Skylanders:

Trigger Happy

Resembling a coconut with ears, Trigger happy carries two golden guns and throws pots of gold at enemies. Why is he so rich? Nobody knows. His fortune would at least explain his enlarged pupils, slack tongue and incredibly focused nature.

Most likely to: repeatedly be arrested for possession of an offensive weapon.
Least likely to: open a quaint teashop in Cornwall.

Gill Grunt

The race of creatures that Gill Grunt belongs to are clearly quite an advanced species, having evolved to the point where they’re able to walk on land and breathe air unassisted. Gill must be the JarJar Binks of his race, however, talking in the most primitive of manners and seemingly low on intelligence. Here’s proof of his stupidity: one of his weapon upgrades allows him to fire a jet of hot water. “Prepare for a mild scolding, bad guys!”

Most likely to: mistake a shark for a dolphin.
Least likely to: eat a tuna sandwich; even in the world of the Skylanders, cannibalism is illegal.

Pop Fizz

A new addition to the Skylanders family, fuzz-ball Pop Fizz gets his name not from being addicted to popping candy but for being an alchemist. His catchphrase is “The Motion of the Potion!” which suggests to us that he’s hard at work making the ultimate laxative. Well, somebody has to invent these things…

Most likely to: store toilet roll in the fridge.
Least likely to: bag the lead role in Avatar 2.


While we can comprehend that Zook is a plant-like being who fires missiles made out of thorns, we can’t comprehend why such a life form would want to be in close proximity to fire and explosions. Perhaps he gets a thrill of out being in close danger, just like those adrenaline-junky rabbits you see eating grass next to a busy road.

Most likely to: unknowingly catch gangrene.
Least likely to: star in a 2D platformer sponsored by Chupa-Chups.

Double Trouble

The mask. Why the mask? We want to know what’s underneath it. Does he have a caring and honest face which wouldn’t scare even the smallest of bad guys? Are his features so deformed that even the mask is an improvement? One thing we do know about this mysterious being is that his catchphrase is “Boom Shock-A-Laka!” so obviously just like us, he spent most of the ‘90s playing NBA Jam.

Most likely to: feature as a power-up in the next Crash Bandicoot game.
Least likely to: stand next to Zook.

Wrecking Ball

We’re told that this character is in fact a grub worm who after being dropped into a cauldron as an ingredient ended up eating the lot and becoming the critter he is now. All fine and well, but he must feel a bit down to be the only Skylander to resemble a battered and bruised testicle. A wrecked ball indeed.

Most likely to: just sit there, hanging.
Least likely to: feature on a poster for a “Check yourself, before you wreck yourself” campaign.

May 22
By Matt Gander In Blog 5 Comments

Just when we thought we’d seen the last of the special edition Skylanders until Skylanders: Giants arrives, Activision has slipped a few new ones out. Joining the rare gold and silver Skylanders toys are the similarly elusive glow in the dark and crystal clear figures.

Wrecking Ball, Warnado and Zap seem to be the figures given the glowing treatment. A set of all three sold for AU$500.00 (£312.01) while individually they’ve been selling for everything between £59 and £159.

The crystal figures have been fetching even greater amounts. Again, just a handful are available. Stealth Elf seems to the most common, followed by Cynder. The word ‘common’ there really is pushing it. A crystal Stealth Elf reached US$392.00 (£247.99) after 14 bids while a crystal Cynder went for US$250.00 (£158.16). This crystal Wham Shell didn’t manage to find a new home though.

Also of note are the limited edition Stump Smash figures, available only to winners of a recent Frito Lay’s competition. 7,334 of these were up for grabs so they shouldn’t be that hard to track down. What makes this figure unique is that it has been flocked to give a velvet-feel, presumably to imitate moss. Prices have been averaging US$100 (around £65).

This last figure reminds us of a He-Man character – the infamous Moss Man.

May 02
By Matt Gander In Cache in the Attic 5 Comments

With the figures selling out quickly and Activision drip-feeding details of Skylanders: Giants in order to get fans in a frenzy, Skylanders fever is very much in full swing.

We’ve noted before in a previous eBay round-up how a few of the rarer figures have sold for large amounts, but a quick look at eBay’s completed listings is all it takes to reveal that figures routinely sell for large sums.

A special Skylanders round-up beckons.

Starting off this feature with a bang is this set of six new and sealed gold and silver Skylanders which fetched $1,050 (£651) on a Buy It Now auction. Three silver figures, also new, managed to sell for £310 with 8 bids.

The most a silver figure has sold for on its own, at least at the time of typing, is this silver Eruptor which ended at $294.96 (£183) after 24 bids. This silver Dino-Rang comes close with £165 (23 bids).

