Follow us on:

Skylanders Trap Team review: Broccoli Guy's unjust desert

Skylanders' success is borne of equal parts solid game design and marketing savvy. Its central conceit – buy small plastic figurines in order to summon in-game characters – is instantly appealing for kids, and its Gauntlet-styled action-RPG gameplay makes it a guilty pleasure for adults.

The franchise's "toys to life" mantra, despite its potential for audience exploitation, rewards dedicated fans with bonus content and unlockables that mirror the size of their toy collections. There are now hundreds of Skylanders toys to collect, but to date, the series has maintained a delicate balance that ensures a fun experience both for hardcore collectors and for casual fans.

Skylanders Trap Team, the fourth major entry in the series, is the first Skylanders game to upset this balance. Trap Team still offers a fun journey at its core, but longtime fans will be disappointed to find out that they need to purchase several new figures in addition to an expensive starter set in order to explore the game to its fullest.

Continue Reading

Report: America favors gaming consoles for media streaming

Game consoles aren't really game consoles anymore. Sure they play games, but they're also capable of plenty of non-gaming activities. In today's age, we have an abundance of apps and features installed on our consoles that make watching our favorite shows and movies easy and convenient. But of course, you already knew this.

What you may not have known is that researchers at Parks Associates claim that game consoles are currently not just able to help us catch up on the latest season of <your favorite show>, but are reportedly the most popular method of doing so in the US. As reported by Home Media Magazine, Parks' data shows that roughly 46 percent of broadband-connected homes use a console to access non-gaming content via the internet, and of those homes, 28 percent use the console as their primary connected device.

This high percentage of users edges out connected Blu-ray players, as well as streaming devices such as a Roku box or Apple TV. Smart TVs are reportedly the second-most popular way for people to enjoy non-gaming internet media.

This may sound surprising, but really, using game consoles for non-gaming entertainment has been around for some time; after all, one of the PlayStation 2's most-touted features was its ability to play DVD movies. Remember those? Remember physical media? Good times. Gooooood times.

Update: An earlier version of this story incorrectly related the statistics regarding usage of game consoles. It has been corrected.
[Image: Sony/Microsoft]

Joystiq Giveaway: 12 Skylanders Trap Team Legendary Starter Packs

Bet you thought we were done after Destiny! Nope. Joystiq is all about doling out the gaming goodness. We're shifting away from the go go grim gun fantasias for our next big giveaway, though! This time, it's all about action figures.

Joystiq is giving away 12 Skylanders: Trap Team Legendary Starter Packs, three each for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and for the first time in the series, a tablet version of the game that is feature complete.

Every Legendary Starter Pack comes with that console's version of the game, the new portal, two Skylanders figures, two traps, sticker sheets with secret codes, posters, and trading cards. What's more, every one of our 12 winners will also get a random assortment of Skylanders Mini figures, standard figures, and a lucky few will also get deluxe Trap Master figures as well.

All you have to do to enter is "Like" Joystiq on Facebook using the widget below between September 26 and October 10, and also be an American or Canadian citizen over the age of 13. You can extra earn extra chances to win by following us on Twitter and Twitch.tv/Joystiq.

Full prize list and giveaway rules after the break.

Joystiq Giveaway: 12 free copies of Skylanders Trap Team
[Images: Activision]

Continue Reading

Upgrade Disney Infinity Wii to Wii U free of charge

Still on the fence about buying a Wii U? Disney Interactive is offering a new reason to move to Nintendo's latest home console by allowing Disney Infinity players on Wii to upgrade to the Wii U version free of charge. Beginning today, those that own the Disney Infinity Starter Pack on Wii can download the Wii U version of the sandbox game from the eShop, including the game's multiplayer components.

