My 6 year old absolutely adores skylanders. And so do I. The premise is fantastic - bring your toys to life - and indeed they do come to life in a virtual world via the portal. A really good game on it's own, but the portal is a spark of genius. You will need 8 toys to access all the bonus areas - one of each type (although there are 36 to collect) - you don't need to access the bonus areas to complete each level and can complete the whole adventure with the three characters in the starter pack - although the more characters you have the easier it is. It's a game that can be added to with each birthday, xmas or an incentive for young ones to save up. My son has lots of fun lining up the toys in the order in which they will play - they form the audience around the portal which is really cute and I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the toys themselves.
The game is a platform game, with battles and puzzles and a great story line with over 20 levels. Each character has its own special moves and can be upgraded with treasure collected in the game and levelled up with hit points. The upgrades and levels remain with the toys so your child can bring it to a friend's house and it will have the same level and upgrades - this is cross platform too; the same toys can be played on the wii, xbox, mac, pc etc. It can be played as a one or two player co-op game or you can battle each other. The attention to detail is fantastic, a lot of thought and attention has been put into this game and it really is rather beautiful and very entertaining for young and old alike.
The types are as follows:
Magic - Spyro, Double Trouble, Dark Spyro, Voodood, Wrecking Ball
Tech - Boomer, Drill Sergeant, Drobot, Trigger Happy
Water - Gill Grunt, Slam Bam, Wham Shell, Zap
Fire - Eruptor, Flameslinger, Ignitor, Sunburn
Earth - Bash, Dino-rang, Prism Break, Terrafin
Life - Camo, Stealth Elf, Stump Smash, Zook
Undead - Chop Chop, Cynder, Ghost Roaster, Hex
Air - Lightning Rod, Sonic Boom, Warnado, Whirlwind
The legendary figures are coloured navy and gold, and have slighly different stats but play exactly the same as the originals.
Even after completing a level, you may find that you have missed a treasure chest, a hat or a scroll and so the incentive is there to repeat levels until you have achieved all the goals. If you buy a new character, it's probably best to progress them from near the beginning of the game so that they get a chance to level up and in this way the playability just goes on and on.
I can't recommend it enough and I suspect that in time we will have collected everything available. Hours of fun and co-operative gaming is recommended as one of many great ways to bond with your kids. Just brilliant.