Genre: Resource Management
ESRB: E for Everyone
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Released: November 8th 2012
Skylanders is a franchise which I have always observed from a distance, being a child of pokemon, around 10 when it really started (Just like Ash!/nerd) I felt like I was too old now to start something so new that I was clearly not the target audience of (though I am not too old for pokemon yet, that would be ludicrous.). Not to mention the price point of entry was a bit daunting considering the importance of buying extra figurines, while extremely collectible I just wasn’t ready to invest myself. I was able to avoid all that though by downloading the free app store game “Skylanders, Lost Islands.”
Lost Islands is a simple real time strategy game based around point and click resource management, like many similar titles on the iphone, but what makes it is the Skylanders atmosphere being applied to the formulaic game type. I can’t emphasize enough how much I’ve been enjoying this game, its become instantly and incredibly addictive for me, and I know that’s exactly what this type of game is designed to be , but it doesn’t always work if some aspects are not done correctly. The two specific aspects I think are well executed are the way they ramp up the crops and adventures, making longer ones give more, but at a reduced rate as compared to the shorter equivalents.
This way you can let the game play itself when you are more busy, but the more attention you pay it (by repeatedly doing shorter crops etc. rather than just doing the long ones, which you don’t have access to at earlier levels so that earlier on you have to pay a lot of attention to the game and get yourself hooked) the faster you will progress. The significantly harder to earn currency, gems in this case, are rare, but not so rare that it makes it frustrating to play without using any real money, which is what I do, it achieves the perfect balance of excitement upon receiving a gem and feasibility of earning more if you just keep playing a little longer, and longer, and longer. The big draw here though is the Skylanders Heroes, instantly recognizable well defined characters of which you can earn random ones through leveling and if you’re determined enough you can buy specific ones with a boat load of gems.
This is why I keep playing this game, I’m not just mindlessly leveling, I’m working towards my next hero, and leveling up the heroes I’ve already earned. By creating 55 unique characters, each with their own back story who you add to your team by the sweat of your brow, and then lovingly send on adventures so they level up, and can even see them walking around your islands when they aren’t doing anything, it gives your world instant depth and variability. Sure the the crops are just more putting the square peg in the square hole over and over, and the buildings quickly turned into eery rows of identical houses and community centers, but every new hero is a fresh new aspect that gets woven throughout the entire game and the way you play it going into the future. Not only that but Activision has brilliantly incorporated web codes, as they do with every Skylanders game they push out, which allow you to benefit from the physical toys you may have bought for other Skylanders games or may even buy for this one, by unlocking them instantly. By having 55 different heroes to choose from I guarantee if you are the type of person this franchise targets you will find a favorite, or even a couple, you will become attached to it, and you will be tempted to buy its statuette. (Terrafin for me, in case you were wondering.).
- The 55 different heroes keep the game fresh and engaging
- The graphics are vibrant and look great, something many similar games skimp on
- The Incorporation of web codes is inviting for those already enslaved by the Skylanders franchise but not debilitating for those not yet inducted
- The gameplay can be formulaic and stale if you are familiar with this type of game
- Some of the buttons are small and mildly unresponsive on my iphone 4, which can be frustrating at times
8 out of 10
Article from Gamersyndrome.com