The offer arrives just in time for the next game in the series, Disney Infinity 2.0, which stars Marvel's super heroes when it launches on September 23. The upgrade deal also makes sense for the publisher, as Disney Interactive would certainly love for the series' sizable fanbase on Wii to make the trek to Wii U, given that Disney Infinity 2.0 won't be available on Wii.
[Image: Disney Interactive]

Continue Reading

In the garden of Eden Hazard, don't you know that I love FIFA 15?

Belgium and Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard is the new face-next-to-Messi's-face for FIFA 15, at least in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Voted the best young player in the English Premier League last year, Hazard is also a less hazardous proposition to have on the cover than last year's choice, Gareth Bale. If you'll remember, Bale left for Real Madrid after appearing on the FIFA 14 cover in a Tottenham shirt, leaving EA Sports in a bit of a pickle. No such fun, sadly, is on the cards for Hazard this year.

To see the full box art, dribble below the break and remember to wipe.

EA's sportsball sim will once again grace a myriad of platforms starting September 23 in North America. Three days later it'll come to Europe, where Microsoft's once again offering it as part of a Xbox One bundle, priced 400 euros or £350.

Continue Reading

Bite-sized Minis figures invade Skylanders Trap Team

Activision is preparing to launch an army of adorable miniature Skylanders toys alongside Skylanders Trap Team later this year, giving players the chance to send pint-sized versions of their favorite characters into battle.

Trap Team's "Minis" characters boast the same abilities and upgrades as their full-sized counterparts, but they have one advantage: They're cute as heck. Sixteen Minis figures will be available after Trap Team's launch, including Spyro's miniature cousin Spry, a tiny Gill Grunt named Gill Runt, and the Trigger Happy variant Trigger Snappy.

You can see the Minis in action via the galleries below. Skylanders Trap Team launches for consoles and tablets on October 5.

[Image: Activision]

Continue Reading

Skylanders: Trap Team bridges the gap between console and tablet

Skylanders: Trap Team will be revolutionary, for both the series and potentially for Activision's entire publishing operation, when it releases on October 5th. It doesn't dramatically change the central play of Toys For Bob's popular action figure adventure games. Catching villains in teensy crystal toys like sinister Pokemon isn't, in practice, so different than just using a regular Skylanders action figure even if it is a charming shift in the fiction. What is a dramatic change, however, is that Trap Team will be available on iPad and Android tablets the very same day it hits PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Not a spinoff, either. Activision's bringing the full console game to mobile devices.

Playing the game on an iPad Mini, Trap Team is a handy demonstration of just how far mobile game development has come in the past five years. While it may not have the graphical flash of the PlayStation 4 version of the game Activision showed Joystiq shortly before San Diego Comic Con, the exact same level plays just as smooth and looks every bit as nice as a polished Xbox 360 game. New character Snap Shot pops into the stage when you put his figure on the Skylanders portal and fights off a soda-swilling monster with the same aplomb. Developer Vicarious Visions, a studio with a long history of adapting Activision's big console games to portable devices, has brought Trap Team to tablets with no sacrifices to the action.

But it's the touchable technology surrounding tablet Trap Team that's most impressive.

Continue Reading

Fashion thesis dresses you like a thoroughly modern Link

Andrew Shields, a student at Parsons the New School of Design, believes that while it isn't easy being green, Link still looks spectacular decked out in viridian. Hyrule's chosen warrior and his companions in The Legend of Zelda are the inspiration for Shields' BFA thesis, a men's clothing line that will be ready-to-wear provided he acquires the necessary funding to see it complete.

"When I was young I wasn't really allowed to play with Barbies or draw dresses in my notebook, so I stopped and played on the computer, and I learned to play video games," explains Shields, in a brief video on Kickstarter. "My thesis is based on The Legend of Zelda, a game that helped shape my childhood and taught me how to explore and navigate through life."

Navigation Awaits, the name of Shields' line, includes 21 items making up seven different outfits. These range from leafy t-shirt and jeans combos that look like Link's preferred outfit for an Avicii show to more avant garde numbers right out of a Cirque de Soleil adaptation of Twilight Princess.

