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Skylanders: Lost Islands and Battlegrounds iOS games announced

Activision reveals two new mobile titles in the toy-selling juggernaut franchise.

Matt Leone has written about games for three decades, focusing on behind-the-scenes coverage of the industry, including books on Final Fantasy 7 and Street Fighter 2.

Activision reveals two new mobile titles in the toy-selling juggernaut franchise.

At a press event earlier this month, Activision unveiled a two-part plan for the future of Skylanders iOS titles, following the franchise's success on consoles where players buy toys to import them into their game, and the debut iOS game — lock-on shooter Skylanders: Cloud Patrol.

Part one comes with Skylanders: Lost Islands, tentatively scheduled for November. An isometric free-to-play character resource management game — similar to DragonVale or Smurfs' Village — it lets players bring over their collection of Skylanders characters from the console games and use it here (either by typing in codes or by swapping toys on the game's RFID portal, should they have one available). Activision mobile vice president Greg Canessa sees Lost Islands as an attempt to reach a new demographic with the series, aiming for "moms" who see playing the game like playing with a dollhouse.

Part two is Skylanders: Battlegrounds — a second new game which Canessa refers to as the most ambitious of the three — also planned for November. Battlegrounds is a genre mix where players move through a turn-based strategy game on a map, then zoom-in to real-time combat, with character upgrades and specific characters needed to access certain locations. Players control two Skylanders at once in combat, and like in Lost Islands can important all their pre-existing characters and add new ones using a portal.

While the portal and toys make the Battlegrounds package less than portable — though you can store the characters in the game's memory if you don't mind dealing with extra menu screens — the design lends itself to constant character swapping and touch screen actions, which make it an appropriate fit for the series' playing-with-toys concept. Much like the console Skylanders games, Battlegrounds will be available in a retail store starter pack — here for $49.99 with a portal and a handful of toys. It'll also be available as a download on its own for "five to seven" dollars, according to Canessa.

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