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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

E3 2018 is over and the EFG Staff has gone out of our way to share OUR thoughts. But, we wanted to reach out to some kids and see their thoughts!

 

Evan – 12 years old

This game looks awesome and I have been looking for a new toys to life games since they have been absent for a while. This seems like a pretty cool to make toys to life better. Also, Star Fox is gonna be in it on the Switch.

 

Jacob – 9 years old

This looks like a space game. I don’t really have any comments on it.

 

Jeremiah – 9 years old

Whoa! That’s so cool! Does it come with its own controller? (he really liked the mech)

 

Brynne – 8 years old

It was like you got a little toy to go along with it. Kind of like Skylanders. But, it didn’t seem that cool . It seemed like you just hit a bunch of buttons and stuff and do things.

 

Asher – 7 years old (From The Family Gamers!)

To me, it feels like you’re in this ship and there are these special attachments that you attach to the controller and it puts a big gun or something on the wings of the ship. It’s really cool.

 

Claire – 9 years old (From The Family Gamers!)

The design – What’s actually on the screen isn’t amazing but I think that the ship controller thing is really cool and you can just put it on. It’s almost like virtual reality.

 

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

I thought toys to life games were dead. Disney Infinite was … finite. Skylanders has run aground. LEGO Dimensions fell flat. Even the copy-cats have faded into obscurity. But, it looks like Ubisoft is trying to resurrect the oft-maligned genre with Starlink: Battle for Atlas.

I approached Starlink with apprehension. I’ve been burned before and I didn’t want to fall for it again. But, I couldn’t help myself. It was just too good. Put simply, Starlink: Battle for Atlas is the best Star Fox game I have ever played. The E3 2018 demo that I played took me down to a desolate planet and gave me the freedom to fly all over the place to complete challenges and fight massive bosses. The last boss I fought was a giant rock spider monster that had multiple phases and required some tricky flying to defeat. It took a few attempts, but I was really into it.

The toys to life mechanic is pretty straightforward. You select a pilot, a ship, a pair of wings, and a pair of weapons. Each of those components has an impact on the final ship and how you play. Each pilot has a different special ability. The ships have different armor components. The wings help with speed. The weapons all function differently, but many of them interact with each other. During my demo I used a Vortex Cannon (which just sounds awesome all on its own) and a flamethrower. The Vortex Cannon created these awesome looking vortexes wherever they struck a target (or the ground) and if I hit them with the flamethrower they turned into flame vortexes!

Even more interesting, the toys to life features are largely optional. If you aren’t interested in buying the physical toys the pilots, ships, and components can be purchased digitally. I feel like this is a pretty reasonable compromise for people who were burned by having to find a way to store all of their toys to life figures during the initial craze.

Starlink: Battle for Altas will be released October 16, 2018  on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to check out all of our other E3 2018 coverage here!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe to our Podcast!

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Who is ready to feel wicked old?

I know. I know. This comes up every time a video game franchise from our childhood has a massive anniversary. But, you know what? How about meaningful anniversaries from the video games our kids will look back on fondly the same way we look back at Super Mario Brothers?

On that note: I would like to remind everyone that Skylanders is turning 5 this year. It is now officially in Kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN.

Since it has reach school age it only made sense that we throw the franchise a birthday party! Fortunately for us Activision PR was ready to lend a helping hand.

I have to admit that it didn’t hurt that Duff, the Ace of Cakes himself, was bringing a new show to FoodTV called CakeMasters and was featuring Skylanders on their most recent episode!

It all came together earlier today as a start to April vacation! Our kids, and their guests, loved watching Duff’s antics on the show as he tried to bring some of their favorite characters to “life” in cake form. (Spoilers: Eruptor was a fan favorite for the 10 year old boy set). The followup was a Skylanders themed party with a blue cake and a whole bunch of awesome Skylanders decorations care of Activision PR. Just take a look at those happy faces!

This was super easy to set up and all of these decorations can be purchased at major retailers and party stores. This is a great idea for your own kids birthday parties OR a party to celebrate when Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures released later this year  on October 12th!

If you missed the episode of CakeMasters you can read up on the details here and make sure to check it out On Demand on your Cable network!

We Had A Skylanders Party… And It Was Awesome!
Behold! The Cake!
We Had A Skylanders Party… And It Was Awesome!
The Decorations!
We Had A Skylanders Party… And It Was Awesome!
The Setup!
We Had A Skylanders Party… And It Was Awesome!
Happy Birthday Some MORE!
We Had A Skylanders Party… And It Was Awesome!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

 

 

 

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Skylanders are going on sale from March 13th through March 19th to celebrate the arrival of Spring (and for Easter Baskets). Check out all the killer deals to help fill out your collection!

