Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Unboxing Thumpling Skylanders Giants Sidekick

What? Thumpling, Water Element Sidekick to Thumpback
Where Did You Get It?  Frito-Lay Promotion
What Did It Cost?  $2.50
Order Date:  July 15th, 2013
Arrival Date:  July 31st, 2013
Blog Link for More Info on Skylanders Giants Sidekicks:

Much to my surprise, the mail today had a special haul...

While I knew what the boxes should have inside based on the return address, I assumed I would be getting Eye-Small and Barkley, the two Skylanders Giants Sidekicks I ordered first (July 10th, 2013).  That was not the case...Inside Box (yes, BOX...I know, big upgrade) #1 was none other than Thumpling!

Here is the video showcasing the unboxing (and promo of the recent Swap Force reveal that went live on Monday!) and comparisons to his larger counterpart, Thumpback:

Here are some stand alone shots so you get a feel for the size difference etc.

Thumpling, Front:

Thumpling, Back:

Thumpback and Thumpling:

Size Chart: Giant, Regular Skylander, Sidekick:

Sidekick Reunion:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Skylanders Swap Force New Character Art and Gameplay: Fryno, Rattle Shake, Night Shift, Magna Charge, Free Ranger

Late last week I got access to some BRAND NEW, NEVER BEFORE SEEN Skylanders Swap Force content!  This ranged from a quick Swap Force Fact Sheet (copied at the bottom), to brand new screen shots, all the way up to a 4 minute or so clip of never before seen gameplay!

As of Noon CST Monday, July 29th, 2013, you should be seeing this!  We got some great shots of Free Ranger, Magna Charge, Night Shift, and Rattle Shake (in various different formats).

Then, the folks at Activision treated us to some brand new gameplay footage.  If you scroll down below you can see the stand alone pictures as well as some of my thoughts on things...I'll end off with the attached Skylander Swap Force fact sheet straight from Activison.  Here is the video:

Leave a comment to let me know what you thought about this reveal.  What character looked the best?  Which powers caught your eye?  How do you feel about the voice acting, characters in general, and enemies?  How about the graphics....can you tell how much better they are?

We start off with Fryno ("Crash and Burn") a brand new, Fire Element Skylander.  He is shown taking down a few enemies with bralwer punches (36) and a hot rod dash (40).

Free Ranger ("Whip up a Storm") an Air Element Swap Force character then came into view and took out several enemies with some powers ranging from punches (45), some sort of finishing move (78), a projectile lightning bolt (13), and then some sort of a tornado like move that not only damaged the enemy (20), but disoriented AND moved him!

Hoot Loop ("Let's Ruffle Some Feathers") a Magic Element Swap Force Skylander then appeared (briefly) and cast some attack that dealt damage (24) and then seemed to chain off into three separate and smaller attacks (8).  The main feature shown was his teleport ability...It served very well to help eliminate the enemies.  If you look close, you will see a Gillman right as Hoot Loop appears and walks forward.  You will also notice that the area is called "Gobblepod Sanctuary."

The next feature went to Rattle Shake ("Go Ahead, Snake My Day") one of the Undead Element Swap Force Skylanders.  He is shown winning a Swap Force Zone challenge that had him use the bouncing ability to pop 3 Kaos Balloons.  This kind of reminded me of the structure of "elemental zones" found in the 3DS version of SSA.

We then saw a combo of Free Ranger and Rattle Shake in the form of...Free Shake!  This is, of course, Free Ranger's top end with Rattle Shake's bottom.  The voice and powers (ie base, secondary, tertiary, and upgraded attacks) all remain Free Ranger...What changes is the bottom half and the subsequent ability.  With "Shake" down below, Free Ranger transforms into Free Shake and can utilize the bouncing ability of Rattle Shake to gather some loot and clear an area.  We also hear one of his lines "For my nest egg!"

The next feature went back to a new, non-Swap Force Skylander in the Undead Element's Roller Brawl.  She looked pretty impressive!  She was against a tough enemy and used her roller skating to circle and speed around an enemy (think Ghost Roaster's Skull Master, or Cynder's Dash).  Once the enemy dropped his guard, she unloaded with a melee of hits, the first dealing 51 damage and subsequent blows landing 34-44.  We then saw her seemingly roll her roller skates, which are a lot like blade gears, toward the enemy...after taking care of all the enemies she used the line "Down and Derby."