There are a few exclusive figures that fans are eager to add to their collection too. A 2012 Nuremberg Toy Fair exclusive Hex figure sold for £410 on a UK auction, attracting 25 bids. There’s also a metallic Cynder which was only sold at a New York toy fair. One of these ended for £185 (34 bids).

As well as the gold and silver editions, a few ‘legendary’ figures exist. These have a slightly slicker paint job than the usual. All figures appear in the game as normal though, no matter what edition they are. Toys R Us are the only place you can get Legendary Trigger Happy. An odd choice as this character is packaged with the starter set. He can still draw in the bids, though.

The latest set of figures sell for dozens of times over their original value too. These include Camo (one of which sold for £47.16), Warnado (£43.43) and Wham Shell which ended at £60.

Skylanders: Giants, as the name suggests, is going to include super-sized figures that’ll no doubt sell for a higher price than the standard figures. Hear that? That’s the sounds of Activision dive bombing into a swimming pool filled with money.

Feb 29
By Matt Gander In Cache in the Attic 1 Comment

It seems fitting to start off this month’s eBay round-up by talking about the one eBay-related story that gained the attention of the press. A set of rare silver and gold Skylanders figures ended at a colossal $1,263 (£797) on 18th February. That’s on top of the £30 delivery charge the buyer faced.

Another set with two silver figures also fetched an absurd amount – £399. The most a single figure has sold for, as far as we can see by eBay’s recent completed listings, is this glitter-covered Dark Cynder which sold for £189. It was only available to those who attended Toy Fair 2012.

What could be worth more than a set of shiny action figures? How about the most unlikely thing of all – a Mega Drive football game. A rare blue box version of World Championship Soccer 2 sold for £808 (21 bids). The re-release version, which came in a box made to look like it was covered in brown paper, is virtually worthless.

This Bubsy the Bobcat promo set must almost certainly be one of a kind. For £230 the buyer received an early version of Bubsy II on an EPROM cart, a demo version of Bubsy II on another cart, a badge and postcard and a launch party invite from 1993 printed on a foam flip-flop. A flip-flop.

Think that was bizarre? Take a look at this Sonic the Hedgehog eau de toilette auction, which ended at £149 (25 bids). We quite like the seller’s blurb for this one:

“You are bidding on a super rare bottle of SEGA Sonic The Hedgehog Eau De Toilette cologne. This item was in my sons collection and he only sprayed it one time out of curiosity. I just gave it a very light spray to make sure it is working and now I smell like the blue dude as I write this auction. It’s actually kind of nice! Maybe I should keep it LOL! Just kidding! Actually, it’s nearly full. It sprays using an atomizer, and the volume is approximately 3.5 fluid ounces… less the few sprays as mentioned above. My son basically had this for display in his collection. This is meant to be a little kid’s cologne, so don’t expect it to smell like Channel No 5, but like I said, it’s not bad! And no, it doesn’t smell like a chili dog LOL! (Only a Sonic fan will get that joke)”

Not only are we no curious as to what it smells like, but also to what Channel 5 smells like. Australian soaps and Spice Girls, probably.

Here’s another auction that had us rubbing our eyes: a factory sealed copy of Zelda: Link’s Awakening that went for £2,050 (25 bids). A sealed Wario Land also went for £797 (20 bids) and a copy of Battletoads for £375 (14 bids). Nobody, however, wanted five sealed copies of Final Fantasy I & II for £160. Did you know there were plans for a Battletoads cartoon? Judging by the quality of animation in the pilot, the fact it wasn’t made into a full series was probably for the best.

A new and unused Master System II went for £99.99 (2 bids) while a copy of Power Strike 2 sold for a little more – £120.

It has been said that the price of SNES stuff has shot up in the past year. Completed auctions ring true here – a copy of Cool World went for £670 (29 bids), Daze Before Christmas for £607 (30 bids), Mega Man X2 for £575 (21 bids) and Aero the Acrobat 2 for £330 (9 bids). An American auction for a Blockbusters’ Donkey Kong Country competition cart also sold for $899.99 (£567) on a Buy It Now.

Searching for PSP stuff that’s sold for high amounts becomes a whole lot harder this month due to the costly PS Vita being released. We’ve found a few bits though – a Core Crisis limited edition bundle that went for £300 (1 bid), a Japanese Dissidia 012 Duodecim console that sold for £215 and a development system that fetched $299 (£189).

An unreleased prototype of Aliens vs Predator on Lynx sold for £215 (5 bids). It’s a first person shooter that would have been released around the same time as AvP on the Jaguar. Atari hoped that it would be a much needed system seller for the Lynx. If they had actually thought to release it, it may have been.

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