Angry Birds Star Wars Comes to Home, Handheld Gaming Systems

angrybirdsRovio Entertainment Ltd. and Lucasfilm Ltd., in association with Activision Publishing Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard Inc., have launched Angry Birds Star Wars for home and handheld video game systems. Angry Birds Star Wars brings the struggle between the Rebel Birds and Imperial Pigs to new audiences on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Wii and Wii U systems, and the Nintendo 3DSAngry Birds Star Wars will also launch on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Twenty newly created levels join the more than 200 stages already available from the original mobile release of Angry Birds Star Wars. This latest version brings cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes, letting players team up or square off. Moreover, this expansive edition exploits the unique capabilities of each game system to deliver a distinctive experience tailored specifically to each platform, including sharp and colorful, high-definition visuals, achievements and trophies, leaderboards, voice command support through Kinect for Xbox 360, and touch-screen controls on Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PlayStation Vita.

The next-generation versions of Angry Birds Star Wars maintain these core features while introducing new play and interface elements exclusive to each system. The PlayStation 4 system’s adaptation makes full use of the DualShock 4 controller’s touchpad to offer precision, touch-screen handling, and full support for PlayStation Move in both single-player and local multiplayer modes. Players can also easily record and share their accomplishments with the world with the PlayStation 4 system’s automatic screenshot and video capture options. [Read more...]

Swaptober Kicks into Gear in Anticipation of Skylanders Swap Force

Skylanders-SWAP-Force_NightIn anticipation of the Skylanders Swap Force launch, Activision Publishing Inc. is using the month of October, or “Swaptober” to get gamers ready for the game’s launch on October 13. Lucky Portal Masters will have chances to win copies of the Skylanders Swap Force game, explore the world of Skylanders in Times Square, and more during the month-long activities.

To kick off Swaptober, Activision will be giving away one Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack per day beginning October 1 and going to October 31 via the official Skylanders Twitter channel (@SkylandersGame). For a chance to win, portal masters can visit Skylanders.com to mix and match their favorite character combination and then tweet it along with a suggested catch phrase using hashtags #SWAPtober and #Skylanders.

There are even more ways to celebrate on  October 10, when Skylanders partners with Toys “R” Us to bring Skylanders to life with “Swaptoberfest”—a celebration in Times Square where fans will have the chance to be among the very first to play the game before it’s available at retail. This Times Square takeover will feature Skylanders Swap Force-themed activities, photos with Skylanders costumed characters, and chances to win Starter Packs and Skylanders-themed merchandise from companies, including Mega Brands, Rubie’s Costume Co., Hybrid Apparel, and Power A. [Read more...]

Skylanders Swap Force Continues the Franchise’s Reputation

This week, The Toy Book got a chance to preview Activision Publishing Inc.’s upcoming Skylanders Swap Force video game and toys at an after-school event in New York City. The original entry in the series, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, pioneered the idea of video games that interact with real-world toys. Now comes Skylanders Swap Force, in which special action figures can be disassembled into top and bottom halves and then reassembled into new characters that are playable within the game.

Skylanders SWAP Force, Stink ChargeThe game itself is as visually rich and immersing as previous entries in the series (although Playstation 4 (PS4) version takes the experience to a whole new level, but more on that later). At the demo, kids and their parents got to preview the levels, “Rampant Ruins,” a creepy jungle graveyard, and, “Winter Keep,” in which the Skylanders heroes have to retrieve a special device called the Illuminator—all while dodging huge flying snowballs. Each level features mini-games that vary in play style, keeping things from ever getting too repetitive. At one point during “Winter Keep,” the game switches from more traditional combat to a race through the sky along “rainbow rails.” [Read more...]

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 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.

Activision Unveils New Games at E3

Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc., unveils the next-generation of gaming at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 Expo) at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 11 to 13. The company’s slate includes Call of Duty: Ghosts, Destiny, and Skylanders Swap Force.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is developed by Infinity Ward, creators of the original Call of Duty and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, and delivers a new world, setting, and cast of characters, powered by a new engine. Gamers fight as part of a single squad against an enemy that has superior numbers and firepower. Call of Duty: Ghosts’ next-gen engine delivers several new multiplayer features that will be unveiled in the coming months. The game will be released on November 5 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC. The game is developed for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC. The game is not yet rated by the ESRB.

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Activision and Bungie, creators of Halo, will introduce the new game Destiny. Destiny casts players as Guardians of the last city on Earth, who will traverse the ancient ruins of our solar system. Gamers battle humanity’s enemies and reclaim all that was lost during the collapse of mankind’s Golden Age. Destiny is story-driven and immerses players in a new universe. The game is developed for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 and is not yet rated by the ESRB.

