Version Reviewed: $0.99
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPod touch 4
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Activision has finally brought their popular video game and toy franchise Skylanders to iOS in an original game that integrates with the toys, but still remains a standalone game. Developed by A Space Shooter For Free developer Frima Studio, Skylanders Cloud Patrol is actually an on-rails shooter where players try to take down formations of troll enemies. Players can either tap on them to attack them, or swipe across the screen to target multiple enemies, getting coin bonuses for combos. However, spiked bombs are instant death on contact. Powerups for defeating enemies more effectively are available, and can be unlocked and upgraded through gems and coins earned through the game or bought through in-app purchases.
Structurally, the game is similar to Jetpack Joyride, with objectives and the items to buy though the two-tiered currency. While an Activision-published game may seem like a harbinger for an absuive game, the game does one thing in particular really well: making its secondary currency earnable in-game as well. While coins are handed out at a faster rate than the gems are, gems can be earned at a fair pace.
While the integration of the individual Skylanders figures is limited compared to the console titles, where actual character stats can be transferred between games, it's still possible to use the web codes that come with the figures in order to unlock them in the game. They don't actually do much in the way of unique abilities, though each figure's element can be utilized for daily bonuses. This is probably the best motivator to spend gems on extra characters, though it appears as if no actual gameplay difference is there. As only the back of the Skylander is seen in battle, it's not really all that important, and all the figures can be bought in-game.
The game itself is actually really fun, even for those who don't have any familiarity with the license. It's very whimsical, and the controls are perfect for touch screens. Being able to die in an instant makes the game a challenge, but it still is easy to get into and it works well as an original title even for those who aren't into the franchise. Despite having "Cloud" in its title, the game doesn't support cloud saves, though being a universal app is definitely appreciated at least.
Skylanders Cloud Patrol is actually a shining example of how a big license can jump on to the platform. Without the branding, this would still be a fun game to play, and for fans of the franchise, it integrates fairly well. The characters could have been better used, but other than that, this is a solid little shoot 'em up.