China Toy Fair


COMMENTARY: Oldies but Newer: Upcoming Video Game Sequels to Look Out For

With the impending release of the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One, it’s only natural to be on the lookout for new video games to try on these latest platforms. However, games from other consoles and devices shouldn’t be excluded either especially with the forthcoming distribution of newer versions of old classics. Whether it’s a sport, action-adventure, or fantasy game, there’s a game out there geared towards any gamer in any genre. The best part is that the timeless games players have grown up with are being revamped to ensure a different gaming experience than previous versions. Before eliminating these new editions to opt for a newer series, it might be worth it to consider what these current renditions have to offer. Here are some classic franchise games getting ready to put out their latest publication that might capture your interest.

FIFA 14

fifa14The annual soccer game is back for another year filled with players across the world in various leagues and tournaments. The FIFA soccer video game series premiered in 1993, and is still going strong. This latest addition to the line will be available for a multitude of platforms including Xbox 360, PS3, and PC download on September 24 in the U.S. An early release version is also available for the PS3 and comes out on September 20. The game will also appear on the PS4 and other Playstation and Nintendo devices including the PSP and the Wii. The Xbox One however might arguably be the best deal for the console which FIFA 14 debuts on for free (at least in Europe anyway—with a preorder of the device) and comes with FIFA Ultimate Team Legends, which features legends of the game. Now, you can play with players of today and yesteryear, and can in fact see Pele tackle the ball from Cristiano Ronaldo—if that’s your preference. [Read more...]

Disney Infinity Debuts at Toys “R” Us Stores Nationwide

disney-infinity-figurinesToys “R” Us stores and Toysrus.com officially launched Disney Infinity on August 18. Disney Interactive’s new video game platform will be available on the Xbox 360 system, the PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Wii U, and iPad. The game integrates collectible figures featuring characters from The Walt Disney Company and Pixar Animation Studios with a video game experience that allows the characters to interact together—for the first time ever. In the U.S., the Infinite Crystal Series figures will only be available at Toys “R” Us. The figures are an assortment of collectible figures that have enhanced in-game abilities, as well as power discs that unlock special in-game powers, gadgets, vehicles, and more.

Each Disney Infinity character figure will come to life and play together in a virtual Toy Box. In this mode, players can build and customize their own virtual world using their favorite characters, vehicles, settings, and accessories. The game also includes a Play Set mode, a story-driven experience that allows players to solve puzzles, battle enemies, and explore locations from Disney properties.

Disney Infinity launched with an initial line of 18 collectible interactive figures and 21 Power Discs, including those found only at Toys “R” Us. Toys “R” Us will offer the largest assortment of Disney Infinity products available, which includes the Lighting McQueen Infinite Crystal Series figure, and Mike’s Car Power Disc (Monster’s Inc.).

Luigi’s Living the Dream in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

Mario and Luigi Dream TeamNintendo will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of Luigi, the younger brother of its mascot character Mario, with Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, available exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS system.

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is the fourth game in the company’s Mario & Luigi series. At certain points during the game, the gameplay shifts from controlling both brothers in an isometric 3-D world to controlling Mario and a dreaming Luigi through the side-scrolling vistas of his dreams. Using the touch screen on the Nintendo 3DS, players can manipulate a sleeping Luigi, which will in turn make things happen in the dream world. Luigi also has special powers in his dreams, such as spawning hundreds of himself to form towers or wrecking balls.

Nintendo had previously named 2013 the “Year of Luigi,” and had announced plans to release several games starring the character. In addition to retail stores, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team can also be purchased and downloaded at the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo Debuts Animal Crossing Plaza App, Pokémon Series on Wii U

acpFans of Animal Crossing now have a new place to go on Wii U to talk about their towns and share images with players from all over the world. Nintendo unveiled the new, and free, Animal Crossing Plaza app during a recent Nintendo Direct presentation. It is available for download at the Nintendo eShop.

Nintendo also discussed a variety of other topics about Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games, including the debut of the Pokémon series on Wii U with Pokémon Rumble U and the story behind The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for Nintendo 3DS.

