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Skylanders iOS: iPortal

Company: Activision

Skylanders: Giants released roughly two weeks ago, and if the roaming bands of early Sunday-morning shoppers are any indication, Activision and Toys for Bob have another megahit on their hands. But, the Skylanders fun isn’t over yet. There’s still another wave of figures on the way and Activision is readying two new iOS Skylanders games -- Skylanders: Lost Islands and Skylanders: Battlegrounds -- letting you take your Skylanders on completely different gameplay adventures.

Of the two new releases, Skylanders: Lost Islands most resembles what some people think when they hear "iOS Game" (or, more likely, "Casual Game"). Lost Islands is a top-down city building title in the vein of the “-Ville” series. You have an island and manage resources to build a variety of structures.

Where Lost Islands differs is the inclusion of Skylanders and the option to send them on quests. The experience is similar to, at least in my mind, the old SNES game Actraiser. Your main goal is to develop a thriving community; though in order to help it grow, you’ll need to venture away from your town and complete adventures. Only, instead of completing side-scrolling levels, you'll send your Skylanders on adventures using Balloons. I couldn’t tell if certain missions required certain Skylanders, or if elemental alignment was enough, though that really shouldn’t matter either way. Similar to Cloud Patrol, Lost Islands gives you the option to either register your collection via Web Codes, or you can spend in-game currency to expand your digital menagerie.

Skylanders: Lost Islands should be available mid-November.

The second iOS game, Skylanders: Battlegrounds, is a strategy RPG. In Battlegrounds, you’ll take a team of Skylanders behind enemy lines on a quest to stop Kaos from building an army of war machines to take over Skyland. Gameplay takes place via a top-down perspective; you guide the Skylander by tapping (or dragging) your finger on the screen. All enemies are visible on the screen and tapping them brings you into a battle screen. I wasn’t able to get a lengthy look at battles, though you’ll need to guide Skylanders around a limited battle area and use their collected abilities to defeat enemies.

Similar to other iOS entries, you can import your collection of Skylanders into Battlegrounds with Web Codes, though Battlegrounds also gives you the option to import them via Portal. The retail, boxed version of Battlegrounds comes with the Bluetooth Portal, as well as an App Store download code and a small collection of Skylanders. You’ll receive a Series 2 Cynder and Jet-Vac, as well as a Series 2 Double Trouble and Platinum Treasure Chest adventure item.

A download-only version will also be available on the App Store, though as someone who hates inputting Web Codes to update my collection, I completely see myself opting for the retail version just for the Portal.

Skylanders: Battlegrounds should be available sometime in November.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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