It's that time of year again - with the latest in the long line of Skylanders games mere months away, we're saving up our pennies for what always ends up being a bit of a financial black hole. With the 'Starter Pack' alone weighing in at £50-60, nabbing you a copy of the game, a few of the figures required to play the game and a new portal to place them on, it's a bit more expensive than your average Lego game - and that's before you start buying all the extras. Add in all the optional characters (and this time round vehicles too) that we'll likely buy and our purses are already groaning in anticipation.
In recent years, from Skylanders: Swap Force onwards, the award-winning toys-to-life franchise has taken to releasing two of it's starter packs - a regular edition, that comes with everything you need to get started with the new game, and a special 'Dark Edition', which packs in more figures than usual, each in a limited edition 'dark' colour. It's a trend that looks set to continue into the new Superchargers game too, with not one, not two, but three different 'Dark Editions' coming to consoles this September, each with a different array of figures in.
First is the more standard Dark Edition, for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4, packing in Dark Super Shot Stealth Elf and Dark Spitfire characters, the Dark Sea Shadow and Dark Hot Streak vehicles, and a currently unnamed item, which seems to be a dark trophy of some sort, with what looks to be series bad guy Kaos' face plastered on the front.
The Wii U meanwhile drops Stealth Elf and the Sea Shadow, in favour of the Nintendo exclusive Dark Turbo Charge Donkey Kong and his Dark Barrel Blaster vehicle, appearing alongside Dark Spitfire and his Dark Hot Streak, also including the mysterious trophy item.
The Wii meanwhile, gets a similarly Nintendo-themed pack, this time with Dark Hammer Slam Bowser and his Dark Clown Cruiser air ship, with Dark Stealth Elf and the Dark Sea Shadow vehicle making up the numbers (plus the Kaos trophy item). It seems Activision/Nintendo are banking on Nintendo fans picking up both the Wii and Wii U versions of the game too, given that there's no duplicate characters in the two complimentary Starter Packs - although it does make our eyes water thinking of the price of both together.
Meanwhile, Skylanders SuperChargers will also see an expansion of the Eon's Elite range of figures that first launched last year. Originally released as part of the Trap Team wave of figures, the Eon's Elite range of Skylanders took some fan-favourite characters, such as Trigger Happy, Whirlwind and Eruptor, tripled their health and made them into some super shiny, fancy-boxed limited edition figures. Considering the fact we've yet to see one in the flesh in a shop, it seems the series must have done pretty well, as the Eon's Elite are coming back for the new game, with a new selection of favourite characters to pick from. Taking in a large portion of the never-been-reposed-before 'forgotten 8', the new roster includes Voodood, Zook, Slam Bam, Ghost Roaster, Boomer and Dino-Rang, many of which haven't appeared in a Skylanders game since the original Spyro's Adventure. Each of the new Eon's Elite are apparently "powered up to three times the normal level" - which we're assuming means they simply have triple the health, much like last year's figures, even if it does seem a strange way of putting it. We also wonder if these Eon's Elite figures will be similar to the other older characters remade for Superchargers, which promise a whole new set of upgrades for the likes of Stealth Elf and co - triple health AND new moves would be pretty damn swish. Remake our favouritest Skylander of all time, Wrecking Ball, and you have a deal!
Skylanders Superchargers hits the Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Playstation 4 and Wii U on the 25th September, with a "complimentary experience" (which looks to be a racing spin-off) coming to the 3DS and Wii too. With a month or two still left, we're keeping our fingers crossed for an Eon's Elite Wrecking Ball - or a new range of super cute mini Skylanders for the new game!