In Canada there have been sightings of Freeze Blade and Trap Shadow at EBGames. Again this won't be an exclusive.
And, provided the date holds this time, the UK will see release of the special Spring Edition packaged Springtime Trigger Happy, Punk Shock and Fryno this Friday as well as Enchanted Star Strike, who will be exclusive to GAME.
In their first content update of the year Skylanders: Lost Islands adds a new companion and a couple of new Skylanders.
- The Chieftess is a brand new (or, rather, old) companion, just like Hyde and Maboo you need to find her wandering around your kingdom each day in order to tap on her, she'll give you a load of coins for doing so. You'll need to spend 200 Wishstones to get her.
- Two new swappable Skylanders, Freeze Blade and Trap Shadow, have been added. You can buy them for 300 Gems each or take a spin (remember that you get Gem refunds if you use the toy later but not coin refunds from spins).
Once you've entered your details you'll be asked to name one of the three and to give some background on the Skylander, who they are, why they've got that name and why you chose to name them.
You're not limited to just naming one though, you can name all of the characters and can even submit different names and backgrounds for the same Skylander. Take care not to submit the exact same name for the same character more than once though.
The competition is only open to residents of the United States who are 18 years or older, if you're not old enough then perhaps try getting an older relative to help.
You've got a little bit of thinking time but don't take too long as you only have until March the 21st at 11:59:59 AM Central Time to submit your entries before the competition closes.
The finalists for each Skylander (as decided by the judges) will be revealed around April 21st and then from the 19th of May to the 12th of June online voting will be run to select the best of the three names to win the grand prize of "a $100,000 scholarship in the form of a check" as well as to make the name official. The other two finalists don't go away empty handed though and will each get a "Skylanders prize package" with an approximate retail value of $1000.
Although last week's Toy Fair didn't bring us a reveal of Skylanders 4 a few other possible new Skylanders were accidentally revealed by Mega Bloks in promo photographs of upcoming sets.
Due to the nature of the reveal it is unclear whether they are actually all playable characters (or even if any of them are) and no names were directly attributed to them.
Skylanders fans in the UK may be interested in the Skylanders SWAP Force Spectacular event that is currently running at the National Media Museum in Bradford. The event started on the 22nd of February but runs through half term to Sunday the 2nd of March so there's still time to go. It is free entry but you'll need to reserve your place in advance for a couple of the activities. Thanks to Skylanders Dad for spotting this one.
And finally, in Swap Force toy news, Enchanted Star Strike has been spotted in several Canadian Walmarts over the weekend.
Enchanted Star Strike is an in-game variant of Star Strike who also happens to be LightCore. She'll be exclusive to Walmart in the US much like Enchanted Hoot Loop.
These look to be arriving two weeks before the Easter themed packs, although in the UK Amazon have given those three a release date of the 7th of March.
Frito-Lay are gearing up to launch a new Skylanders promotion, this time instead of simply winning a toy Skylander you'll get the chance to actually name one. There'll be a choice of three Skylanders who are each in desperate need of a name, the grand prize for the best name is a $100,000 scholarship. The promotion is due to start on the 24th of February.
And some perhaps disappointing news on the next game announcement front, GamerHub.tv have posted a short interview with Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg where he seems to confirm that they won't be announcing a new Skylanders game at Toy Fair this year, instead waiting for "later in the year" to reveal it. So it's still coming this year and still being made by Toys For Bob but we'll have to wait a bit longer to find out what it is going to be.
Springtime Trigger Happy is an in-game variant, much like Jolly Bumble Blast, who not only looks different to the regular Big Bang Trigger Happy but he will also unlock the Springtime Hat in your collection once you place him on the Portal of Power.
With the annual American International Toy Fair happening on the 16th-19th of February we should be expecting news of the next entry to the Skylanders series any day now.
Curse are exclusively giving away half a million beta keys for The Elder Scrolls Online. Curse Premium members can get access to the keys today and everyone else from tomorrow (the 6th). The giveaway and beta period only lasts until the 10th of February so act quick!
