Back in 2011, little known developer Toy’s For Bob released a video game featuring the once beloved (but since forgotten) character Spyro the Dragon called Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. It was a unique concept that had players using plastic figures to interact with a video game by placing them on a base connected to your console. It was also a concept that would very quickly grow to become a juggernaut that would dominate video game isles in stores and rake in piles of cash.
Being that Skylanders was published by Activision, the game received yearly sequels to cash in on the fad and other developers jumped on the bandwagon to release their own take on the genre, most notably Disney Infinity in 2013 and LEGO Dimensions in 2015. The genre grew to enormous heights with Skylanders alone bringing in over $3 billion dollars according to a 2015 estimate. But like the music genre before it, over saturation and closets full of figures led to a decline and as of this year Disney Infinity has been officially canceled, Skylanders isn’t releasing a new title for the first year since it’s launch, and the future of LEGO Dimensions is unclear.
Here’s the thing though, even though the future of the genre is very much in doubt and we may see very few (if any) new additions to these once hugely popular series, I would argue that there’s probably never been a better time to jump in and start collecting! That’s because one of the biggest hurdles for Toys to Life (the high price) is starting to disappear. The base game (which comes with the disc, base, and a few figures) would run between $80-$100, and if you wanted to buy more figures to use it would run you somewhere between $15-$50 depending on the pack. But now that demand is low, stores are desperate to get rid of the massive inventory that they have left.
If you check often, there are usually some great deals to be had out there. Just recently I picked up the LEGO Dimensions starter pack and several Level Packs that were all 50% off, and last month Toys R Us had an amazing deal on Disney Infinity figures that were buy 1 get 4 free! For those of us who have been hesitant about jumping into these series before due to the cost, now is the time to grab them for a fraction of the cost. I’ve even seen bins full of Skylanders at yard sales this year, so that might be a smart avenue to grab some extra figures on the cheap.
And just because they’re starting to hit the bargain bins, doesn’t mean that the games aren’t worth playing. Disney Infinity features a great Toy Box mode that lets you build your own levels and playsets to goof off in, as well as some fun level packs featuring Marvel Superheroes and Star Wars. My favorite though is LEGO Dimensions which has the best playing game out of the three, but with the additional bonus of having cool figures and vehicles to assemble before you play. Plus they have brilliantly (diabolically?) targeted 80’s kids like me by releasing sets for Gremlins, The A-Team, Goonies, and more. If you don’t have fun playing as Batman and Marty McFly hunting down One Eyed Willie’s treasure, then you might be dead inside.
Of course the best thing about these games is that all three of them are great for kids. These days it can be tough to find quality gaming choices for the younger members of your family and these games are fun, easy to pick up experiences that everyone will enjoy (even mom and dad). Both of my daughters have put countless hours into each of these games and you really won’t go wrong with whichever of them you choose.
I would encourage all of you bargain hunters out there to get out and get those deals while the getting is good (Cheapassgamer.com is a fantastic resource to see which deals are around). Right now the shelves are still full of inventory, but with deals as good as this there’s no telling how long that’ll last. There is some great gaming to be had for an amazing price. While the Toys to Life genre may be fading from prominence, I think that there is still a little life (and a lot of fun) left to be had.