"The Hyrulian wardrobe is pretty diverse and proportions are pretty well developed so I think most people could pull it off," Shields told Joystiq via email. "If there really was a big difference I would say the addition of synthetics and metal notions like zippers."

"I did think on changing the theme of my collection, by taking inspiration from only Majora's Mask, and doing a really dark, twisted collection. Ultimately, I decided a lighter collection would represent the greater whole and thats more what I wanted to do."

The real question: Will you get to wear these designs?

Continue Reading

FIFA 15 won't feature Brazilian clubs due to licensing

Unlike FIFA 14, Brazilian domestic clubs and the players belonging to them don't feature in FIFA 15. EA revealed this week that, because of changes to how Brazil's domestic league licenses players - the company didn't note what those changes might be - it failed to reach an agreement that would let players feature in its latest sportsballer.

So, while players in Brazil's national team and Brazilian players based abroad still feature, it's adeus to the likes of Palmieras, Santos and Flamengo.

After Brazil's disassembling by Germany at the World Cup, we wonder if the country's fans would have things that way 'round. With that elephant in the room crudely dealt with, all that's left to say is FIFA 15 is coming to another bevy of platforms this year, starting with Xbox One, PS4 and PC on September 23 in North America, and September 26 in Europe.

Wii version of Skylanders Trap Team includes Wii U digital copy

The Wii edition of Skylanders Trap Team will include a download code for the Wii U version of the game, the series' official Twitter account revealed this week. Fans can pre-order the Wii version (seen above) for $75, which includes a Traptanium portal, two traps, two Skylanders figures and, well, two copies of the game.

Activision announced Trap Team in April as a follow-up to last year's successful Skylanders game, Swap Force. Developed by Skylanders Giants lead studio Toys For Bob, Trap Team will launch on October 5 for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U and 3DS. The game has players trapping 40 different enemies into trap crystal, turning them into usable characters. Trap Team will usher in 60 new Skylanders as well, including a new class known as the Trapmasters. The developer showed off a Dark Edition of the game at the San Diego Comic-Con event this week.
[Image: Activision]

Skylanders Trap Team to introduce 'Eon's Elite' premium toy line

Activision announced that it will roll out a new collector-oriented series of Skylanders toys following the launch of the multiplatform sequel Skylanders Trap Team this fall.

The new "Eon's Elite" figures feature a metallic finish, and sit atop a golden base inside a premium-packaged foil display case. If you can bring yourself to crack open the packages and ruin their aftermarket value, you'll find that the Eon's Elite toys summon in-game characters who are up to three times more powerful than their non-premium counterparts.

Today's announcement follows up on Activision's recently revealed Skylanders Trap Team Dark Edition, a bonus-bundled special edition of the game that will carry a premium price tag at retail. Recent announcements suggest that Trap Team will move beyond the series' traditional youth-oriented focus in order to appeal to an expanding collector market.

The first Eon's Elite series features relaunched characters from 2011's Skylanders Spyro's Adventure, including Spyro and Chop-Chop. Prices for the new toys were not announced, but given their focus on packaging and presentation, they're likely more expensive than currently available figures.

[Image: Activision]

Continue Reading

Skylanders Trap Team Dark Edition debuting at Comic-Con this week

Developer Toys for Bob will showcase the upcoming figure-powered action game Skylanders Trap Team this week at San Diego Comic-Con, giving showgoers an early look at the collector-oriented Dark Edition prior to its launch in October.

Skylanders Trap Team's Dark Edition is a special starter bundle that features the Ultimate Kaos Trap, an accessory that allows players to capture and control series antagonist Kaos for the first time. The package also includes two additional trap accessories, a redesigned Portal of Power, a poster, sticker sheets, trading cards, and exclusive black-and-silver variants of new characters Snap Shot, Wildfire and Food Fight.

