Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Skylanders Cloud Patrol ($1.99, Universal) is a carnival-style shooting game where you tap to shoot at your target to win coins. The targets you are shooting at are mischievous trolls that have broken out of prison.
In this game you play one of a number of different Skylanders. As a Skylander you are responsible for hunting down and eliminating the escaped trolls. To shoot a troll, or anything else for that matter, you simply tap on the screen at the target you want to hit. You can also swipe your finger up, down, across and in a variety of pattern to lock on to a series of targets in quick succession. When shooting in such a manner, the game has the same interactive feel as Fruit Ninja. And like Fruit Ninja there are targets on the screen, in this case mines, that you must avoid shooting at all costs. If you shoot and hit a mine, it will explode and end the game.
As you progress through the game you are presented with a never-ending series of targets at which to aim. Each collection of targets are laid out like individual levels. After you successfully hit all of the targets on a given level, you will be flown to the next level in the cloud and presented with a new collection of targets. These targets can be barrels, boxes, balloons, presents, sheep (yes, sheep) and of course trolls. Things do get progressively difficult as the targets you are aiming to hit do not stay in one place.
The trolls will hide behind shields, duck under rocks and even fly around the screen using propeller caps. It really does resemble a carnival-style shooting game. Some of the trolls are armed with weapons that they will use to shoot at you. You must shoot down the projectiles aimed at you before they get too close and kill your Skylander.
Swirling around the screen intermixed with the trolls are the mines. The mines always seem to change their pattern and place themselves right in front of a troll as you are tapping on the screen to shoot. There are also magical power-ups, crates packed with explosives that will kill all visible trolls on the screen, and golden coins that you can tap on to collect. When you do finally get overwhelmed and either shoot a mine or get shot by a troll, the game will end. Your score will be tallied, coins will be counted and you will be awarded gems for each of the posted achievements you have accomplished.
The coins and gems collected can be used to buy magic items as well as different Skylanders. The magic items can be used while playing the game to give you an advantage over the trolls you are shooting. However, switching out your Skylander for a more powerful Skylander with special abilities can really make a difference in how well you perform. Between each level, there are in-app purchases where you can buy more gems. The gems can be traded for gold coins. This can certainly help you power-up at a faster rate by enabling you to achieve your goals faster.
What really sets the game apart however is that you can also make out-of-app purchases. This is actually the main reason that the entire Skylander series of games exists. By purchasing real toy models of the Skylanders at your local toy or hobby store, you can use the web activation code that comes with the toy model to unlock its corresponding Skylander character within the game itself. Through earning gems and coins in the game, buying gems and coins through iTunes in-app purchase, or buying toy models at a retail store, you can grow your Skylander army.
Rather than exclusively use Apple’s GameCenter, Skylanders also utilizes Activision’s online gamers community, Activate. With Activate you can save game progress and challenge your Activate friends to various Showdowns. These Showdowns are like goals, and if you win the Showdown you will be awarded with gems and coins. The interaction between the game and Activate is smooth and reliable. This weekend is as good a time as any to Activate an Activision online gaming account and start hunting trolls.