Skylanders Imaginators’ Creation Crystals Add a Fresh Element to the Toys-to-Life Genre
The Skylanders franchise kicked off the toys-to-life gaming genre, and after Disney cancelled its Infinity line this spring, it looks like it’ll be the only game in town that uses real life toys in a video game. The latest iteration of the game–Skylanders Imaginators–hopes to capitalize on this shift with a brand new gameplay mechanic that allows players to create their very own Skylanders from scratch. While at E3 I was treated to a behind closed doors presentation of the game’s new Creation Crystals, which are the pieces used on the portal to create your own Skylander to contain him or her in. After seeing all of the customization options players are given for their dream Skylander, I believe the new feature will be more than enough to keep Skylanders fans happy with the latest entry in the franchise.
Creating Skylanders is quite easy according to the demo I saw. One must just place a Creation Crystal on the portal and then begin sifting through the myriad of choices in front of them for their franken-creation. To kick off the process you must first pick a class for your Skylander, such as the Bowslinger class, which is the one we chose for our demo. From there you can go to town on the Skylander’s appearance and choose from a plethora of options to create the character of their dreams. As a group we decided on making a green goblin looking character who was a buff as can be with tiny chicken legs. Once you have the Skyalnder’s appearance set you can then deck them out with gear, which actually affects the character’s skill sets, so they’re not just cosmetic in nature.
With your Skylander geared up you then have to choose a voice, which seemingly had limitless options. We made ours sound like a zany cartoon villain to match his sinister appearance and then moved on to choosing his theme song and his in-game sounds. The in-game sounds definitely get interesting as the one we chose was farting, so when we imported him into the game his sound profile was full of gassy toots, which fit his persona perfectly.
With our Skylander fleshed out we brought him into the game to see how he’d fare. First off, even though we created him in 10-minutes he still felt like a Skylander that was created by the actual development team, so the new Creation Crystals aren’t a gimmick. Our bow slinging, farting goblin looked like he belonged, so we checked out the game’s Sky-Chi feature, which are new screen-sized super attacks. These special attacks are learned from Senseis, and each class of Skylander has a their own Senseis for them to gain more levels. We did’t break out a Sensei for our bow slinger because the developers wanted to show us Crash Bandicoot in action, who is a Sensei for the Brawler class. He looks great as a figure and even better in the game, and his special moves are homages to his PS1 past, such as the ability to summon explosive crates and a Sky-chi attack that employs his yo-yo, so his fans will not be disappointed with his Skylanders stint.
I loved the creation aspect featured in Skylanders Imaginators, so I asked the developer if fans would be able to order real life versions of them after they’re created. While the developer said that would be an awesome idea and feature, it’s not one that they plan on implementing. I really think if 3D printing was a bit cheaper this feature would be wildly used, but unfortunately it’s not in the works. Regardless of the inability to purchase a real life version of your custom Skylander I still think the new Creation Crystal aspect of the game is worth checking out once it releases this fall. It’s more than just a simple character creator feature, and will definitely allow gamers to immerse themselves further into the Skylanders universe.
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