EggcitedThrillipede

Eggcited Thrillipede is ready to help celebrate Easter!

Toys R Us

Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Packs $29.99
Skylanders SuperChargers Characters and Vehicles $9.99
Save $10 on Racing Packs

Target

Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Packs $29.99
All Skylanders toys 50% off

Game Stop

Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Packs $29.99, and receive a FREE Kaos cup with your purchase
Skylanders SuperChargers Characters and Vehicles Buy One Get One Free
Racing and Dual Packs 50% off

Best Buy

Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Packs $29.99, and receive a FREE legacy Starter Pack with your purchase
Buy One Get One FREE Skylanders SuperChargers toys

Walmart

Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Packs $49.96 Everyday Low Price
Legacy Character Rollbacks in Store

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Activision Blizzard is teaming up with the charity Autism Speaks as part of the “Light it up Blue” campaign. They will be releasing a set of special edition action figures that are painted blue in an effort to raise awareness for Autism ahead of Autism Awareness Month this April.

The figures they are releasing are Splat and her boat, Splatter Splasher, as well as Trigger Happy and his car, Gold Rusher.

Skylanders Special Characters Light it Up Blue

These Skylanders Special Figures will Light it Up Blue! (available now!)

These special figures will function identically to their regular counterparts, but they will appear blue and white inside the game as well.

The Power Blue Toys aren’t the only way that Activision is supporting Autism awareness either. They are:

  • Supporting an employee-match donation program for Autism Speaks
  • Encouraging participation in the Autism Speaks Walk on April 2 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Ca in support of World Autism Awareness Day
  • Activision is also making donations to non-profits that are making a difference in the autism community.

This is a great program for Activision to get involved in as Autism is a concern for millions of parents all over the world.

What do you think? Will you be buying any of these figures? Sound off in the comments!

 

 

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Parents Asked: How to Toys to Life Figures Work?

Skylanders, Disney Infinity, Amiibo, and now LEGO DimensionsToys to Life games and figures are filling up our houses at a breakneck pace. They are all toy lines that feature characters that hop to life in some very popular games. We have gotten a lot of people asking how the games work so they can explain it to their kids. 

Skylanders Superchargers Wii U Bundle

NFC stands for “near field communication.” It works thanks to some of the same technology as ID badges and the Apple Pay system on the newest iPhone models.  (I am including a more technical explanation at the bottom of the article for those interested.) This allows for two way communication between two objects that are not directly plugged into one another. That two way communication is critical because it means data is not just taken from one source and read, but it can also be written back to it.

That two way communication between the console and the chip inside the figure is why you can place your Trigger Happy figure on the “Portal of Power” and have him appear in the game without having to plug him in. That casual interaction is one of the biggest reasons why these games have become so popular. If more work was involved and switching weren’t as easy it is likely that children would get bored (or frustrated).

That process enables your children to take their figures with them to a friend’s house and use all of their earned skills, hats, etc. It is also largely responsible for the WOW factor when you first activate a toys to life figure.

The NFC chips themselves are located in the bases of each figure and if you look closely at the bottom of some of them you can even see the metal spiral that is used. Since all the data is stored there it is not really much of an issue if the figure breaks as long as you keep the disk! This has actually resulted in some very cool alterations. (An entire community of sculptors makes amazing creations using existing figures).

IMG_0174

 

As you can see, there is no spell making these things run. They are a simple application of an every day piece of technology , but that doesn’t make these toys any less magical.


 

The long version:

How it works: “NFC works using magnetic induction: a reader emits a small electric current which creates a magnetic field that in turn bridges the physical space between the devices. That field is received by a similar coil in the client device where it is turned back into electrical impulses to communicate data such as identification number status information or any other information. So-called ‘passive’ NFC tags use the energy from the reader to encode their response while ‘active’ or ‘peer-to-peer’ tags have their own power source and respond to the reader using their own electromagnetic fields.”

 

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Lets face it. The toys to life genre is EXPENSIVE. It can get out of control for parents who just can’t keep up with all of the different figures and games that seem to be coming out every day! Below are some strategies that will help you keep a handle on costs while still letting your kids enjoy the games.

Play the game with your children.

This is a recurring theme on our website in general, but it bears repeating here because it is especially relevant. Many of the toys to life games, especially Skylanders, present players with obstacles that can only be overcome by characters of specific elements. These are all bonus objectives like puzzle rooms to get things like loot and stat-boosting hats.

