I was pretty shocked to find out that McDonald’s was going to be offering Skylanders: Giants toys in their happy meals. McDonald’s is no stranger to including poor quality video game toys in their kids meals, but I didn’t think Skylanders would necessarily work as simple obesity triggers, since they are mainly known as a collectable that bridges video games to the physical realm. Granted, Skylander fever is infecting the world like the plague and is nearing the same level of merchandise exploitation as The Nightmare Before Christmas or Angry Birds, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised to see the little rascals showing up in a bag of food unfit for a dog, let alone your child.
There are nine toys to be collected from McDonald’s Happy Meals and I’ve found some flaws with almost all of them. Because journalism.
Jet-Vac shoots what looks like fluid out of his cannon. Upon closer inspection, it does have finer details that make it look like the projectile is an cloud-like air blast. The problem stems from the color of the projectile, as it should be white. Color correction seems to be a recurring issue with each and every one of these toys, and Jet-Vac is no exception. I don’t expect them to go all out with the correct colors, it is after all a toy that will end up in an orifice of a child, but his hands and feet should at least match the color of his beak.
Ignitor is one of my favorite Skylanders, so it’s pretty nice to see him almost faithfully represented. To be fair, it’s hard to mess up a suit of armor with flames coming out of it. He lacks some of the finer accents, which should be blue, but you certainly wouldn’t be able to confuse him for a different Skylander. My main problem with him is the action he preforms. As you can tell, he swings his sword down when you press the button on his back. That’s cool and all, but it has a tendency of getting stuck on his thunder thigh when the button is pressed.
Despite being Skylanders Giants toys, only two actual Giants make their way into this set. One is Crusher and the other is Tree-Rex. Crusher is probably the laziest attempt of a toy out of the bunch. He has a limp willy-arm that constantly flops down. I couldn’t find a button or anything on him, so I honestly started to believe he was somehow broken. Despite being a man in my mid-twenties, I found myself reaching for the instructions pamphlet that came with the toy intended for children three and up just to find out just what the hell he does. Turns out, being limp is what he does. The instructions show an imagine of a hand picking up and dropping his hammer. That’s it. Just jiggle him around and beat your siblings with him.
Chop Chop is as basic as they come. You press the button and his sword swings downwards. Unlike his flaming brethren, Chop Chop’s anorexia prevents his sword from getting stuck on hips that won’t quit.
Ah, the other Giant of the set. Tree-Rex always was the show-runner for Skylanders Giants, so it’s nice to see him stay as faithful as possible to his more technically savvy counterpart. He’s the only toy in the bunch that lights up, so that’s always exciting. My one problem with him is with the button that you press to light him up. When pressed, it makes a god-awful loose clicky sound. Hell, when you shake him he sounds like a rattle. Granted, I won’t be pressing him or shaking him in the foreseeable future (he’s going in my shame drawer), so this isn’t too much of a problem, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Despite being essentially an attention grab to get gamers interested in Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure without knowing jack-shit about Skylanders, Spyro really doesn’t belong in the franchise, but it’s still nice to see the underrated dragon getting represented in a large amount of merchandise. The Skylanders franchise owes a lot to the little dude. This toy is surprisingly… okay. Spyro is a little purple dragon that shoots fire, so you shove a projectile down his gullet and press the button on his back to fire it at your family. The projectile isn’t the smoothest loading, but life taught me not everything is meant to fit in holes at the first, second, or third attempt. Just keep jamming it at it until it slides in. Then you’re ready to fire away.
Everyone’s second favorite squirter (obviously Squirtle is the first), Gill Grunt, is yet another projectile shooting toy without the slightest bit of articulation. There’s not much variety between these toys and that’s a damn shame.
Pop them wings on, push the button, and flap away. Drobot is a flapper… that’s about it. The color and detail feels off. Drobot is known as a tech Skylander, but this toy looks like basic lizard with mismatched parts.
Wait a minute! Kaos isn’t a Skylander! Oh, that silly rapscallion is at it again. Kaos’ inclusion actually tickles me in all the right places. The lack of Portal Masters and other supporting characters in Skylanders merchandise is a little upsetting. I know the game is about the Skylanders, but the supporting cast has always been strong and more than made up for the lack of proper Skylander voice in the games. Anyway, Kaos is accurately represented as the bipolar Jedi he is. With the press of a button on his back, his face changes from “I soiled myself” to “bend over” and vice versa. He’s a stationary toy with no articulation, but I couldn’t care less. I’m just happy to finally have a Kaos to stand beside my set of proper Skylander figurines.
Gaming Journalism is Real
And there you have it. Those are Happy Meal toys and I reviewed them. What more do you want from me? Oh, a score. With the exception of Tree-Rex and Kaos, nothing made me want to buy a Happy Meal to get any of these toys. Hell, I scored the entire set on eBay for a fraction of the price of nine Happy Meals, and even then I felt bad about buying them. There’s no real reason to own them other than to say that I do. If anything, they will constantly sit on my shelf and remind of what a missed opportunity it was to not include any form of video game interaction. They could have been mini in-game companion characters, maybe unlocked temporary buffs, or just had character codes for iOS games taped to the bottom of them. Anything is better than nothing, and nothing is all I feel I’m getting with these Skylanders.