Skylanders is the game that kick started the "toys to life" genre. Letting you buy collectable figures, place them on a glowing portal, and then play as those characters in game, it was nothing short of a sensation, and spawned a variety of spin-offs. The chart-topping, number one kids game franchise has sold a whopping a quarter of a billion toys to date - so it's no surprise that, since it's launch in 2011, other games companies have followed suit. Whilst Disney Infinity, with it's well-known characters flounders along (Flounders?! Get it?!), and Nintendo's recent line of Amiibo toys have yet to find their purpose in life, Skylanders has gone from strength to strength. However, in an unusual move in the games industry, last week's E3 show brought news of two competitors working together, as a very special partnership was announced. Because in the latest Skylanders game - Skylanders: SuperChargers - you'll be able to play as some very special guest characters...
With an army of new Skylanders Superchargers figures answering the call for help in taking down reappearing bad guy Kaos' latest invention, two new, very familiar faces are joining the ranks, exclusively on Nintendo platforms - the rather unexpected duo of Donkey Kong and Bowser. And, perhaps even more impressively, these figures will work as both Skylanders, and Amiibos.
Powered up to fight the threat of Kaos, Turbo Charge Donkey Kong is a life element type with a pair of barrels for fists and a swish new yellow suit, and comes complete with his own unique vehicle, the Barrel Blaster, a drag-racer-esque car and barrel-shaped side-car that fires explosive barrels (and can seat his partner-in-crime, Diddy Kong). Mr. Kong comes complete with all the moves you'd expect too, throwing barrels and sending out a ground-shaking leap, which causes old-school Donkey Kong ladders to rain down on your opponents. Hammer Slam Bowser meanwhile, has donned some solid metal armour and wields a giant spiky hammer, and falls into the fire type category - his vehicle of choice is the 'Clown Cruiser', a slightly sinister smiley plane that fires Bullet Bill projectiles. Other Bowser-specific moves include turning into a super-sized, fire-breathing 'Magma Bowser' version of himself and summoning red Koopa Troopas - which can also be set on fire in turn.
Placed on the new Skylanders Superchargers Portal of Power, each works just like your average Skylander, appearing in-game, and can be levelled up and upgraded as per normal. But, if you twist the base of the figure, you can switch it to working in Amiibo mode, where it can now be tapped on the Wii U GamePad to unlock exclusive bits and pieces in Nintendo's own games too - although details of which titles it'll be compatible with have yet to be revealed. However, it looks like the dual Skylander/Amiibo functionality is limited to the character figures only, and not to the vehicles - so far Nintendo have limited their line of figures to characters, and the vehicles have no base to twist to switch modes, meaning that cross-compatibility is unlikely. Even so, it looks like a pretty cool mash-up of our favourite Nintendo characters and one of our favourite game franchises!
As you'd probably expect, the Donkey Kong/Bowser duo are exclusive to Nintendo platforms - and will be bundled with the Wii, Wii U and 3DS versions of the new Skylanders game. From the looks of it, different versions of the Starter Packs will have different selections of figures, with the Wii/3DS games (which promise to be a 'different, complementary experience' - possibly a Mario Kart-esque racer) will come with the reposed Super Shot Stealth Elf, Hammer Slam Bowser and his Clown Cruiser vehicle. The Wii U game, meanwhile, swaps out Bowser for Turbo Charge Donkey Kong and his Barrel Blaster car, again alongside Sure Shot Stealth Elf.
Whether or not the figures will be in stores separately, or whether you'll need to buy both versions of the game to get them all remains to be seen - but given Skylanders' tendency to bundle different figures with the handheld and console versions of the games, it wouldn't surprise us if it's the latter.
Skylanders Superchargers hits every platform imaginable - that's the Wii U, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and the aforementioned companion games on the 3DS and Wii U - on the 25th September. Why not check out the slightly strange, semi-real world trailer below for a sneak peak at the new game?