Skylanders Swap Force introduces the dynamic swapability feature. Kids and gamers explore Skylands and battle Kaos by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys to transform 16 Swap Force characters into more than 250 unique combinations. Skylanders Swap Force has 32 never-before-seen characters with unique powers and personalities. The game also features new abilities—such as flying, climbing, and teleporting—which can be used in special areas of Skylands. Additionally, fans can play with their entire collection of more than 100, forward-compatible toys from both Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders GiantsSkylanders Swap Force is set to release in North America on October 13, Australia on October 16, and Europe on October 18. Fans can pre-order Skylanders Swap Force Starter Packs worldwide beginning on June 7. All games pre-ordered at participating retailers worldwide will come with a free Skylanders toy. The game is developed by Vicarious Visions for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the Wii U.  The Wii version is in development by Beenox, and the portable Nintendo 3DSversion is in development by n-Space. The game is not yet rated by the ESRB.

 

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Kids’ Hit Cartoon Series Comes To Life With Transformers Prime Video Game

The battle to protect mankind from the evil Decepticons rages on in the Transformers Prime video game from Activision Publishing, Inc.

Created for kids and based on the animated television show produced by Hasbro Studios seen in more than 170 countries and airing on The Hub television network in the U.S., Transformers Prime allows fans to take on the roles of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Arcee, Autobot Ratchet and Bulkhead as they fight through heroic battles against the Decepticons all around the world. Players will engage in brawler-style combat and diverse driving sequences in order to save Earth from the sinister Megatron and his new secret weapon, Thunderwing.

Transformers Prime is available now for Nintendo‘s Wii system, and the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS hand-held systems, and will be a day-one launch title for Nintendo’s new Wii U system launching on November 18.

For more information and exclusive updates, fans can visit www.TransformersPrimeTheGame.com.

Skylanders Giants Debuts 16 New Characters, Tech with October 21 Release

Portal Masters everywhere will once again face the evil Portal Master Kaos in a brand new adventure in Skylanders Giants, which is poised to prove that bigger really is better when the game hits store shelves in North America on October 21 for Nintendo’s Wii system, Nintendo 3DS, the Xbox 360 game and entertainment system, and the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system.

Check out the trailer!

[Read more...]

Scholastic Launches Compilation Packs for Nintendo

Scholastic Media, a division of Scholastic, Inc., announced the release of three compilation game packs for Nintendo’s gaming platforms: I Spy Two Game Pack for Wii, and I Spy Two Game Pack and Smart Games for Kids Two Game Pack for Nintendo DS. Each game pack includes bestselling titles from Scholastic Media’s interactive portfolio and will be available this fall.

The I Spy Two Game Pack for Nintendo DS includes two award-winning titles from the I SPY franchise: I Spy Fun House and I Spy Universe. Together, the games feature more than 50 riddles and more than 200 levels of play for seek-and-find fans of all ages. To escape the topsy-turvy world in I SPY Fun House, players must earn tickets by completing games, riddles, and the Prize Popper challenge. I SPY Universe takes players on a different kind of puzzle-solving adventure with a trip through the I SPY cosmos. Players unlock new planets and explore the universe while searching for more than 400 objects in 36 I SPY riddles and playing six brain-teasing games.

I Spy enthusiasts can continue the brain-teasing fun with more than 70 riddles and more than 60 interactive mini-games in the I Spy Two Game Pack for Wii, which includes Ultimate I Spy and I Spy Spooky Mansion. Ultimate I Spy takes players through a wonderland where they search above and below objects to solve riddles, puzzles, and mini games. I Spy Spooky Mansion offers thrills and chills with a trip through a haunted mansion.

Also for Nintendo DS is the Smart Game for Kids Two Game Pack, which features the My Amusement Park and Digging for Dinosaurs DS games. Kids run their own entertainment venue in My Amusement Park. Players can choose from four themed building rides, food venues, and special attractions in their park. Digging for Dinosaurs challenges players with a variety of mini-games that range from simulated paleontological digs to dinosaur battles, all while learning facts about 21 different prehistoric species.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.

The Results Are In For What’s Hot With Kids Today

Justin Bieber topped the list when The NPD Group, as part of its Kids Industry Data Service (KIDS), asked “what would the kids you know say is the hottest new thing these days?” in May. Mentions included celebrities, movies, television shows, toys, games, hobby, sports, web sites, brands, and retail stores. NPD compiled 2,095 mentions for kids ages 0-14. The results were:

  1. Justin Bieber (10 percent)
  2. Nintendo Wii (2 percent)
  3. Dora The Explorer (2 percent)
  4. Xbox 360 (2 percent)
  5. Cars: The Movie/ Cars 2 (2 percent)
  6. iPad (2 percent)
  7. SpongeBob SquarePants (2 percent)
  8. Disney (2 percent)
  9. Video games (2 percent)
  10. Thor (1 percent)

Bieber also topped the list in the same survey conducted in February, with 14 percent. The NPD Group’s Kids Industry Data Service (KIDS) provides monthly insight into purchases made on behalf of kids ages 0-14, across product categories, with an emphasis on licenses and brands. Each month, the service asks an open-ended, unaided question designed to provide insight into what is hot with kids today.