Dune Bug, Smolderdash
Phantom Cynder, Hyper Beam Prism Break, Horn Blast Whirlwind
Here's what makes up the rest of Wave 3, they're not quite yet available in the US but are already available in some other countries like Germany and Italy.
Lightcore Countdown, Lightcore Wham-Shell
Rubble Rouser, Spy Rise, Stink Bomb
Sheep Wreck Island
Hyper Beam Prism Break, Horn Blast Whirlwind, Rip Tide
Dune Bug, Phantom Cynder, Knockout Terrafin
The winners of the Frito-Lay sweepstakes for Quickdraw Rattle Shake are starting to report receiving their prizes so be on the lookout for it if you've won one (or more).
In other Wave 3 news, today saw the introduction of the five new Wave 3 characters in Skylanders Lost Islands, you can now get Rubble Rouser, Stink Bomb, Spy Rise, Dune Bug and Wind-Up in the game, which means that at long last it is possible to match the Earth element Sugarbats. Last Friday saw a specially squeezed in Christmas update for the game as well:
- Jolly Bumble Blast makes his festive debut. It'll be 250 Gems if you don't have the toy.
- A new SWAP Force House has been added, buy them for 350 Gems to put your SWAP Force characters in for the chance to earn Gold, Gems, Energy or Kingdom XP.
- Another new companion, Fiznik, he'll double the Kingdom XP you get for the rather pricey sum of 3000 Gems.
And earlier last week they posted the regular Monday update.
- New companion Diggs who you can use to trade in large amounts of Gold and Energy for Gems once a day. He'll cost you 2000 Gems but is said to be only available until January 1st.
- The Legendary Skylanders are here, all four of the new Legendaries from SWAP Force have been added. That's Legendary Night Shift, Legendary Free Ranger, Legendary Grim Creeper and Legendary Zoo Lou.
- A new system has been added so that Kingdom XP is still moderately useful after reaching the maximum kingdom level of 40. Your bar will again start to fill up as you gather it and will eventually give you some bonus gems and wish stones as a reward.
The Skylanders Collection Vault also recently saw an update which allows you to now add characters to your collection even if you don't have their webcode.
- Softpaw, another character from Swap Force who's joined to become a Companion. He'll double the number of Sugarbats you get for just 50 Gems.
- Quickdraw Rattle Shake follows Jade Fire Kraken in being released before the toy. He'll cost you 300 Gems.
- Snowler Brawl's Hut gives this month's Alter Ego a place to stay for 350 Gems.
- The Snow Globe House has returned, it costs 500 Gems and houses 600 Mabu. Perhaps wait for another Premium House Sale.
- A timed quest gives away another new Alter Ego "Holiday Wash Buckler" if you own Skylanders: Battlegrounds.
- And your islands have been given a suitable new winter style.
- Tessa, another new companion from Skylanders: Swap Force, has joined and for the price of 3000 of your Gems she'll boost the Mabu population by 25%.
- Jade Fire Kraken has been added, despite the fact that he hasn't even been released as a real toy yet. It'll cost the usual 300 Gems or a spin to get him.
- Snowler Brawl was released yesterday as December's Alter Ego version of Roller Brawl, throw your Wishstones in the Wishin' Well to win her!
The festive themed Jolly Bumble Blast has been given a release date, according to GameStop it's due out on the 7th of December in the US, Best Buy have it listed for the 8th.
The recently Androidified Skylanders: Lost Islands has seen another of its weekly updates, since Thanksgiving is this week in the US it's the Week of the Bird!
- A new Bird House for your "Bird" Skylanders, they'll cost you 200 Gems each. Only available until Sunday!
- During the Week of the Bird all of your Bird Skylanders will get double gold.
- On Friday morning all Skylanders will be 80% off, it runs from 4AM to 12PM so try to get on early if you want to buy one.
- December's new Alter Ego is going to appear in the Wishin' Well on Sunday so make sure to have won Birthday Bash by then!
- New companions Gorm and Tuk who double gold and hero points for Swap Force Skylanders, they cost 400 Gems.