Our last highlight came in the form of Swap Force Skylander Freeze Blade.  Actually, the first we saw of him he was Freeze Zone.  Freeze utilized Blast Zone's lower half to blast quickly down a path and to an enemey platform.  It was soon after used to blast thru an enemy on the platform, lol.

The next cut scene brought us to full on Freeze Blade and another Swap Force Zone...This time, it was the speed (?) zone and Freeze Blade was racing against the clock to get to the finish line.  This was eerily similar to what I remember as a kid with Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles as I attempted to attain Chaos Emeralds. 

And that was that...all too soon the video came to an end.  That said, we saw a lot of cool stuff, got a feel for some of the character's personalities and powers, and saw a few more enemies and game locations.  If you pay careful attention you will see some Elemental Gates and other Swap Force Zones around the areas in the clips.

Skylanders Swap Force: New Character Illustrations and Screen Shots from Activison

Free Ranger, Air Element Swap Force
Official Character Illustration
Free Ranger Screen Shot

Free Ranger vs Chompies

Magna Charge, Tech Element Swap Force
Official Character Illustration
Magna Charge vs Frigid Chompies

Night Shift, Undead Element Swap Force
Official Character Illustration

Rattle Shake, Undead Element Swap Force
Official Character Illustration

Rattle Shake Screen Shot

Rattle Charge (Rattle Shake + Magna Charge)

Rattle Shift (Rattle Shake + Night Shift)

Skylanders Swap Force Official Fact Sheet (Direct Copy)

Skylanders is “mixing it up” with the newest game in the award-winning, top-selling franchise.   Skylanders SWAP Force builds upon the success of the franchise’s signature gameplay and collectible toy experience, adding an all-new dimension to the “toys to life” innovation.  The game introduces a compelling play pattern -- dynamic swapability -- that lets gamers transform 16 SWAP Force inter-action figures into more than 250 unique characters by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys.  Now, Portal Masters can mix and match characters’ powers and moves and experience an unprecedented level of choice than ever before seen in a Skylanders game.   Fans also can play Skylanders SWAP Force with their entire collection of 100+ characters from Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure ® and Skylanders GiantsTM .

Skylanders SWAP Force features new abilities – such as flying, climbing, digging, bouncing, or teleporting – which can be used in previously unexplored areas of Skylands centered on these play mechanics.  Additionally, the game features 16 new core characters, eight new LightCore™ characters and 16 new versions of fan favorite Skylanders from previous games.  Now kids will have more than 100 characters from which to choose. The game’s high-resolution graphics brings detailed characters and richer environments to life, immersing players in the game like never before.

In Skylanders SWAP Force , Portal Masters embark on an all new adventure in the mysterious Cloudbreak Islands, home to a mystical volcano that erupts every hundred years to replenish the magic in Skylands.  During an epic battle, a brave group of Skylanders were caught in the volcano’s eruption, which blasted them apart and sent them to earth.  But, the magic of the volcano gave these heroes a remarkable new power -- the ability to swap halves – turning them into a special team known as the SWAP Force.  Meanwhile, Kaos is back with a new evil plan.  And now, Portal Masters everywhere must reassemble the SWAP Force -- in their original form or in new combinations -- and send them back to Cloudbreak to save Skylands!

o   Vast Possibilities for Play Skylanders SWAP Force features 16 new SWAP Force inter-action figures with new powers and a fresh play pattern – dynamic swapability – that lets kids create more than 250 unique character combinations, giving them more choice than ever before over how they fight and move in the game.  With each new addition to their Skylanders SWAP Force collection, Portal Masters unlock an exciting world of possibilities.  

