Skylanders

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Skylanders
Skylanders logo.png
Genres Platform
Role-playing
Developers Toys For Bob (2011–2012, 2014, 2016–)
n-Space (2012–2013)
Beenox (2013, 2015)
Vicarious Visions (2013, 2015)
Publishers Activision (2011–)
Square Enix (2013) (Japan)
Creators Insomniac Games (Spyro characters)
Platforms iOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One
First release Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
October 13, 2011
Latest release Skylanders: Imaginators
October 14, 2016

Skylanders is a toys-to-life action video game series published by Activision.[1][2] Games in the series are played by placing character figures called the Skylanders on the "Portal of Power," a device that reads the figures' tags through NFC and "imports" the character represented by the figure into the game as a playable character.

A few of the Skylanders available for play include Spyro the Dragon and Cynder, both of which were previously included in The Legend of Spyro series. Skylanders is otherwise unrelated to the series.

Plot[edit]

The game's setting takes place in a world called Skylands, a realm filled with adventure and floating islands. It is the very center of the universe where it is constantly threatened by evil forces who seek to rule Skylands and gain access to all worlds.[3] Luckily, a band of heroes called the Skylanders use their abilities and machinery to defend their world from various threats, which they have done for generations. They worked with the Portal Masters in keeping peace and balance in Skylands, battling the forces of evil, and protecting the Core of Light. The Skylanders have an unbreakable bond with their Portal Masters. Though they are not servants, the Skylanders chose to serve their Portal Master and do so eagerly. Each Skylander is associated with one of the ten elements of Skylands: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Magic, Tech, Life, Undead, Light, or Dark.

The main plot is the Skylanders going through levels to prevent Kaos, the series' main antagonist, from ruling over Skylands.

The console versions of each game follow identical storylines, while the Nintendo 3DS versions follow stories different from those of the console versions.

Games[edit]

Timeline of release years
2011 Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
2012 Skylanders: Giants
2013 Skylanders: Swap Force
2014 Skylanders: Trap Team
2015 Skylanders: SuperChargers
2016 Skylanders: Imaginators

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (2011)[edit]

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure is the first installment in the Skylanders series. It serves as the introduction to the Spyro character in the Skylanders franchise as well as a cast of playable characters.

Skylanders: Giants (2012)[edit]

Skylanders: Giants is the second installment in the Skylanders series set as a direct sequel to Spyro's Adventure. It introduces a new team of Skylanders called the "Giants," massive creatures who were the first Skylanders assembled to stop the reign of Arkeyans. Unlike the other Skylanders, the Giants can lift, throw, and destroy trees as well as walking over things that may contain coins. The players use the Giants when Kaos has found a way to reactivate the Arkeyan Conquertron.

Skylander characters from this game have an orange base.

Skylanders: Swap Force (2013)[edit]

Skylanders: Swap Force is the third installment. Taking place in another part of Skylands called the Cloudbreak Islands, the player takes control of a new group of Skylanders called the "Swap Force" who hold the ability to swap halves and abilities. Using the Swap Force, the Skylanders use them to fight Kaos and his mother Kaossandra.

Skylander characters from this game have a blue base.

Skylanders: Trap Team (2014)[edit]

Skylanders: Trap Team is the fourth installment. The player takes control of a new team of Skylanders called the "Trap Team," who use Traptanium weaponry to defeat various villains after Kaos has freed them from Cloudcracker Prison. The game also introduces Traps, small Traptanium crystals that allow the player to capture the villains in the game and play as them.[4]

Skylander characters from this game have a red base.

Skylanders: SuperChargers (2015)[edit]

Skylanders: SuperChargers is the fifth installment in the series. Introducing a new group of Skylanders called the "SuperChargers" who pilot special vehicles that allows the Skylanders to create rifts to travel through like portals. Two characters included on the Nintendo console versions are Mario franchise characters Donkey Kong as Turbo Charge Donkey Kong and Bowser as Hammer Slam Bowser.

