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Fact File: Skylanders Swap Force Questions

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As we head towards the year's bigger releases we will be homing in on a series of titles that are popular with families. As well as answering your questions these posts aim to provide the information you need to make informed decisions around what games will fit your needs the best.

Skylanders Swap Force is up first. As we have mentioned previously this is a new game in the toy-meets-video-game genre. Together with titles like Disney Infinity and App Mates, it enables you to access in game characters by placing a toy figure on a USB device that plugs into your console.

Each year there is much interest around the new characters that will be added. This year, Swap Force adds new figures than can be separated in the middle and mix and matched. Although these figures are likely to cost a little more, it means that with just a few characters families can access a number of different combinations in game.

Along with the usual advice that you only need to purchase a few figures in addition to the Swap Force Starter Pack, this means that with the couple of Swap Force characters provided in the new pack families can access the majority of the levels. Additional toy figures can then be seen as an optional extra rather than necessity.

Swap Force will provide the following new figures this year:

Another fact for families to remember for the new Skylanders game is that it supports all the old figures from Giants and Spyro's Adventures. Again this provides another way to reduce the number of new characters that children purchase, and extends the value of their existing figures.

Some research is also useful before choosing which figures to obtain. It is advisable to avoid doubling up characters in the same element. Additionally you can check the different character stats by placing them on the in-store demo pods and viewing them in the menu, something I recently tried with the new figures at a preview of the game: Count Down, Star Strike, Wash Buckler, Stealth Elf Series 3, Freeze Blade, Magna Zone, Night Shift, Blast Charge, Spyro Series 3, Free Ranger, Grim Creeper.

It is also worth having a close look at what the new game offers in terms of game-play. Each of the different versions of Skylanders provides a slightly different experience. Spyro's Adventure was the start of the story for instance, while Giants enabled you to adjust the difficulty level for beginner players and Swap Force introduces more puzzles and the ability of characters to jump.

This year, with a wider variety of games to choose between it is also worth spending some time comparing the different experiences. A comparison of the Skylanders and Disney Infinity figures, reveals varying approaches to how the figures work in the game. These differences also extend to the game-play offered by Skylanders and Disney Infinity.

The final question I wanted to cover here are the limited edition figures. These are rare toys that have been manufactured in limited numbers. These figures often go for many times their retail price second hand. Although there is much novelty and enjoyment in collecting rare toys like this, a little caution is advised as in the game they usually function identically to the standard, much cheaper and more common, variants.

Skylanders Swap Force is scheduled for a release on 18 October and will cost around £64.99 for the starter pack.
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Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.