The best way to know what your child NEEDS vs what they would like is to play with them. You’ll be able to see and recognize where their collection is falling short so you can work together to complete it.

Do your homework.

There are tons of websites out there dedicated to explaining what toys are out there and how to get them. We even got in on the action and published buying guides for Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and LEGO Dimensions this year. This is the next best thing to playing with your kids in regards to know what they need. You can very easily find out what is available with a little web research.

Pay attention to the pre-owned section at GameStop and other retailers.

This wasn’t an option even a few years ago, but GameStop has seen the strength of the Toys to Life market and has pounced on it. Even better? Lots of kids are aging out of their Skylanders collections and trading them in to GameStop to help pay for new consoles. This leaves them with a lot of stock that is often heavily discounted. Our family was lucky enough to clean up at a buy 2 get 3 free sale a month or so back.

When in doubt don’t buy just one.

Many toy retailers like Toy ‘R Us, Target, and Walmart offer discounts from time to time where you can buy one and get one half off (or something similar). This adds up if you are planning to buy a lot of these toys for your kids.

Don’t buy the games and figures on release day.

This may not be possible for people who have older kids, but if you are just getting into the Toys to Life game market and your kids are younger, then I HIGHLY recommend starting with the previous year’s version of the game. You might not be able to use the shiny new figures, but you’ll be able to get the game much less.

 

 

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Available on the following platforms:

Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U

Bundles/Packages

Starter pack: $100 – Comes with toy pad, game, Batman, Wyldstyle, Gandalf, Batmobile

Pricing structure:

Level packs: $30

Team packs: $25

Fun packs: $15

The following level packs are available now:

Back to the Future (Marty McFly, DeLorean, Hoverboard)

Portal (Chell, Companion Cube, Turret)

The Simpsons (Homer, Homer’s Car, Taunt-o-Vision)

Team packs out now:

Jurassic World (Owen, ACU Trooper, Velociraptor, Gyrosphere)

Scooby Doo (Scooby, Shaggy, Mystery Machine, Scooby Snack)

Fun packs out now:

Chima Cragger with Swamp Skimmer

Chima Eris with Eagle Interceptor

Cyborg with Cyber Guard

Wonder Woman with Invisible Jet

Lego Movie Bad Cop with Police Car

Lego Movie Benny with Benny’s Spaceship

Lego Movie Emmet with Emmet’s Excavator

Lord of the Rings Gimli with Axe Chariot

Lord of the Rings Gollum with Shelob the Great

Lord of the Rings Legolas with Arrow Launcher

Ninjago Nya with Samurai Mech

Ninjago Zane with Ninjacopter

Wicked Witch with Winged Monkey

Release dates for future products:

November 3, 2015

Level Pack – Doctor Who (The Doctor, K-9, Tardis)

Team Pack – Ninjago (Cole, Kai, Boulder Bomber, Blade Bike)

Fun Pack – Lego Movie Unikitty with Cloud Cuckoo Car – November 3, 2015

Fun Pack – Bart Simpson with Gravity Sprinter – November 3, 2015

Fun Pack – Krusty with Clown Bike – November 3, 2015

January 19, 2016

Level Pack – Ghostbusters (Peter Venkman, Ecto-1, Ghost Trap)

Team Pack – DC Comics (Joker, Harley Quinn, Joker’s Chopper, Quinn Mobile)

Fun Pack – Doc Brown with Traveling Time Train – January 19, 2016

Fun Pack – Doctor Who Cyberman with Dalek – January 19, 2016

Fun Pack – Ninjago Sensei Wu with White Dragon – January 19, 2016

March 31, 2016

Fun Pack – Aquaman with Watercraft

Fun Pack – Bane with Drill Driver

Fun Pack – Superman with Hover Pod

Fun Pack – Ghostbusters Stay Puft Marshmallow Man with Terror Dog

May 31, 2016

Fun Pack – Ghostbusters Slimer with Slime Shooter

Fun Pack – Ninjago Lloyd with Golden Dragon

The Cost to “Catch ‘Em All!”:

If you were to pick up everything on its release day the total cost would be $725.

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Available on the following platforms:

 Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Wii, PC, iOS (toy box only)

Bundles/Packages:

Starter pack: $65 – Comes with base, game, Twilight of the Republic playset (based on Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano

Star Wars Saga Bundle: $90 (PS4 and PS3 Only) – Comes with a base, the game, the Twilight of the Republic playset (based on Star Wars: The Clone Wars), the Rise against the Empire playset (based on the original Star Wars trilogy), and the following figures: Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Boba Fett.