In Pokémon Rumble U, which launches exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on August 29, players will have the opportunity to befriend some of the Toy Pokémon that they defeat in battle. They can also play as or do battle against every one of the 649 Pokémon that have appeared in the video games through Pokémon Black Version 2 and Pokémon White Version 2.

To view the Nintendo Direct news broadcast in its entirety, visit the Nintendo Direct site.

Disney Planes the Video Game Launches Exclusively for Nintendo

Disney PlanesDisney Interactive has announced that Disney Planes the video game is available at retailers worldwide. The game is exclusive to all Nintendo platforms including the Wii and Wii U systems, as well as the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS handheld systems.

Inspired by Disney’s animated comedy-adventure film, Disney Planes continues the storyline with Dusty, a big-hearted, speed-loving crop duster voiced by actor and comedian Dane Cook. Players can embark on races and global adventures with Dusty and other characters from the film including Ishani, voiced by Priyanka Chopra; Echo, voiced by Anthony Edwards; and Bravo, voiced by Val Kilmer.

From Propwash Junction to China, players will soar across different environments inspired by the film, playing as any one of 10 of the film’s most memorable characters. Co-op play for two players is available on any console mission. Meanwhile, handheld players will enjoy six different film-inspired skies and the option to play as any one of six characters.

Four different modes of gameplay include Air Rallies, Story, Free Flight, and Balloon Popping. Free Flight mode is exclusive to console play, while the handheld has an exclusive Challenge mode.

Mind Candy Partners with Activision for Moshi Monsters Game

Katsuma_Unleashed_AUSMind Candy has partnered with Activision Publishing Inc. for a new video game, Katsuma Unleashed. The game is planned to hit store shelves on October 11 in Europe and November 5 in North America, and is currently in development at UK-based studio Sumo Digital for the Nintendo DS and 3DS handheld gaming systems.

Katsuma Unleashed is a side-scrolling, action-adventure platform game designed to appeal to Moshi fans of all ages. In a move away from the previous two titles, the game will feature stand-alone hero character Katsuma. As the franchise’s most popular Moshi Monster, players will embark on a voyage with Katsuma through new worlds packed with mini arcade challenges and boss battles. Along the way, Katsuma will have to battle enemy characters using powerful new capabilities, including Furi’s Smash and Diavlo’s Flight, in order to rescue other Moshi Monsters. Another feature available in the 3DS version is StreetPass secrets—18 explorable maps and monster attack games where users get to play as each of the Moshi Monsters, each with its own unique set of moves.

D3 Publisher Debuts Turbo: Super Stunt Squad Video Game

turbo-super-stunt-squad-400D3Publisher debuted Turbo: Super Stunt Squad, a new action game that features the characters from the upcoming DreamWorks Animation  film, Turbo, set to hit theaters July 17. Each playable character has its own signature street style and skills including jumps, drifts, slides, flip, and other super stunt moves. Key features of the game include multiple upgrade and unlock abilities, and larger than life courses, all of which vary depending on the game console used. Turbo: Super Stunt Squad is available for Wii, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 entertainment systems.

Sega, Nintendo Partner for New Sonic Installment

SonicLostWorldLogoSonic Lost World is the next Sonic the Hedgehog franchise title to be published on Nintendo platforms as part of an exclusive partnership between Sega of America Inc. and Nintendo. In the new game, Sonic must conquer six of the most powerful enemies to date. Sonic Lost World will be available exclusively for Wii U andNintendo 3DS platforms later this year.

Dr. Eggman has harnessed the power of six menacing creatures collectively known as the Deadly Six, but when the Deadly Six rise up against their master, Sonic has to unite with his arch nemesis in order to take on the new enemies. Using his dynamic new Parkour moves and improved Color Powers, Sonic must run, jump, and race through a variety of ever-changing terrains in order to defeat the Deadly Six.

SonicLostWorldSSAlongside a single player adventure, the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions of Sonic Lost World will feature a range of competitive multiplayer modes. In addition, each platform will also contain distinctive features that take advantage of the consoles’ unique capabilities. Exclusive Wii U Color Powers can be controlled with the Wii U GamePad by tilting, touching, and aiming. The full game can also be played using only the GamePad screen and will feature a two-player support mode.

