Without a doubt, one of the hottest series of toys on the market comes from Activision’s Skylander series of toys and games. The attention and the excitement that this series creates from kids and adults of all ages is remarkable. I was most recently at the Time-Square event here in New York, where anyone willing could come by and check out the new Skylander toys, and meet a few of the celebrities that were on hand to promote the launch of the latest video-game. Kids were beside themselves with joy, anticipation and exuberance just buy being surrounded by the series, it was a terrific event and I was really excited to learn more about the series.
I’ve had the chance to play a lot of the games and check out a lot of the accessories myself, and it’s really easy to see how one could be easily lost in the series; just by the magnitude of accessories and games that Activision has put forward. There are abilities to learn, stats to memorize, special skills, LightCores, elemental types and more that are all part of the game. It’s easily one of the most expansive games that a child could get into, not just gameplay wise, but socially as well.
After I checked out the special event in Time’s Square, I wanted to know what resources were available that could help kids better understand the game and expand their experience in Skylanders SWAP Force. That’s when I came across the Skylander’s SWAP Force Collector’s Edition Strategy Guide. I was even more excited to learn that the book was made by Brady Games. If you’ve read some of my earlier reviews, and other reviews on this site, you should know that I absolutely love Brady Games’ collector’s editions when it comes to these large-scale games. A quick email to the publisher and I’ve had the book the last few days and have been pouring over it at night to learn its secrets.
Normally I’m very critical of collector’s editions, I have very high expectations as to what they can walk you through, how and when they reveal spoilers, and how easy they are to navigate. Now with Skylander’s the book is primarily directed towards children, which means I was even more critical than usual because the book had to be functional, informative, entertaining, and efficient; but it also couldn’t be a boring walkthrough, or an encyclopedia that no child would want to get through on their own.
The first thing I loved about the collector’s edition was that it brought everyone up to speed on the series itself and its origins. A really great feature is on the first page, it’s an index that tells you all of the accessories and everything that you need to 100% the story-mode. As I said before, the universe of Skylanders is incredibly large and since it works with physical toys it’s important to know what you will need to enjoy every aspect of the games and its features.
Now Skylanders is complicated, the individual series of which Skylanders you can buy is also complicated, then add the new SWAP FORCE Skylanders that allow you to mix-and-match legs and torsos, to create special creatures. By now you know exactly what I’m talking about or are completely lost in the world of Skylanders. No matter what your answer was to that last statement, this book is on your side. Even if you know absolutely everything there is to know about the series, the characters and abilities; nothing breaks it down and shows you exactly how creatures work against each other and describes the gameplay scenarios, leveling system and the characters themselves like this collector’s edition.
I don’t think I can truly emphasize how much information is in this book, it is the Wikipedia of Skylanders SWAP Force, but even that doesn’t do the book justice. The layout is perfect and each character gets its own section that tells you everything you need to know; from initial stats to special character art, and there is even a background and personality bio for each of the characters. The bios are written like mini-stories, not just listing off facts, but really giving each character a personality and backstory. The sections also covers all attacks and upgrades, it’s amazing.
I said before that I’m really picky about walk-throughs because I hate reading a book that isn’t careful how it progresses into the story. This edition does a really great job of carefully walking you through each step, without giving anything away. Another great feature that I mentioned before was the index that tells you everything you need, before you get to certain story sections. This a great way to prepare and to plan, so you’re not let down or shorthanded.
Overall I see this as a perfect gifts for anyone that is into the series. It’s also a terrific way to start off the series if your child or friend is just getting into it. If you’re new to the whole Skylanders experience, you’re going to have a lot of question, and finding the answers online is sometimes complicated and misleading, and some people don’t really have the best advice. Showing the book to everyone that I know who is into the Skylanders series, everyone was impressed by the information and details that Brady Games put together for the collectors edition, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. With 320 pages, all filled with beautifully illustrated characters, skills and etas on giant 11″ x 8.6″ pages, it’s an easy win.
more info: amazon.com/skylandersgames, amazon.com/skylandersCE