With the Skylanders franchise Activison merges toys and video games into a child friendly experience for consoles, handhelds and PC. In toy store the Skylanders figures and games sold well and became one of the top kids game in 2011. The second title Skylanders Giants is on its way, but before it, the team of Vicarious Visions is introducing the franchise to the mobile market with Skylanders Cloud Patrol for all iOS devices.
Skylanders Cloud Patrol is basically a continuous on rail shooter in 3D, where the player moves from one shooting gallery to the next. You play a portal master that controls one of 30 magical creatures called Skylanders. Your goal is to bust escaped trolls by shooting them with the board cannon of your sky-ship and try to stay on patrol as long as possible to build a high score.
The controls are simple; you tap on targets to shoot them. You have to hit the trolls, but avoid bombs. Shooting bombs will result in a game over and you have to start again. There are also coins, crates and sheeps to collect by shooting them. Protecting yourself from projectiles is also crucial because a hits will end the game as well. To get higher scores the player can swipe over multiple targets and shoot them in a combo, these multiples the earned coins and score. The risk is to trigger a bomb by swiping over it. During the game the player will encounters some bonus stages where he can earn extra coins and points. It’s possible to charge your spells by collecting certain items and use spell the equipped spell to earn more points, be invincible or get other useful bonuses.
Scores can be compared with others via the Game Center and coins can be spent in the store for new spells, items and upgrades. Most important in the store is the possibility to unlock new playable characters.
The driving force in Skylanders Cloud Patrol is collecting the Skylanders themselves. They can be collected digitally or physically. The action figures can be bought at toy stores and come with a web code, which allows the owner to unlock the digital version of them in the mobile game. It’s also possible to just unlock them with gems that can be collected during the game.
On consoles and the PC versions the toys act as storage for game relevant data and can be read via Portals that comes with the game. This isn’t the case for the iOS version therefore there isn’t a real need to collect the figures. Furthermore the different characters don’t have any great impact on how the game is played. If their element matches with the element of the day, the player gets some extra coins for every round.
In total Skylanders Cloud Patrol doesn’t live up to its full potential in adding to the cross-platform franchise. It’s a well designed mobile game that will entertain those who like high score challenges.It won’t involve the player enough with the different characters to create a bond to them and get intressted in the whole world. Cloud Patrol is dedicated to those who is already hooked to the franchise. Unfortunally it doesn’t reward the player in the meta-cosmos of the game which then would have made it to a “must have” for every portal masters.