While Skylanders Cloud Patrol
aptly takes on the look and style of the other Skylanders
games, it isn't the same gameplay. In fact, Cloud Patrol
is more or less whack-a-mole, just with your Skylander in a cannon shooting at trolls rather than furry pop-up rodents.
You fire at your targets in a couple of different manners. You can either tap at them and send single-shot volleys at your enemy, or you can swipe your finger across the screen and draw a line. Each target you swipe across will get hit when you lift your finger. It sounds simple enough right? Well, the game has a way of throwing you quite a few curveballs as you frantically make your way across its stages. The main obstacles in your path are floating spiked bombs. If you shoot one, it's game over, no ifs, ands or buts ... well, except for one, but I'll get to that in a bit.
Stages come in a few flavors. A majority of the screens you will be shooting at will simply have the trolls sitting or flying around a collection of floating islands. The bombs will try and get in your way, but these stages are fairly straightforward. Another type are the Hideout stages. Here, you are tasked to take down a specific number of trolls. They appear behind walls in waves, along with bombs, of course, and you won't be able to leave until you either die or take down your requisite amount. The final stage type is Bonus where items like sheep and barrels will bounce across the screen. The more you shoot, the more coins and points you earn.
Skylanders Cloud Patrol
also finds a use for the magic items that come with the level packs. These are items like Hidden Chest, Healing Elixir, and Time Twister. They will occasionally fly across the screen, and if you shoot them, you get the ability to activate that particular power. They all have different effects, and most apply a score multiplier while they are in use. For example, Anvil Rain drops anvils from the sky and takes out one or more trolls while in use, while Sky-Iron Shield keeps you from taking damage for a limited time. Interestingly enough, Healing Elixir acts as a continue (for a cost) so that you can keep going even after tapping a bomb and having it blow up in your face.
Each of these items can be upgraded with the in-game gold you collect, but gold isn't the only currency in Cloud Patrol. The game will give you several challenges like "Shoot 25 Projectiles," or "Shoot 15 Hats," or "Collect 2000 Coins." Each of these goals will yield a certain number of Soul Gems and it's through collecting those that you not only level up in the game (basically increase the difficulty), but also buy additional Skylanders and magic items.
What's really nice is that you can use the Skylanders that you've purchased for the other games in Cloud Patrol. You just use the barcode that came with your character to link them to your game and it is added to your collection. While this is great, I have to say, this is also where one of the game's few shortcomings rears it's tedious head. There is no barcode scanner built into Skylanders Cloud Patrol. While the codes are just eight characters long (not including the dash), if you have any kind of collection, the initial load can be tiresome. Maybe it's a small thing and maybe I'm a little lazy, but it would have been a nice feature nonetheless, and since there are still Skylanders figures to be released, it isn't too late for this feature to be added and be useful to even those of us who happen to be caught up in the released characters.