Toys for Bob will additionally host a Skylanders-themed panel discussion and costume contest starting on July 24. The Skylanders Trap Team Dark Edition retails at $99.99, and is set to launch on October 5 for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PS3, Nintendo Wii, Wii U, and 3DS platforms.

[Image: Activision Blizzard]

Continue Reading

PSA: Nintendo eShop undergoing maintenance today

Nintendo's Wii U and 3DS eShop services are intermittently down this evening until 5:00 p.m. Pacific (8:00 p.m. Eastern), the company noted in an update on its network status and maintenance site. Additionally, the Wii Shopping Channel and Nintendo DSi Shop will be down at that time.

Today's maintenance on Nintendo platforms affects all services on Wii U and 3DS for a five minute period at 2:30 p.m. Pacific (5:30 p.m. Eastern). Likely, that brief interruption is over by the time you, dear friends, are reading this. So while it'll be a little longer before you can browse the eShop, you may resume your online Mario Kart 8 races.
[Image: Nintendo]

Joystiq Streams: Fatal Frame 4's ghoulish Kodak moments [Update: Watch the replay!]




Update: The stream is over, watch the replay above! Twitch was being a little twitchy, so the stream was split into three videos. Follow the annotations to move onto the next videos.

It's fitting that Fatal Frame: Nuregarasu no Miku, the first HD entry in the series, would find its home on Nintendo's Wii U. Like Fatal Frame's haunted villages, Wii U is also full of Japanese ghosts, with once dead games like Bayonetta 2 and Devil's Third getting new life on the box. Plus the tablet controller, so difficult to find appropriate uses for even for its creators, is a natural fit for the Camera Obscura. As Fatal Frame is reborn, we lay the Mid-Summer Terror Train to rest with Fatal Frame 4, the long lost entry that never made it out of Japan. Officially at least. Don't worry if you're not fluent in Japanese - we've got a patch that translates the game into English.

Starting at 4PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch, we'll be streaming a solid hour of Fatal Frame 4. Will ghosts devour Richard Mitchell's soul as he plays? Will Anthony John Agnello and Susan Arendt be able to stop talking about how awesome Fatal Frame 2 is long enough to learn about this obscure horror game? [Note from Susan: "Probably not."] Will the chat start posting pictures of ghosts that are really just their cats? [Other note from Susan: "Man, I hope so."]

These questions and more will be answered when we go live at 4PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch.
[Images: Nintendo]

Sony to 'welcome back' Wii owners with PS4 remakes

Sony is positioning the PlayStation 4 to capture a returning audience who skipped the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in favor of the Nintendo Wii during the previous console generation, Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House told Eurogamer this week.

"Our big opportunity is to welcome back an audience much earlier in the lifecycle that possibly bought into the Wii previously," House said. "[O]ur consumer data suggests some of those people are already coming in now and that's what's contributing to the really great sales we've had."

Sony plans to introduce the returning audience to a slate of remastered and rereleased games from the last console generation, starting with this month's launch of The Last of Us Remastered for the PlayStation 4. Sony's PlayStation Now service will also offer a number of streamed classics upon its launch.

"I hesitate to say this because I know committed gamers may roll their eyes about it," House admits, "but there's an opportunity with some of the remastering or re-imagining from PS3 franchises that will potentially find an audience that hasn't played them in the previous generation because they skipped that generation."

House continued: "That bodes well for us as a platform, but it bodes well for developers and publishers as well. I've always looked with envy at the movie industry about what a great job they're able to do with taking content and making it work. Disney is the best example of this, right, of taking classic content and reintroducing it to audiences over time."

[Image: Naughty Dog]

Featured Wii Stories

Image

Now Playing: February 24 - March 2, 2014

Posted on Feb 24th 2014 7:15PM

Image

Now Playing: February 17-23, 2014

Posted on Feb 18th 2014 8:00PM

Engadget

Engadget

TUAW

TUAW

Massively

Massively

WoW

WoW