From one angle, they’re a range of figurines of many shapes and sizes. Some have transparent or reflective parts while others strike various poses. While they are non-poseable, all of them have gone through durability tests and are said to be safe for children. This means that they are not too hard to be able to cause injury, or too soft to get chipped. All of them has a protective base that doubles up as a stand as well as storing something that is crucial to their unique feature.
Meet a new range of collectibles that blurs the distinction between toy figurines and video game content. We may have seen many figurines of past video game characters but none I believe functions as both. Using a ‘Portal of Power’ that is attached to the respective platforms (Xbox360, PS3, PC, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo 3DS), you simply need to place these figurines on the portal to summon them in the game.
However, it does not stop there. This device also has a ‘brain’ with which remembers their in-game progress and unlocks. These virtual characters can remember their origin and progress, so every unlocked skill and purchased accessory are stored within the figurine’s memory device. And the process where this is done is hidden and seamless. We witnessed a demonstration where a virtual character puts on a new helmet, removed from the ‘portal’ and placed onto another ‘portal’ and reappears with the new helmet. All in a matter of seconds. The portal itself provides a visual treat and curiosity (among kids) as it emits different colours ‘of power’.
Why would anyone move the figurine from one portal to another? Therein lies another ‘magical’ feature. While the portals are manufactured specifically for their respective platforms, the toys are universal and free to roam from one portal to another. This means I could be playing with my toy collectible character on my Xbox360 and then bring it over to my relatives’ place and join his game on a Wii or PS3! All my upgrades and unlocks are immediately stored within the figurine so I can continue with my progress when i return home.
That’s not all. Another purpose of ‘sharing’ your characters could be due to elemental obstacles or requirements. Let’s say your character is fire-based – it would not be able to traverse on water terrains. So what you can do is to get a friend with a water-based creature to come over and unlock the terrain for you.
The game ships with a portal and three characters, and according to the presentation, they are sufficient to take you from the beginning to the end. It should take between nine to twelve hours depending on the pace you take. Do not worry about the quality of the adventure need not worry. Great minds are behind it.
However, you will not be able to explore the whole universe with those three characters. If you are a collector, you can go for additional characters sold separately in single packs or get another multiple-character pack.
But characters are not the only thing in the pipeline. There are also items that be summoned into the universe which grants boosts to the current party. At any one time, up to two characters and one item can be placed onto the portal.
Although tied to an elemental power, these Skylander characters may receive different boosts and upgrades along the way and this makes them appear ‘differently’, say in a different colour. The customisation does not end there. If you don’t like their default names, you can change that too!
Those who attended the event gets to bring home a random character in the goodie bag, with a special option to receive certain boosts from the developer. Naturally, I opted for that.
And holding that character collectible in my hand, I can’t wait to bring it to life when the game is eventually released (should be later this year).
I won’t be surprised if a couple of them finds their way in my collection eventually. This is one collectible that will not stay in the display shelves forever.