Pricing structure:

Playset price: $35

Figure price: $14

Power disc set price: $10

Toy Box Expansion price: $20

Disney is also selling the game digitally. You can buy in on your console for a lower price and use the base that you already have, but it won’t come with any of the new playsets or figures (obviously).

The following Star Wars figures are also available now:

Obi Wan Kenobi

Yoda

Ezra Bridger

Kanan Jarrus

Sabine Wren

Zeb Orrelios

Han Solo

Chewbacca

Darth Vader

The following Disney Originals figures are also available now:

Sam Flynn

Quorra

Mickey Mouse

Minnie Mouse

Mulan

Olaf

Disgust

Fear

Sadness

The following play sets is available now:

Inside Out (includes  Joy and Anger figures)

Rise against the Empire (with Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia)

 

Star Wars playsets and figures are being spread out as we build up to Star Wars episode VII launch. The release schedule is as follows:

November 3rd

Boba Fett

Darth Maul

The Force Awakens Playset – December

Disney Infinity is a showcase for all of Disney’s different properties. Below is a release schedule for Marvel and “Disney Original” figures, playsets, and power discs.

Upcoming Disney Originals characters:

Spot – November 3

Judy Hopps – Sometime in 2016

Nick Wilde – Sometime in 2016

Peter Pan – TBA

Upcoming Marvel figures:

Hulkbuster Iron Man – November 3

Ultron – November 3

The Cost to “Catch ‘Em All!”

If you were to pick up everything on its release day the total cost of everything announced so far is $609. You can technically save $10 or so if you already own 1.0 or 2.0 buy purchasing the game digitally and then purchasing the Twilight of the Republic playset separately.

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Available on the following platforms:

Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Wii, 3DS, iOS

Bundles/Packages:

Starter Pack (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3): $75 – Includes the portal, the game, The Spitfire figure, Hot Streak vehicle, and the Super Shot Stealth Elf figure.

Starter Pack – Wii U : $75 – Includes the portal, the game, the Turbo Charge Donkey Kong figure, the Barrel Blaster vehicle, and the Super Shot Stealth Elf figure.

Dark Edition Starter Pack (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3): $100 – Includes the portal, the game, the Dark Spitfire figure, Dark Super Shot Stealth Elf figure, the Dark Hot Streak vehicle,  the Dark Sea Shadow vehicle, and the Kaos trophy (This is the Superchargers version of traps. This one lets you race as Kaos.)

Dark Edition Starter Pack – Wii U $100 – Includes the portal, the game, the Dark Turbo Charge Donkey Kong figure, the Dark Super Shot Stealth Elf, the Dark Barrel Blaster vehicle, the Dark Sea Shadow vehicle, the Kaos trophy(This is the Superchargers version of traps. This one lets you race as Kaos.)

The Wii and the 3DS don’t have the power to run the main campaign so they will receive versions that are focused on the racing.

Wii and 3DS starter pack: $75 – Includes the portal, the game, the Hammer Slam Bowser figure, Clown Cruiser vehicle, and the Super Shot Stealth Elf figure.

Pricing structure:

Figure price: $13

Vehicle price: $15

Racing Packs: $35 (Each racing pack includes a character, a vehicle, and a race expansion.)

Additional characters available now:

 Dive Clops

Fiesta

High Volt

Shark Shooter Terrafin

Smash Hit

Stormblade

Additional Skylanders Vehicles available now:

Burn Cycle

Crypt Crusher

Dive Bomber

Jet Stream

Sea Shadow

Shark Tank

Sky Slicer

Stealth Stinger

Racing packs available now:

Racing Sea Pack – Includes Deep Dive Gill Grunt figure, Reef Ripper vehicle, and the Sea Trophy

Characters coming later:

Astroblast

Nightfall

Hurricane Jet-Vac

Thrillipede

Lava Lance Eruptor

Double Dare Trigger Happy

Splat

Big Bubble Pop Fizz

Vehicles coming later:

Sun Runner

Tomb Buggy

Thump Truck

Buzz Wing

Shield Striker

Gold Rusher

Splatter Splasher

Soda Skimmer

The cost to “Catch ‘Em All!”:

Skylanders Superchargers is in a unique place this time around because it has Nintendo specific characters. If you were to pick up everything on its release day the total cost for a Wii U owner would be around $718. This is because the only way to get Bowser or his Clown Cruiser is to purchase the Wii or 3DS starter pack.

Non-Nintendo owners get a bit of a break here and only have to pony up $615.

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