Regardless of platform, a Skylanders
game is a Skylanders
game, so whether youíre placing figures on a Portal or entering web codes, new Skylanders are always the central attraction.
As with other platforms, Skylanders: Giants comes in two flavors, a Portal-less "Portal Owners" version and a Starter Kit. Both come with one Giant, Tree Rex, while the Starter Kit also includes a Series 2 Cynder and special edition, red Punch Pop Fizz Ė the Giants version of Dark Spyro. Other than color, thereís no difference between the normal and "Punch" versions.
The 3DS version follows the same "rules" as the console games. You can use original, Series 2, LightCore and Giants with Skylanders: Giants. Only original and Series 2 (and some LightCore) versions are backwards compatible with the original 3DS game.
As far as gameplay, Giants is closer to the console versions than the first game, though it does retain some elements, such as the ability to jump. Even with the changes, gameplay is straightforward and easy to grasp. The only noticeable difference is level goals. Rather than chasing down several goals, youíre limited to the same three-star system as the console games. I didnít mind the change, though I really liked having to race through levels in the first game. The upside is levels are huge and offer a lot of replay value. There are numerous little paths you can take through levels and secrets arenít always obvious, so youíll need to dig deep if you want to find everything.
Once a level is unlocked you can return to find any secrets you may have missed, or take on a timed challenge. I still miss the in-game "chase" timers from the first game, but enjoyed taking on the speed challenges.
Giants runs into the same issue as the console versions; Giants arenít much fun. Theyíre powerful and you need them to access certain areas, but there isnít much of an upside. Theyíre slow, which is a big drawback considering the huge levels and occasional frame rate issues.