o   More Play Options Skylanders SWAP Force delivers a diverse and dynamic, story-driven gameplay experience, filled with adventure, combat, puzzles, mini games, and drop-in/drop-out co-op play -- all set within compelling environments.  With each new addition to their Skylanders SWAP Force collection, Portal Masters unlock exciting new possibilities.  Seasoned fans can play Skylanders SWAP Force with their entire collection of 100+ forward compatible characters from Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants.  Plus, the level cap has been raised to 20 for all Skylanders characters, including legacy characters.  Additionally, based on fan demand, all Skylanders now have the ability to jump.
o   All-New Characters – More than 50 collectible characters including 32 never-before-seen Skylanders heroes each with unique powers and personalities::
       16 new SWAP Force characters
       16 new Core Skylanders characters
       8 LightCore™ Skylanders characters
       16 new versions of fan-favorite Skylanders from the previous games, each featuring an all new “Wow Pow” upgrade power
o   Exciting Adventure – Portal Masters will embark on a brand new adventure, encountering never-before-seen enemies and challenges, as well as meeting memorable non-playable characters who can help the Skylanders defeat Kaos and his minions in the Cloudbreak Islands.
o   Unique Swap Force Zones Skylanders SWAP Force characters feature new abilities – such as flying, climbing, digging, bouncing, or teleporting – each of which can be explored in new areas of Skylands.
o   Enhanced Graphics Quality Skylanders SWAP Force high-resolution graphics bring to life amazingly detailed characters and richer environments to deliver a high level of visual fidelity that immerse players in the game like never before.
Publisher:                  Activision Publishing, Inc.
Developers:               Vicarious Visions (Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4)
                                    Beenox (Wii)
                                    n-Space (3DS)
Platforms:                  Nintendo Wii™, Wii U™, 3DS™
Xbox 360™ and Xbox One video game and entertainment system from Microsoft
PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system

SRP:                            $74.99 - Skylanders SWAP Force starter pack
                                    $14.99 - individual Skylanders SWAP Force action figure
                                    $9.99 - individual core Skylanders action figure

Release Date:                        Oct. 13, 2013 - North America; Oct.16, 2013 - Australia; Oct. 18 - Europe

ESRB Rating:             Rating Pending

Friday, July 26, 2013

Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure vs Skylanders Giants...Which is the Better Game?

Blog Poll #47 is one I have wanted to get up for quite some time...

It simply asks, "Which Game Do You Like Better...SSA or Giants?"

This applies both to the Console and 3DS offerings..keep in mind that the 3DS games are entirely different from their console counterparts.

This poll will run until Thursday, September 26th, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST.

Cast your vote and spread the word!

Channel Update: July 2013

Here is the July 2013 Channel Update Video:

It covers a few things:

-Skylanders Swap Force Leaked Characters
--Where the video (and blog post) went and why

-Skylanders Giants Half Off Sale
--I ordered an extra Swarm, Eye-Brawl, and Thumpback to showcase their other paths

-Skylanders Giants Upgrade Paths
--Recorded Polar Whirlwind's Intro AND Upgrade Path
--Recorded S2 Drobot's Introduction
--Currently Recording Earth Element Upgrade Paths...Fire to come next

**While recording S2 Prism Break's Prismancer Upgrade Path last night, I was struck by lightning!  Not myself peresonally, but the house...and the TV...and the Wii...and the computer.  Luckily, nothing was damaged.  Sadly, I lost ALL OF THE RECORDING :(  Prism Break is fully upgraded after restarting, so I can't really redo the upgrade end of the video.  That said, I will walk you through the Upgrade Path, show the moves on the ship, and then take him through some Heroics to showcase it.  Ironically enough,  I was in Lightning Rod's when the power went out due to the lightning strike!**

-Beyblade Shogun Steel: Bought a few and hope to unbox them soon!  They look pretty cool!

-Minecraft: Nephew and I are still playing...alternating between creative coop in Survival Mode, and War.  I'll record and upoad as possible.

-New Polls: SSA vs Giants, Which Game Do You Like Better?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Skylanders Monopoly Unboxing and Review

What?  Monopoly: Skylanders by Activison, Hasbro, and USAopoly
Where Did You Get It?  Special delivery from Activision!  Thanks!!
Where Does it Retail?, GameStop, Hastings, and Everything Entertainment
What Does It Cost?  $39.99
Is It Worth the Price?  YES!!

Unboxing and Review of Monopoly: Skylanders

I was very pleasantly surprised this afternoon when a mystery shipment from Activision came to work.  At first I was thinking it might be the new purple variants, or maybe some E3 Hot Dogs to give away...The box could have housed a TON of Skylanders.  I then got a tip off on the label...Skylanders Monopoly?  Seriously?  I literally tried to find this locally on my lunch hour (I did at least get a 2nd S2 Drobot out of the trip).  What a sweet surprise!  And luckily it came before I ordered it in from Amazon.

I have to say, this is a great collector's piece.  The artwork is the best I have ever seen on a board game.  The details (property names etc) are spot-on and were definitely well crafted.  You could literally just use this as a backdrop for your Skylanders and be set...If you open it, you can utilize the board for a floor mat display to an army of Skylanders.