Skylanders: Imaginators (2016)[edit]

A sixth game was released on October 16, 2016 in North America, October 14, 2016 in Europe, and October 13, 2016 in Australia and New Zealand.[5] In June 2016, Activision announced that the game would be titled Skylanders Imaginators, which allows players to create and customize their own Skylanders called Imaginators. The title was developed by Toys for Bob.[6]

Crash Bandicoot and Doctor Neo Cortex are guest stars as playable characters in the game, marking their first appearance in a video game since Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 2 in 2010.[7] They are exclusive to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 starter packs, but are playable on all consoles. Crash Bandicoot and Doctor Neo Cortex appears as part of the Sensei Skylanders whose job is to train the Imaginators.

On January 13, 2017, Activision announced that Skylanders: Imaginators would be released on the Nintendo Switch.[8]

Spin-offs[edit]

Activision released six Skylanders spin-off games on mobile devices.[9] These titles include:

  • Skylanders: Cloud Patrol
  • Skylanders: Battlegrounds
  • Skylanders: Lost Islands
  • Skylanders: Collection Vault
  • Skylanders: SuperChargers Racing
  • Skylanders: Battlecast

Figures[edit]

In addition to the standard figures, there are variants such as "Dark Spyro" for Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure and "Punch Pop Fizz" for Skylanders: Giants, both exclusives for the Nintendo 3DS versions of the respective game, "legendary" variants (exclusive to Toys "R" Us in the US) "Nitro" variants (exclusive to Target in the US) and "chase" variants which are just an aesthetic difference on the figure with no in-game difference.

The second game introduced the "Giants," larger Skylanders who can lift trees and boulders, move islands, and other things normal Skylanders can't do. There are also Series 2 versions of the returning characters that featured a new exclusive upgrade called a Wow Pow Power as well as the ability to switch upgrade path, and "lightcore" figures which light up while on the portal and have a light bomb attack when first entered into the game level. Giant figures also light up, but do not have the light bomb attack. There were 8 giants, 8 new "core" characters, 24 re-posed characters, 8 lightcore figures, 3 magic items, and 4 sidekicks. The 8 characters from Spyro's Adventure that did not get a new figurine in Giants are referred to by collectors as "the forgotten eight".[10]

The third game of the series, Swap Force, introduces the "SWAP Force" figures with the ability to switch top and bottom halves, as well as returning characters featuring an additional Wow Pow ability. There were 16 SWAP Force Skylanders, 16 new core characters, 16 re-posed figures, and 8 lightcore figures.

Skylanders: Trap Team, the fourth game of the series, introduced the Trap Master Skylanders, characters who wield big weapons made of traptanium, and traps that allow capturing of enemies in the game and playing as them.[4] It also introduced mini figurines and two new elements, Dark and Light. Minis differ from earlier sidekicks by being playable in-game. They were sold in double packs with their normal-sized counterpart. There were 18 Trap Masters, 18 new core characters, 5 returning characters, and 16 minis.

On February 5, 2015, Activision announced that a fifth Skylanders game was in development. It was scheduled to be released in the fall. It was later listed on Amazon as 'Skylanders: Superchargers'. On June 3, 2015 Activision announced Skylanders: SuperChargers release date was on September 20, 2015.[11][12] This installment introduced the SuperChargers where they ride special vehicles and its members consist of past Skylanders who are reimagined and SuperChargers Skylanders who are new to the video game series. Two characters included are Nintendo characters Donkey Kong and Bowser. They have announced with it a card game called Battlecast for iOS and Android where battle cards of Skylanders and villains can be scanned into the game and fight. It will have PVP. In 2016, it will be released with starter card packs along with small booster packs.

Editions and Series[edit]

The game that a figurine was released for can be determined by the colour of the transparent plastic layer underneath the base, or by the shape of the base. There is no official term for this, "edition" is used here for convenience.

  1. Spyro's Adventure – green
  2. Giants – orange
  3. Swap Force – blue
  4. Trap Team – red
  5. Superchargers – base shaped like stylised engine block
  6. Imaginators – Senseis – on the front of each base there is an image of their element and their character class.

Within each edition, figurines are released in staggered fashion. For the first five games there were five waves each.[13]

Figurines are generally forward-compatible with subsequent games. Figurines for new characters are not backward compatible, but new versions of earlier characters are. For example: a Spyro's Adventure Gill Grunt is playable in all games; Trap Team Tidal Wave Gill Grunt will appear as normal Gill Grunt in the earlier three games, but will have an extra power in Trap Team and later.