- Enchanted Hoot Loop becomes available if you don't have the actual toy, it'll set you back either 300 Gems or the cost of a spin.
- And three new timed quests for shrines involving Avril, Nitro Magna Charge and Birthday Bash.
- Another character from Skylanders: Swap Force becomes a companion, for 400 Gems Avril will double the kudos awarded to you from gifts and visiting.
- November's Alter Ego now has Birthday Bash's Hut to use.
- Nitro Magna Charge is available to those without the toy, it'll cost the usual 300 Gems or a spin.
- A couple of timed quests, one for last week's companion, Wheellock, and one for last week's new Skylander, Volcanic Eruptor.
- The #1 Fans are returning for free at the weekend as part of the Birthday Celebration that'll also offer 50% off all companions and have past alter egos in the Wishin' Well as top prizes.
The Dark Days event in the still-iOS-exclusive Skylanders: Lost Islands has concluded and a new companion has arrived.
- New companion Marshal Wheellock from Skylanders: Swap Force has joined in, he doubles the Hero Points you get but'll cost 900 Gems.
- If you don't have the toy then fear not, Volcanic Eruptor can now be bought for 250 Gems.
- This week's Super Tuesday has brought back all of the Giant and Sidekick Houses for one day only.
- And last Friday saw the release of Birthday Bash, the new Alter Ego for November. Win him in the Wishin' Well all month.
And the Frito-Lay sweepstakes for Quickdraw Rattle Shake has officially begun, albeit with a bit of a rocky start.
Last week saw the long quiet Skylanders: Battlegrounds finally get an update, it added the third chapter at last as well as implementing the new Swap Force characters.
Just a small update to Skylanders: Lost Islands this week.
- Dark Stealth Elf and Dark Blast Zone are now purchasable in game. They cost 200 and 300 Gems.
- A new house, Dark House, houses any of the Dark Skylanders in the same way the Dragon Lair houses dragons. It'll cost you the same 1200 Gems though.
Remember that November's alter ego will be appearing on Friday but that also means that Thursday is your last chance to get Skeletal Cynder before she disappears from the Wishin' Well.
- The Wave 2 Skylanders are now all in the game. It's the usual 300 Gems for the swappers and 200 for the core.
- Dark Wash Buckler and Dark Slobber Tooth can now also be bought if you don't have the toy, 300 and 250 Gems respectively.
- A "Dark Days" event will be running for two weeks (ends November 3rd) where all your Dark Skylanders will have an extra 100% gold bonus.
- Skeletal Cynder's Hut has arrived for 350 Gems.
- A new companion called Ma-Boo has appeared, find him in your Kingdom once each day to receive a Wishstone. Costs 30 Gems.
- The disguised trolls are back, giving a Wishstone when you clear them.
Boom Jet, Fire Kraken
Grilla Drilla, Night Shift
Rip Tide, Scorp
Star Strike, Twin Blade Chop Chop
Anchors Away Gill Grunt, Knockout Terrafin
Big Bang Trigger Happy, Heavy Duty Sprocket
Some have reported finding them already at Toys R Us and Sam's Club and that quantities may initially be more limited than that of Wave 1.
The method to get the glow-in-the-dark Rattle Shake variant "Quickdraw Rattle Shake" has been revealed. The toy will be given away by Frito-Lay in much the same manner as their current Fright Rider sweepstakes. It starts at the beginning of November so look for the specially marked packs in US stores soon.
Quote: Joystiq - 4.5 Stars
It's easy to think of Skylanders' collectible figure component as a cynical cash-grab, but in practice it meshes well with the series' beat-'em-up gameplay.
Quote: Forbes - 9/10
In fact, at almost every turn Skylanders Swap Force seems intent on over-delivering both features and fun. Playing the game with (my) children who are more than a little Skylanders saturated there was still a sense of surprise and excitement. The Swap Force figures caused the biggest buzz, both in and out of the game.
Quote: Venture Beat - 90/100
While the inclusion of the jump button certainly makes for more varied gameplay, it also may add more challenge for the younger gamers in your household. Many of these leaps require good timing and placement (lining up at the very edge of a gap), and the bosses have some particularly damaging ground attacks that quickly exhaust the health of your Skylander if you don’t hop over them at just the right time.
