These video games aren’t your standard discs and cartridges. They all include toys in their packages. With Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure and Wappy Dog, the toys are even interactive. Read on for more about these and other fun games. For more games, check out our Video Game Guide mini-site.
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
Toys for Bob/Activision
Platform: Nintendo Wii/3DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation3, Windows/Mac
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure ($69.99 for starter pack) puts a brand-new twist on role-playing action-adventure games with physical "interaction figures." The starter pack includes the console game, a "Portal of Power" platform and three Skylander interaction figures: fire-breathing dragon Spyro, Gill Grunt and Trigger Happy (the 3DS version comes with Dark Spyro, Ignitor and Stealth Elf). You choose which character you want to play by placing one of the toys on the portal to “teleport it” into the game. From there, you can play the character and build up his skills. At nearly any point in the game, you can decide to use a different character by replacing the one on the portal. The interaction figure stores any new powers, abilities and special items collected by the character. Players can even bring their toys to a friend's house and continue playing the character through the friend's Skylanders game, even if it's on a different gaming platform. There are 29 more optional characters that you can purchase separately ($7.99 each) to collect and play in the game. A poster included with the starter pack will help you keep track of your characters, which are classified by elements like fire, water, magic and tech. A character's element will help you determine the best times to use the character while playing.
The game's funny, entertaining and action-packed story—from two Toy Story writers—is a winner, too. Terrible disasters unleashed by an evil portal master called KOAS have destroyed Skylands—a realm of islands in the clouds—and banished its protectors, the Skylanders, to Earth. As the new portal master to the Skylanders, it is up to you to help them save Skylands. You can play Skylanders with friends, who can drop in and out of the game any time. There is also a battle mode that lets you face off against other players. With opportunities throughout the game to switch characters for a better experience, the options for how to play Skylanders are endless.
To find out how the 32 colorful Skylander characters were created, TFK chatted with lead character artist I-Wei. Read our Q&A here.
Platform: Nintendo DS
The best of virtual and toy pets come together in Wappy Dog ($49.99), a cool, interactive experience for Nintendo DS. This game package includes an adorable robot puppy and DS game, plus stickers to customize your new pet. Use your DS to communicate and play with Wappy. Choose a message to send to Wappy through the DS's speakers. Wappy will respond with barks and sounds, which the game will interpret for you. Wappy moves his head, and his cheeks change color based on his mood. He will also respond to your touch—scratching his neck makes him happy, and pulling his tail makes him sad.
You must care for and play with your new pet to improve your relationship. As Wappy gets to know you better, you can unlock new experiences, such as teaching Wappy new tricks and playing mini-games with him. If you are leaving home but can't take Wappy with you, you can use the game's "travel mode" to transfer Wappy to your DS and play with him on the road. When you return, you can transfer your progress back to toy Wappy. You will never want to say "Bye" to your lovable new pet!
Platform: Nintendo DS
Enter Lalaloopsy Land in the new game for Nintendo DS ($29.99), based on the popular toy dolls. These dolls are former rag dolls that came to life after being sewn from the fabric of special clothing. You begin the game by choosing one of 12 characters to play as, such as Bea Spells-a-Lot (a spelling whiz sewn from a school girl's uniform), Crumbs Sugar Cookie (a super-sweet doll sewn from a baker's apron) and Spot Splatter Splash (a creative artist sewn from a painter's overalls).
With your character and her personal pet, you will explore the colorful, creative Lalaloopsy Land to meet new friends. When you meet a new friend, you must first help her find her pet. Then, she'll invite you in her house and teach you how to make a new craft. Young fans of these "sew cute" dolls will love visiting the homes of their favorite Lalaloopsy characters and helping to care for their pets, all while learning new arts and crafts! Included in the game box is a bonus mini-doll toy.
Tiny Toys: Zoobles, Squinkies and Zhu Zhu Babies
Platform: Nintendo DS
Tiny, colorful, collectible toys are popular with kids this year. Now, many have their own video-game adventures, too. This holiday season brings the DS games Zoobles: Spring to Life ($29,99), Squinkies 2: Adventure Mall Surprize ($29.99) and Zhu Zhu Babies ($19.99).
In Squinkies 2, it's the grand opening of Adventure Mall Surprize. Squinkies have come from all over to check out the new mall. Your task is to track down all the bouncing Squinkies and give them an invitation to a Squinkies party. The game package includes a 3-piece toy set.
Take care of your own Zooble in its Happitat in Spring to Life. Begin the game in the "Petagonia" world, where your adorable, rolling Zooble can sleep, eat, play and meet other Zoobles. Mini-game highlights include blowing bubbles into the microphone for your Zooble and playing jump rope with new friends. Play with your Zooble often to unlock more worlds. The game package also includes an exclusive Zooble.
Very young DS players will enjoy Zhu Zhu Babies, inspired by the hit toys (note: this game package does not include a toy). In the game, the Zhu Zhu Babies have wandered off and ended up in different cities around the world. You need to take care of them and navigate the levels to help them get back home.
There are more video games for the holidays in our Video Game Guide mini-site: Click here to read about games from magical universes.