27 September 2017

REVIEW: Lightseekers Game & Smart Toys

A new way of playing.

Wow. Right, where to begin? When TOMY asked us to test their new range of smart action figures, we first thought they meant 'smart' as in they look really cool. What we didn't expect was to start playing with something that was both a mobile game AND a physical toy AND a trading card game all wrapped up in one. We check out Lightseekers.

First and foremost, watch this video from TOMY:

Watched it? Good. Hopefully this all makes more sense now. First and foremost Lightseekers is a mobile game for iOS, Android, and Amazon, and anyone can download it right now, for free, and start playing. It is a world-building adventure game, where either one of two in-game (and in real life) characters can battle a string of foes and advance with power-ups and special abilities. Even played by itself, Lightseekers is fun, fast-paced and expansive. But there is more.

Kids can also possess the actual characters from the game in action figure form, but this is not simply a franchise tie-in line of toys. The action figures (both Mari and the one we were sent, Tyrax) are smart in that they can connect to your mobile device and link to the in-game character. This means that when something happens to your version of Tyrax in the game, the action figure will respond with lights, vibrations, and even spoken words.

Put an accessory in the actual hand of the figure, and that weapon will appear in the game, letting you battle your foes with it. Obviously this opens up a whole new world of "in-app purchases", as no longer will the kids be bugging you for your credit card details to buy something as they play -t hey'll also be bugging you in the toy store for an accessory to boost their game.

However, as a stand-alone action figure, even while not connected to the app, Tyrax is extremely impressive. He has just the right amount of articulation to play around with, yet he can hold a dramatic pose on your shelf when not used. Interestingly (and thankfully) the figure's power comes from a Micro USB-charged power pack which plugs into his back, so you could pull that out if you were concerned about your kids playing with something 'live'. Still, when left in the toy glows from several points on his body, and whatever weapons he is holding will also light up. Tap the buttons on the power pack and you'l get either a swishing or crashing sound (depending on the weapon held) or a wise-cracking comment in an American accent.

We were sent an extra accessory along with the Lightseekers Tyrax Starter Pack; the Spinblade 3000. Getting that from the start was like getting an instant power-up when we started playing Lightseekers, making the earlier levels a tad easier and more fun. BUT... what we didn't receive (but would have loved to) was the Flynamo Flightpack; an extra that attaches to the figure's back, transforming them into a game controller.

With it (as seen in the video above) you can control the movements of the in-game character when flying by tilting and turning the action figure, so as it flies in the real world, so it flies in the fantasy world of Tantos. It looks awesome, and definitely something to consider if you're kitting out your child (or, let's face it, yourself) for the full Lightseekers experience.

Included with the figures is a set of cards. These cards have two purposes; you can scan them in the app to reveal an augmented reality object or character on the screen, which will then appear in the game for your character to use. And then you can also use them in stand-alone card game, with additional decks being available to purchase separately. That element might not interest younger kids, but for the older ones it adds a collectable (and relatively inexpensive) new dimension.

Speaking of expense, this is where Lightseekers turns somewhat sour. The Tyrax Starter Pack retails in the UK for £70. {Edit: now down to £15 on Amazon}However, as a main Christmas present for a kid who is already into the game and wanting to progress further, that might be worth it.

All in all though, we are hugely impressed with Lightseekers. The free game is enjoyable, the action figure is fun, and being able to link them both for expansive and customisable play is great. We can definitely see many other toy lines copying this angle, so kudos to TOMY for getting in there with such a well-thought out product.


Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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