Sonic Lost World for Nintendo 3DS is the first handheld Sonic game ever to feature fully realized 3-D levels, which include exclusive Special Stages and Color Powers unique to Nintendo 3DS.

The game will be distributed by Sega of America Inc. throughout the U.S., Canada and South America, with Nintendo of Europe GmbH handling distribution throughout Europe and Australia.

COMMENTARY: Taking the Stress out of Travel

Seemingly endless construction and bumper-to-bumper traffic. Dead batteries in the PS Vita or Nintendo 3DS. No wi-fi connection and nothing good on the radio. Uncomfortable seatbelts and restless little bodies. Though road tripping is a great option for a large family looking for an affordable summer getaway, sometimes a long journey in a crowded car can make a vacation more stressful than it’s worth. Portable gaming systems can be great (especially when coupled with headphones), but sometimes battery-free options are a safer bet for long journeys. For parents just looking to relax, there are a few great products on the market sure to keep little ones occupied in the car for extended time periods.

Brain Box Animals, from University Games, is great for on-the-go fun. Players ages 8 and up choose a card from the box and study the picture on one side until the timer runs out. Then the players flip the card over to the question side and try to answer as many questions about the picture side as they can. The player who can answer the most questions correctly wins. Brain Box Animals helps kids stay entertained while practicing memorization and recognition and learning new information.

SeatPetsUncomfortable seatbelts are always a complaint with younger kids, but with SeatPets, from Jay at Play International, kids’ seatbelts stay in place. SeatPets are soft, cuddly animals that attach to the shoulder restraint portion of a seatbelt. Perfect for long carrides, SeatPets provide a soft cushion between the neck and the belt and a cozy pillow for naps. Each colorful, furry SeatPet has three pockets and two zippered compartments designed to store all of the things that kids want and need when they’re in the car including, MP3 players, hand-held games, toys, snacks, and an eight-ounce water bottle.

Stuffies.PrancineStuffies, from martFive LLC, are super-sized plush animals with seven top-secret pockets that are fun to discover and store all kinds of keepsakes. For parents who don’t want their car to turn into a second toy box during travel, Stuffies allows kids to bring a few of their favorites and keep them all safe in one place. In addition, every Stuffies toy comes with a surprise roll of collectible stickers and a free storybook from the Stuffies Adventures collection. Each book shares important lessons in fully illustrated, rhyming stories on topics including controlling tempers, using imaginations, volunteering, teamwork, and embracing chores.

TraykitTrayKit, from Kids Preferred, is a carry-on backpack that kids can pack themselves and carry on a trip using the handle or shoulder straps. TrayKit can be hung from the back of a seat or strapped to a tray table. When the kit is opened, kids have a play surface with raised sides so nothing falls to the floor. There are colors and patterns for boys and girls ages 3 and up, and the play surface can be cleaned easily. TrayKit accessories include passport holders, luggage tags, travel journal kits complete with pencils and erasers, and TravelBugs, which are small clip-on plush bugs in four styles.

Each of these products are noise-free, don’t require any batteries, and will provide easy entertainment for kids during long trips. There’s enough play value in these items to keep kids happy, while mom and dad stay stress-free (as long as the GPS doesn’t malfunction).

For more commentary from Marissa, check back each Monday afternoon. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

Commentary: Get the Party Started in The Croods: Prehistoric Party!

bat 0004 dvd o-sleeveThe Croods: Prehistoric Party!, inspired by the DreamWorks Animation animated film, The Croods, is now available for Wii U, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo DS.  The Croods premieres in North American theaters today.

A while back, I had the opportunity to check out The Croods: Prehistoric Party! at D3Publisher. Whether or not you’ve seen the movie, the Croods family is lovable and takes you on an adventure through dozens of mini-games. The game is fun for all ages and is great for family time or single play—the Wii U and Wii versions support up to four players.

Some of the games key features are highlighted below. For more information on The Croods: Prehistoric Party!, visit www.d3publisher.us. [Read more...]