Skylanders Trap Team Brings Digital Characters into the Physical World

SkylandersTrapTeamActivision’s newest installment to the $2 billion Skylanders franchise, Skylanders Trap Team, redefines the toys-to-life phenomenon with a new ground-breaking innovation. Unveiled today, the new game will reverse the magic of bringing toys to life by allowing kids to pull villains—including Kaos—out of the digital world and into the physical world.

In Skylanders Trap Team, Kaos continues his ongoing quest to rule over Skylands. He has discovered the location of the legendary Cloudcracker Prison—a fortress built entirely out of the magical substance, Traptanium, and home to Skylands’ most nefarious villains. In an attempt to build his own army of foes, Kaos blows up the prison, releasing the baddies and blasting shards of Traptanium to Earth in the form of Traps. Now it’s up to Portal Masters to recapture all of the escaped villains using powerful Traptanium Traps and defeat Kaos. The new adventure delivers a diverse and dynamic story-driven gameplay experience, filled with adventure, combat, puzzles, mini-games, activities, platforming, and drop-in/drop-out co-op play—all set within new compelling, breath-taking environments.

With Skylanders Trap Team, Portal Masters seek out and defeat the most-wanted villains in all of Skylands, pulling them out of the game and into living rooms by capturing them in the magical crystal traps. Players can then send the trapped villains back into the game where they will fight for good. The latest installment will include the Traptanium Portal, a new ring of magical energy that enables kids to not only bring their Skylanders to life, but also magically capture villains using the new traps. Once they’ve defeated the villain in the game, kids will be able to place a Trap into the new portal to capture it. They will also be able to hear the villain inside the Trap, furthering the magic of Skylanders in 2014. [Read more...]

New Ebook Further Develops Watch Dogs’ Cyberpunk World

Ubisoft will release a new e-book, Watch_Dogs  //n/Dark Clouds, authored by John Shirley and inspired by the highly anticipated video game, Watch Dogs. The e-book picks up where the game leaves off, allowing fans to further explore the world of Watch Dogs. It marks a first for Ubisoft, which conceived the e-book in-house and will release it exclusively via digital channels.

Shirley, the author of more than 30 books and short stories, is a known figure in the hacker community, as well as a pioneer of the cyberpunk movement. Watch_Dogs //n/Dark Clouds will be available in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish at the game’s release on May 27. It will be available as an upgraded e-book version with interactive elements, including videos and image, and as a regular e-book.

COMMENTARY: These New Japanese Toys and Games Aren’t Just for Kids, Part 1

Phil.April18.2014.1I may not be the biggest aficionado of Japanese pop culture, but I do consider myself a fan, having devoured lots of manga and anime over the years. What I also appreciate are the toys: Japan has some of the most exquisitely-made action figures and giant robots ever made, and in their native land, these items are generally aimed at adults.

Now when it comes to toys and games, Japan has long enjoyed a healthy foothold in North America—think of all the Pokémon, Hello Kitty, and Power Rangers products that have made their way over. So far in 2014, that trend has continued, with several new properties either just launching or expected to launch soon. But these are Japanese imports, meaning they’re sophisticated enough for grown-ups, even if they look like they’re for kids. [Read more...]

Puppy Parlour Is a Dog-Gone-Digital Mobile App

PuppyParlourAhead of the release of PS Vita Pets for the PlayStation Vita, a new mobile app, Puppy Parlour, lets players run their own puppy-pampering parlor. Each day brings a new dog, and players will be tasked with meeting their specific needs through a range of activities such as taking them for a walk, showering and feeding them, and playing games.

The games include Dream Chase, which is a race to collect golden bones, and Snack Balance, in which players tilt their device to keep the dog steady as it balances a tasty treat on its nose. Completing these games and looking after the dogs earns points that can be used to upgrade the parlor, as well as unlock new items and clothes.

Players can also unlock exclusive costumes that can be transferred over to PS Vita Pets when the full game arrives in June.

Disney Magical World Is a Universe of Fun for 3DS

DisneyMagicalWorldLast Friday, Disney Magical World launched for the Nintendo 3DS system. Players create a personalized avatar and customized dream life, and then embark on a 3D fantasy adventure across a main central plaza, as well as four surrounding worlds inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Aladdin, and Winnie the Pooh.

Along with interacting with iconic Disney characters, players can run a café to earn in-game coins, set off on ghost-hunting quests, and even visit friends’ towns via the StreetPass feature. Developed by Bandai Namco Studio Inc., Disney Magical World offers various opportunities for creativity and customization: With more than 1,000 items, players can hone design skills to create personalized Disney-themed outfits, accessories, and furniture. [Read more...]

Jakks Pacific and Nickelodeon Enter into Licensing Agreement for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

NickTMNTJakks Pacific Inc. has entered a licensing agreement with Nickelodeon to manufacture, distribute, and market a line of specialty figures and toys in the U.S. based on the network’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series. The agreement will include Jakks Pacific’s Hero Portal TV video game platform, Plug It In & Play TV Games products, and large-scale figures.

The new line will launch this fall, coinciding with the August 8 release of Paramount Pictures’ feature film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Get Ready to Moon Over Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel from 2K, Gearbox

Borderlands2K Australia and Gearbox Software are co-developing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, a standalone game set in-between Borderlands and Borderlands 2. The game will be available worldwide this fall for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles and Windows PC.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel takes place on Pandora’s moon, where players will experience gravity-bending gunfights in zero-atmosphere environments using all-new weapons. For the first time, fans will also be able to play on the side of the Hyperion Corporation as four new playable characters.

Super Smash Bros. Returns with Familiar Faces, New Powers and Game Play Modes

SuperSmashBrosNintendo has released new details about its upcoming Super Smash Bros. video games for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U systems. The 3DS version of the fighting game is planned for this summer, while the Wii U version is planned for winter.

Along with stereoscopic 3D that runs at 60 frames per second, the 3DS version will have an exclusive mode, “Smash Run,” in which four players have five minutes to enter a dungeon and explore the surroundings, fight enemies, and obtain power-ups. Once time is up, all four fighters enter a battle arena with their newly equipped items and power-ups. [Read more...]

Nintendo’s Tomodachi Life Looks to Breathe New Life into Social Media Gaming

82977A 3DS package_NOA_mOn June 6, Nintendo will release Tomodachi Life on its 3DS system. The game, which is set in an apartment building on an island, lets players create Mii avatars that represent themselves, as well as their closest friends and relatives, and to watch those characters behave and interact with each other.

Players check in on the Tomodachi Life characters on a regular basis, solving problems as they arise, which range from being hungry to sadness, to issues stemming from their love life. While players cannot control the decisions of the Miis, they can influence them.

Whenever the player makes a Mii character happy—for example, through purchasing them a gift from the in-game store—the player’s on-screen happiness level increases. They also receive in-game money that can be used to purchase more items for the Miis, and these items rotate on a daily basis. [Read more...]

Ubisoft’s The Crew Accelerates This Fall in Two Different Versions

TheCrewThe Crew, from Ubisoft, will be available this fall for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. An action-driving game that takes gamers on a reckless ride throughout a massive, open-world recreation of the United States full of challenges and populated by other real players, The Crew is available for pre-order in both Limited Edition and Muscle Edition.

Orders for the Limited Edition come with early access to the BMW Z4 sDrive35is, Mini Cooper S, and Dodge Ram SRT-10 rides and their respective sets of full custom and performance parts. The Muscle Edition, available for pre-order at GameStop, will include all early unlock content from the Limited Edition, as well as exclusive early access to the 2015 Ford Mustang GT.