Skylanders Lost Islands gives the Skylanders one more platform to call home
The Skylanders series is currently one of Activision’s most popular and lucrative properties, and it’s really not hard to see why – especially if you have kids. There’s something irresistible about pairing up video games with collectable plastic toys, especially if said toyline contains a healthy smattering of dragons. But more importantly, Skylanders‘ toys can “come to life” in multiple games across the series’ universe, a feature that really sells Skylanders Lost Islands for iOS.
Skylanders Lost Islands takes place on multiple floating islands that are home to the Mabu race. The islands are overgrown and in need of some heroes, which is where you and the Skylanders come in. Your job is to clear the area and build houses and resources for the Mabu. Meanwhile, the Skylanders protect the land from trolls and conspiring sheep (seriously), and go on adventures to collect money and resources.
You begin Skylanders Lost Islands with one hero: Spyro, the purple dragon. When you reach certain levels, you’re allowed to roll for a new Skylander. Every Skylander boasts the same talents and levels up at the same rate, but let’s face it, some are cooler looking than others, so you might not be happy with what chance gives you.
This is where your collection of Skylander toys comes in (you have one, right?). By entering the web code that’s packed with each Skylander monster, you can make your favorite creature a permanent resident and hero of the Lost Islands.
If you don’t have your own collection of toys, you can buy Skylanders with the game’s hard currency, gems. Each monster comes with a detailed backstory, and to be honest, it’s easy to get lost in them if you’re a sucker for kid-level lore.
Even with its hero element, Skylanders Lost Islands plays like a lot of city-building games, but it plays well. Wait times are minimal for the most part: there’s always something to build, something to clear away, items to harvest, and experience and gold to collect. Moreover, teleporting Skylander toys into Lost Islands gives kids an opportunity to play with the game’s coolest features without resorting to real-world money. Simply put, you can play through a big chunk of the game before in-app purchases even cross your mind.
There are still areas where the game can use some fleshing-out. You send your Skylanders on adventures, but they just fly off and return with the goods. It would be nice if you could accompany them, or at least get a visual of what’s going on. The same applies for breaking up troll camps and herds of sheep (what are those sheep up to?). Also—and this is curious—Lost Islands has no social features to date, though Activision promises they’re coming soon.
Despite these issues, Skylanders Lost Islands is not a game that feels incomplete. If you know a youngster who’s a fan of Skylanders, or if you’re a fan yourself, take a second to introduce your plastic pals to the Mabu’s island home.