These days it's hard not to look any direction at Toys for Bob and not see something relating to their hit franchise, Skylanders. With the release of Skylanders Giants, the sequel to Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, just around the corner, there's a host of new characters and orange packaging that can now call the unusual space home.
My visit to Toys for Bob earlier this week was comprised of two main components. First, we were taken around to some of the game's leads including the animation director, sound director and sculptor. Second, I was able to spend at least an hour's worth of hands on time playing on a fully unlocked retail Wii U version, and an Xbox 360 not-so-unlocked development version.
A lot of information came out during the brief time spent in the Skylanders Giants team leads. First I will share the highlights in bullet point form, then some images snapped around the offices, and finally more information in bullet point form gleaned from digging through the game's menus. Lastly I'll drop some quick impressions about playing the game but keep them brief considering our full review will be coming in less than two weeks time.
Here are some fun Skylanders Giants facts:
Now let's look at some images. This first batch are packaging shots of Skylanders Giants figures. You have probably seen most of these on Ebay already. However, you probably haven't seen the Toys R Us exclusive Skylanders Giants Legendary Skylanders three-pack or Bouncer Giant figure.
Some of the images can be clicked for larger versions. Please excuse the quality; the lighting was really dim.
Next up we have some images of loose Skylanders Giants characters.
This is a "wow" shot right here with all the rare variants.
Note the battle packs in the back.
Here are the Giants.
And now the fun stuff. Below are many variants and protoypes with the best one saved for last. Look closely at each picture for some figures that didn't make the cut.
The next few images include some variants that should be making their way into stores over the course of the next 9 months or so. Spot a green Flashwing and white Whirlwind, amongst others. I'm not sure what the purple Double Trouble was for since it's a Series 1 sculpt.
The translucent green Series 1 Gill Grunt was made for Microsoft.
And now my personal favorite image from the whole event. You are looking at a Kaos figure that was sculpted "for fun." Will this figure be available later on the Skylanders Giants sales cycle? I can confirm it will not. However, I was told he could be in the third Skylanders game (you know it's coming) and the way I was told makes me think he's already on the drawing board.
Also check out the baby (Sidekicks?) versions of Eye Brawl and Thumpback.
My hands-on time with Skylanders Giants was spent mostly on the Wii version of the game. I started playing with the Swarm Giant Skylander and before long a half-hour had passed and I was still playing with him. I suspect this will happen with many of you; the Giants, though slower, are more dominant and fun to play with than their smaller counterparts.
During this hands-on time I also played with a level 1 Fright Rider, level 15 Chill, and level 1 Tree Rex. I also played with Legendary Bouncer on Xbox 360. For those wondering, Fright Rider has an advanced Soul Gem "A Real Drag" upgrade that lets his skeleton ostrich head burrow into the ground and take an enemy with it. The "Burrow Bomber" upgrade is an earlier version of this that burrows but does not take an enemy.
I'll have full impressions of the game in my review but what I will say now about Skylanders Giants is that it has more to offer than Spyro's Adventure and an even greater production value, polish and attention to detail, if you can imagine that. There's no way Spyro's Adventure fans will not fall in love with this game.
Here are the final bits of info gathered while playing the game and a handful of images I snapped while playing. That's Tree Rex playing in the existing Empire of Ice adventure pack.