A new figurine released for an earlier character is called a re-pose (also spelled repose) or returning character. The original version is Series 1, the first re-pose is Series 2, and so on. The series number appears in-game and is printed on the corresponding collector's card.

The series number does not necessarily correspond to the edition. For example, Series 1 Shroom Boom was part of the Giants (2nd game) release cycle, and Series 2 Shroom Boom was part of the Trap Team (4th game) release cycle. An exception is Gill Grunt, which had a new pose released for each of the first four games.

Inclusions[edit]

From Skylanders Spyro's Adventure to Trap Team,[14] each character figurine comes with a sticker sheet, collector's card, and unique code. Superchargers, and Imaginators doesn't include these. The code can be used to unlock the character in Skylanders games that don't use the Portal of Power (mobile and web-based games).[15]

Types[edit]

The majority of NFC toys for Skylanders are playable characters, but there are also magic items, level unlockers, and game-specific items (traps, vehicles, imaginator crystals). In Imaginators there will be a few characters (Wild Storm, and Ro Bow) that act as level unlockers.

Universe[edit]

Characters[edit]

While the Skylanders are the main playable characters in the series, they are aided by many supporting characters and face many villains throughout their adventures. The players act as "Portal Masters" where they place the Skylander figure on the portal to operate them.

Spyro the Dragon is a popular Skylander where he is the number one defender of Skylands. Each of the Skylanders were discovered by a Portal Master named Master Eon, Spyro, or another Skylander after they were shown fighting off threats to their homeland.

Known allies of the Skylanders include the Mabu pilot Flynn, the Mabu adventurer Cali, Master Eon's Mabu assistant Hugo, the Woodburrow inhabitant Tessa and her bird Whiskers, the fairy Persephone, and the veteran Mabu Buzz.

A rogue Portal Master named Kaos serves as the primary antagonist of the series. Outside of being served by his Troll butler Glumshanks, Kaos is served by an army of Cyclopes, Drows, Chompies, Greebles, Spell Punks, and Trolls.

Skylands[edit]

The Skylands is the main setting of the series, a world lying at the very center of the universe. It consists of many floating islands where each one has its own ecosystems like forests, rainforests, deserts, arctic areas, swamps, mountains, and sea-like areas.

Each of the games has a hub where the Skylanders can start their missions from:

  • Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure has the ruins as the Hub where Master Eon's citadel was located and was slowly restored when the Core of Light was reassembled. In the Nintendo 3DS version, it was replaced by the Sanctuary.
  • Skylanders: Giants has the Dread-Yacht which is Flynn's airship.
  • Skylanders: Swap Force' has Tessa's homeland Woodburrow on the Cloudbreak Islands. In the 3DS version, it was replaced by Flynn's hometown called Boom Town.
  • Skylanders: Trap Team, Skylanders: SuperChargers, and Skylanders: Imaginators has the Skylanders Academy established by Buzz where those who want to become Skylanders get their education. By Skylanders: SuperChargers, the Skylanders Academy was redesigned following recent attacks.
  • Along with the Academy, Skylanders: Imaginators has the Mysterious Ancient Place (M.A.P.), the place where all creation was created and the Ancients' headquarters. It connects the game's chapters and the Academy.

Innovation[edit]

In 2011, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was the second video game to use the "Toys to life" concept, with each new release, Activision added new innovations to the concept. With Giants, Lightcore figures were introduced. These toys light up when they are placed over the Portal of Power. With Swap Force, the new characters can separate their body and legs and mix with other characters to create unique combinations. With Trap Team, you can trap the villains of Skylands (including Kaos) and play as them to fight the forces of Evil and two new elements called Light (shaped like a sun) and its opposite, Dark (shaped like a crescent moon). With Superchargers, Vehicles were introduced to the series. Players could also do online racing and online co-op adventure mode. In Imaginators, players are capable of creating their own Skylanders, called Imaginators, from "Creation Crystals," who are boosted by "Senseis," some of which are former villains. This idea was brought to life by the creater/idea person Jackson Marchino. He is in the game by the character Dark Snapshot.

Music[edit]

Lorne Balfe has composed the soundtracks to all the Skylanders games thus far, while Hans Zimmer composed the main theme.

