With two daughters seven years apart in age, finding something fun and challenging they can mutually enjoy together is not always easy.
Mega Bloks’ Skylanders SWAP Force series has helped make this possible.
One of the latest additions to the series is the Boss Tank Showdown, featuring the tentacled, seaworthy creature Wash Buckler and the goblin-like Glumshanks. The tank is a fairly challenging build (young builders might need a little adult assistance to get the treads on), but a project that can be completed easily in one sitting. Once completed, the buildable includes a break-away section that can be taken out with the tank’s working cannon launcher, creating opportunities to simulate battle play and a game of skill long after the building is completed.
Boss Tank Showdown retails at $34.99.
Appealing to my younger daughter are the character-driven Battle Portal Packs, in which single characters can be easily set up on “battle portal,” complete with motion-activated lights and aim for the corresponding battle bumper in attempts to collect loot items, including a little accompanying critter, like an imp or chompie. This is ideal for younger kids, five and up, not ready to jump into too much building, but want to enjoy simple games of skill. There are suction cups involved, so make sure they are used on a clean, flat surface. Fair warning, though, as these stand-alone sets (with characters such as Eruptor, Gill Grunts, and Stump Smash), work well on their own, much of the appeal comes from two or more characters being able to battle each other. Be ready to buy additional packs, particularly when more than one kid are involved.
Battle Portal packs retail for $9.99.
One of the more advanced sets was Flynn’s Rescue Ship. This model was a bit more complicated and certainly more age appropriate for my older daughter, although my younger daughter enjoyed helping find pieces and navigate the instructions. This set is quite a showpiece when it’s done, with plenty of little details (including a working launcher and crane) and the nostalgic, steampunk appeal of the Skylander world. It also opens up for easy play below deck, as well. A favorite piece was the Hot Head figure, one of three figures included in the set, with a light up feature.
Flynn’s Rescue Ship retails at $69.99.
With all of the figures in the SWAP Force Series, the characters’ parts are fully interchangeable, encouraging kids to mix-and-match parts and create their own custom characters. There are also computer codes with each figure to unlock special online content via skylanders.megabloks.com.
The wonderful thing about this series for me, I discovered, is its uncanny ability to bring both my daughters together to the same table, re-creating battle scenes, helping each other with model construction or laughing over role playing games with the figures.
When a goal-driven, construction-minded tween and her high-energy, action-craving little sister can equally share in the enjoyment of the same toy on their own terms, that always makes for a successful afternoon of play.
GeekMom received samples of these products for review purposes.