Quote: Metro - 9/10
The game’s combat is still relatively simplistic, but the variety of abilities and attacks - and the ability to chop and change them at will - does encourage kids to think about what they’re doing a lot more than any combo system or other traditional contrivance would have. And you can now at least jump, which may sound like an odd thing to celebrate but it again shows the franchise stepping back from the enforced simplicity of the earlier games.
Quote: Game Informer - 8.50
No matter what bizarre creature you craft, Skylanders: Swap Force handles the empowerment of playing god convincingly. The amalgamated beasts that now roam Skylands open up new combat and traversal possibilities, and also add another much-needed wrinkle to this series’ well-worn gameplay formula.
Quote: Gaming Trend - 85
But what about the game? Yes, well, much like the toys, the game is aimed squarely at kids in Elementary school - that isn’t to say an adult can’t have fun with it, but expect it to be a kid’s ride. The game certainly contains mild cartoon violence, but it’s not something I would be uncomfortable in having a child play.
Quote: Destructoid - 8.5/10
Not only do the new Swap Force toys and in-game models have a ton of detail (Wash Buckler's squid legs are a highlight), but it also allows an unprecedented amount of customization as you search for your favorite playstyle.
Quote: IGN - 8.2
Skylanders Swap Force delivers almost everything fans could want. There are fantastic new characters, a funny story, and a complete disregard for the boring rules that say robots and wizards shouldn't be part of the same world.
Quote: Games Radar - 4 Stars
While the narrative sticks to a simplistic stop-the-bad-guy's-evil-plot theme, the cutscenes have gotten a noticeable upgrade in quality. The CGI scenes and voice acting on par some of the best computer animated cartoons you might see on a Saturday morning and the leading characters, like Flynn and Tessa, are charming and humorous.
Quote: Official Xbox Magazine - 7.5
Developer Vicarious Visions did a fantastic job crafting a tightly-knit, varied adventure in which you'll - just for starters - sneak past alarms disguised as a sheep, sniff out a full list of goofball collectibles, and take out a wide range of foes. With a seemingly endless number of things to see and do, this is no quick jaunt.
Quote: Kotaku - Yes
Each Swap Force character also has a travel power that unlocks mini-game challenges scattered through the story levels, and two of those are absent from the launch lineup. Puzzling.
The reviews for the 3DS version of the game were a little more mixed.
Quote: Gaming Trend - 82
My recommendation? If you’re into Skylanders, or your kids are, this one is a no-brainer. It’s a fantastic supplement to any existing Skylanders game as it adds value to your collection of toys.
Quote: IGN - 7.1
Skylanders Swap Force for the 3DS is a fun but short addition to the franchise. It's an acceptable substitute to the console experience, mostly on the strength of its interesting villain and original story.
Quote: Nintendo World Report - 6
While each level does consist of plenty of platforming and combat, nothing other than the variety of Skylander skills makes a remarkable impression. The platforming, while enough to not bore adult gamers, becomes rather repetitive as jumping is the only real mechanic.
Quote: Financial Post - 5.5/10
The missions are a lot shorter - around only 15 minutes each as opposed to the hour-long quests in the console versions - and Moneybone’s minions are even less cunning than those employed by Kaos, which is saying something (they basically just charge at you until destroyed).
To go with the launch of Swap Force, Skylanders: Lost Islands has an update on the App Store to bring in (nearly) all of the Wave 1 Swap Force Skylanders.
- The first wave of Swap Force characters has arrived. DO NOT USE THE PORTAL! The swappable characters cost 300 gems while the new cores cost 200 if you don't own the toys.
- You can now level your Skylanders up to 15. No new companion is required, they'll just start earning experience straight away.
- A new type of random enemy has appeared, the Evilized Sugarbats. They hover in the air between your islands and require use of a swappable Skylander to clear. You can swap the halves to try to match the two elements it asks for, each matching half gets you a bonus gem.
- Hyde has been updated to now also appear in other people's kingdoms.