In other media[edit]

Novels[edit]

A series of books in the Skylanders franchise started with Skylanders: The Machine of Doom that takes place before the events of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure. It was written by Cavan Scott, who would later write sequels to the novel under the Skylanders: The Mask of Power series, which also serve as prequels to Spyro's Adventure.

IDW Publishing[edit]

IDW Publishing created a comic series associated with the Skylanders franchise that has events that take place in between the games.[16]

Possible film[edit]

Activison has commented on the possibility of a movie and TV series based on the Skylanders reboot as something that they could look into in the future.[17] On May 6, 2014, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg announced that the Activision team had an interest in "jumping on the film adaptation bandwagon" and adapting Skylanders into a film.[18]

TV series[edit]

In 2015, it was announced that Activision Blizzard Studios would produce an animated television series based on Skylanders.[19] The first season debuted on Netflix on October 28, 2016, with the second season to premiere on October 6, 2017.[20][21]

Reception[edit]

Aggregate review scores
As of October 1, 2013.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure (PC) 93%[22]
(3DS) 84%[23]
(X360) 81%[24]
(Wii) 80%[25]
(PS3) 79%[26]
(3DS) 82[27]
(Wii) 81[28]
(X360) 78[29]
(PS3) 77[30]
Skylanders: Giants (X360) 82%[31]
(PS3) 79%[32]
(WIIU) 78%[33]
(Wii) 78%[34]
(3DS) 63%[35]
(X360) 80[36]
(WIIU) 80[37]
(Wii) 78[38]
(PS3) 77[39]
(3DS) 59[40]
Skylanders: Swap Force (WIIU) 88%[41]
(Wii) 88%[42]
(X360) 85%[43]
(PS3) 84%[44]
(XONE) 80%[45]
(PS4) 80%[46]
(3DS) 73%[47]
(WIIU) 89[48]
(X360) 83[49]
(PS3) 83[50]
(PS4) 79[51]
(3DS) 68[52]
Skylanders: Trap Team (WIIU) 84%[53]
(XONE) 80%[54]
(PS4) 78%[55]
(3DS) 60%[56]
(WIIU) 86[57]
(XONE) 78[58]
(PS4) 78[59]
Skylanders: SuperChargers (WIIU) 86%[60]
(XONE) 77%[61]
(PS4) 81%[62]
(X360) 70%[63]
(WIIU) 87[64]
(XONE) 76[65]
(PS4) 81[66]

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure received generally favorable reviews, many praising the technological use of the "Portal of Power." Although some reviewers criticized the absence of online multiplayer, the toys for the Skylanders were widely praised. Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was nominated for two Toy Industry Association awards: "Game of the Year" and "Innovative Toy of the Year."[67]

Skylanders Giants was released to generally positive reviews. However, the reviews from GameRankings and Metacritic were slightly lower than that of the previous game on some platforms. Cheat Code Central gave the game 9.2/10 and commented that "it feels like someone finally got everything right when creating a sequel," and praising the ability to use the Skylanders toys from the first game in the second.

Skylanders: Swap Force was released to very positive reviews, with the reviews from GameRankings and Metacritic being the highest and most genuinely positive of the series so far across all platforms. Gaming website Quarter To Three gave both the Wii U and Xbox 360 a perfect score of 5/5. Video Game website Gaming Age gave the PlayStation 3 version the highest grade of an "A" and further commented that "Whether you’re a Skylanders fan or a gamer who’s looking for a charming and unique family-friendly game series to get into, Skylanders SWAP Force comes highly recommended."

Skylanders: Trap Team was released to positive reviews. However, the reviews from GameRankings and Metacritic were slightly lower than that of the previous game on most platforms with only the IOS/Tablet version receiving the highest score.

Skylanders: SuperChargers received positive reviews. The reviews from GameRankings and Metacritic were better than the previous game on most Platforms, with the exception of the Xbox one version slightly lower and the Wii and ios versions having the highest scores.

As of February 2015, the Skylanders series has crossed the threshold of $3 billion in sales, with 175 million toys sold since 2011, making the series one of the top 20 highest-selling video game franchises of all time.[68][69] As of 2015, over 250 million toys were sold.[70]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]