Or, you can actually play the game...Monopoly: Skylander looks like it will take all the fun of Monopoly and seamlessly mesh the classic game play we all know and love into a submersive Skyland experience.

There are 22 Skylands based locations, Treasure Chests replace the Community Chest, Luck-O-Tron Cards replace the Chance Cards, Houses are Huts, Hotels are Casltes, both the Huts and Castles have Skylander themed coloring, and we get six collectible, metal game tokens, that includes, KAOS.

I am VERY IMPRESSED with the little things on this game...As you know I am a stickler for details and spend time going over things with a fine tooth comb...This didn't disappoint me, but it did exceed expectations...big time.  Again, I can't stress how pleased collectors will be with just the artwork and display potential of the game...It is a nice addition for any collector be they casual, or hardcore.  Hats off to Activision, Hasbro, and USAopoly for crafting this one!

I have to once more thank Activision for sending this out, I appreciate Flynn's Balloon too!  I hope that the unboxing and review will help alert other Portal Masters and Skylander fans to the game and perhaps convince a few that may have been skeptical of the polished web store shots that this truly does feature great artwork.

As for the game itself, I haven't played yet...but I will Saturday night!

Here are a few quick shots to go along with the video...

You can find Monopoly: Skylanders at GameStop (retail stores and online), Hastings (retail and online), Entertainment Earth (never heard of the chain, but I assume in stores and online), and of course  In addition to these stores, some specialty outfits will stock the game and I'm confident malls across America will have carts and seasonal shops open up that will have it (great to package this with the coming 2014 Skylanders calendar imo!).  It retails for $39.99.  I don't think collectors will be disappointed AND if you play the game, it will no doubt pay for itself in a few rounds of play.

Thanks again to Activision and be on the lookout for KAOS as seen in the last picture...


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Skylanders Swap Force at E3: Your Questions Answered

Well, this has been a long time coming, BUT I will mention that I cranked out a blog post after getting back to the hotel from E3...Literally just a few hours after witnessing everything first hand...Here is a link to that post:

You can essentially consider this the video counterpart...Again, I personally find text based versions easier to skim for info, but I know many prefer video formats, so here you go:

The good news is this...I still have a green light to ask more questions!

I already have the list of unanswered questions from prior to E3, as well as some more things I've come up with, and I'm starting to see a lot of debate on some issues we could seek clarification on...

Keep in mind, some of the info will likely not be released until right before launch (if at all), but it certainly doesn't hurt to ask...I'f you've got anything you still want to know, feel free to post up and let me know.  I will forward it on and see what happens.

I can't promise we will get a response, but I can't say we won't either...Bottom line, if you ask it I will do my best to get an answer.

The folks behind the scenes are great and truly care about those of us on the fan side of the spectrum, but there is simply some stuff that can't be revealed etc...After all, what fun is playing a game for the first time if you already know EVERYTHING?

That said, we can shoot to know some things ;)  If I get answers back I will make additional videos highlighting the fresh information.  Stay tuned!

Skylanders Swap Force E3 2013: Inside the Booth Highlights

This video is a compilation of the highlights from inside the official Activision Skylanders Swap Force Booth.

It is a collection of character shots, looks at the intro screens, and discussion with developers and staffers revealing cool information.

The intro covers things VERY well, subsequently it is quite long...So, I have provided the Time Chart to help you skip to where you want to be in the video:

Pre-Intro: Start - 2:52
Introduction 2:52 - 13:52
Activision Screen: 13:53 - 14:52
Swap Force Booth Wii U Character Intro Screens: 14:53 - 18:37
Quick Look at Characters: 18:38 - 21:30
Discussion with Karthik, CEO of Vicarious Visions: 21:31 - 26:44
Skimming for Characters: 26:45 - 29:17
Conclusion: 29:18 - 37:52

Hopefully you enjoy the video and first hand look.  E3 was an awesome experience and a great time...

The lighting and background commotion conspire to make clear shots a little tough to come by, but you get the feel for everything...I have a few still images I'll get up on the blog (or maybe even a video) soon...

Currently Playing

  • Skylanders Imaginators
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • NBA Playgrounds
  • Minelogix-Minecraft PC
  • Stardew Valley - PC
  • Wii Fit U (Wii U)
  • Animal Crossing amiibo Festival (Wii U)
  • Yoshi's Wooly World
  • Animal Crossing New Leaf 3DS

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