Skylanders: Lost Islands Review

Welcome back, Portal Master! It hasn’t been that long since the launch of Skylanders: Giants and there’s already another Skylanders game to keep me from being productive. Vicarious Visions’ previous iOS take on the Skylanders license was fun, but left a lot to be desired with their simplistic Skylanders: Cloud Patrol. This time, they created a resource management game with a Skylanders twist, making Skylanders: Lost Islands aimed at the Farmville generation.

In Skylanders: Lost Islands, you once more fill the shoes of a Portal Master. The war with Kaos left Skylands in shambles and it’s your job to restore it to its past glory. It’s easy to forget about the peaceful inhabitants of Skylands that ended up suffering because of the war with Kaos, not to mention all the furniture and pots that were broken for gold coins…but what is gone can be rebuilt, as the legendary Lost Islands have re-appeared in the skies of Skylands and they are ready to be fixed up.

Skylanders Lost Islands (iOS)
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Publisher: Activision
Release Date: November 8, 2012
MSRP: Free [Download Now]

Skylanders: Lost Islands is nearly identical to other resource management games on the App Store. You’re start out with a single island to fix up by spending coins and energy on removing rubbish and building homes for the Mabu, the badger people from the console Skylanders games. Every action costs both time and resources, while giving you the option to speed up the wait times by using gems, a resource that’s the hardest to acquire without spending real money. Yes, it’s a money sink if you don’t have patience and self-control, but I found myself advancing at an acceptable rate without ever feeling the need to reach into my e-wallet. As you progress, more islands, items and buildings open up for purchase.

The Skylanders themselves serve as both cosmetic inhabitants of the island and workers to bring in the bank. You send the Skylanders off on adventures in balloons. As they progress through missions, they level up and unlock more missions that offer more rewards, at the cost of a longer wait time. Staying true to the style of previous Skylanders titles, Lost Islands features an element of the day, granting bonuses to Skylanders of the specified element.

It wouldn’t be a Skylanders game without an option to import your toys into the digital realm. Importing Skylanders into Lost Islands is an easy endeavor. Just take the code that’s printed on the sticker that comes with your figures and your Skylanders will be ported into the Lost Islands, where they can be put to work. If you were unfortunate enough to lose some of your stickers, you may be in luck after all. Skylanders: Lost Islands is compatible with the Bluetooth Portal that’s shipping with Skylanders: Battlegrounds, a more traditional Skylanders experience. Details are sketchy at the moment, but I do know that the Bluetooth Portal is compatible with Battlegrounds, Lost Islands and Cloud Patrol.

Free Legendary Skylander? Don’t mind if I do!

The hit box for some on screen icons is so small I found myself frequently having a hard time pressing them. Maybe it’s my fault for having humongous sausage fingers, but I manage to play most other iOS games quite fine. Other than that, I really haven’t encounted any other issues other than its lack of creativity.

It’s easy to pass off Skylanders: Lost Islands as just another resource management game that’s job is to siphon money out of your iTunes account and to be honest, that’s what it is. At least Lost Islands manages to present limitations in a realistic manner instead of cutting off half of the content like most other resource management games. If you’re a fan of the genre and Skylanders, you will feel right at home. It doesn’t do anything new, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.