Skylanders Cloud Patrol
Activision's mega popular franchise makes the successful leap to iOS.
Skylanders Cloud Patrol is so good we want to stop writing this review and play the rest of the morning. Activision blended furious arcade-style shooting with its highly successful franchise, creating a supremely addictive iPhone and iPad title that becomes ferociously competitive the higher we climb the global leaderboard. Simply put, you need this game. That said, don't expect a similar a similar experience to the console version, because as you'll learn, Cloud Patrol is a different beast.
The original Skylanders put you in control of characters with unique abilities, and was more action adventure oriented. Cloud Patrol, on the other hand, plays more like a light gun shooter, similar to Time Crisis and The House of the Dead, except instead of firing at the screen, you tap to blast bad guys, in this case trolls. Press one of the ugly buggers to blow it away, or tap and drag, highlighting additional enemies and objects to create chains that net more points and gold coins, which you'll redeem for magic items; more on that in a bit. At the same time, you want to avoid bombs, since touching one of those immediately ends the game. Also, beware of projectiles, but at least on the positive side, you can blow those up.
To that end, the game comes with more than 30 different Skylanders categorized by type, be it water, fire and earth, to name a few. In fact, the developers even select a type of the day, where playing with one of those creatures will result in a points bonus. That was smart, as it encourages fans to continue unlocking characters, which they can do one of two ways. The first involves grinding, where they continuously play to discover blue gems that go towards "purchasing" new Skylanders. The second, and most clever, lets users unlock heroes using the web code card included with each Skylanders toy. In other words, buying merchandise.
As for the items, you'll definitely need them to beat the top players, unless you're some sort of video game wizard. These range from scoring a 150X score bonus to becoming invincible for a limited period of time and dropping anvils on those unsuspecting trolls. Again, a specific number of coins and gems grant access, or you can go with web codes.
Now although we love this game something crazy, it still has a couple bothersome quirks, beginning with achievement notifications that appear during play at the most insane moments. The last involves the online leaderboard. The game will occasionally lose the data, causing a blank pop-up to subsequently pause the action; just hit continue to keep playing.
Thankfully, neither of these minor issues prevents Skylanders from being phenomenal, which it most certainly is. Instead of shoehorning the Xbox 360 adventure onto the App Store with a virtual analog stick, Activision played to the iPhone and iPad's strengths, creating a game players of all ages can enjoy. Bravo.
Review code provided by Activision.
What's Hot: Over 30 Skylanders to unlock with more on the way, intense arcade-style shooting, a variety of cool magic items, global leaderboards, using web code cards.
What's Not: Occasional pop-ups obscure the action.