skylanders

Ranking All Six Skylanders Games

Posted by | Feature, PlayStation 4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One | No Comments

Skylanders fans haven’t been feeling confident about the series lately. Activision announced last year that there would be no Skylanders 7 release, the first year a new Skylanders game hadn’t released since the series began in 2011. We’ve been given no new updates on the future of the once stalwart kid-friendly franchise.

Yet the series has not yet been officially canceled (unlike Disney Infinity) and a third season of the solid Netflix Skylanders Academy series is due to air later this year.

For now fans can revel in the sales of older games and figures. Whether you’re a newcomer to the toys-to-life series or a reminiscing veteran, we’ve compared all six primary Skylanders games and ranked them from weakest to strongest.

 

6) Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

skylanders

New Gimmick: Toys to life!

Best Skylanders: Stealth Elf, Drobot, Cynder

Once upon a time, toys-to-life was a relatively brand new concept. Activision and Toys for Bob looked for a recognizable, kid-friendly gaming hero to leverage. Enter Spyro, the sassy but good-natured dragon, who helped pave the way for an all-new action series using physical figures as a unique form of DLC.

Spyro’s Adventure may earn points for being the original, but it just doesn’t hold up when compared to later entries. That’s more a testament to how well the series has steadily improved rather than any glaring weaknesses in the original game.

5) Skylanders: Giants

skylanders

New Gimmick: Extra-large Giant figures

Best New Skylanders: Flashwing, Ninjini, Pop Fizz

A second Skylanders game the very next year raised a few eyebrows, but Skylanders assuaged many fears by seamlessly carrying over all previously leveled figures from the first game, creating an important precedent that cemented the series’ popularity for years. Out of all the games here, Giants is the safest sequel, not rocking the boat too much but still steadily improving on level and figure design.

The new Giants gimmick likewise wasn’t anything fancy. They were big, lumbering brutes who are almost more of a hassle to play than anything else, though the actual designs are fun, like Eye-Brawl who could detach his giant flying eyeball.

4) Skylanders: SuperChargers

skylanders

New Gimmick: Vehicles and racing

Best new Skylanders: Stormblade, Splat, Spitfire

By the fifth entry, Activision was looking at other successful family-friendly series to add a whole new dimension to Skylanders. They settled on Mario Kart-style kart racing. It wasn’t exactly a demanded feature by fans, and the result was a ham-fisted addition that didn’t feel entirely welcome. Vehicle segments were both forced (land) and optional (sea and air) and ranged from traditional racing to vehicular combat, 2D exploration, and shoot ’em up brawls.

The Skylanders themselves played a diminished role during the often annoying vehicle segments, and the controls left a lot to be desired. The on-foot gameplay was still solid, and the figures were decent. While it was fun seeing new remixes of familiar characters, like a gun-wielding Stealth Elf, it meant less new characters overall.

3) Skylanders: Trap Team

skylanders

New Gimmick: Trapping and playing villains

Best new Skylanders: Krypt King, Gearshift, Blackout

Ah, the inevitable Pokémon clone. For the fourth game, Trap Team lets you battle against a roster of fun new villains – and then capture them inside special trap crystals. Sold separately, of course. Playing as the villains was like a special powered-up mode and a lot of fun – particularly the way the captured villains taunted from the speakers on the portal itself.

You needed one of each trap element to play as all the villains, but you could mix and match them within their elemental types. Much speculation was given as to how the traps would be incorporated into future games, and the answer was, unfortunately, not very well if at all. Save for a few standouts the new Trap Master figures were generally disappointing, and requiring them to unlock everything in the game was irksome.

One standout feature that Trap Team added: tower defense survival mode. These were fantastic challenge modes, built for various levels of Skylanders, and a fun way to earn experience and level up outside the main game. They also played perfectly in co-op. For whatever reason, the mode was dropped in future games.

2) Skylanders: Swap Force

skylanders

New Gimmick: Swappable figures that can mix top and bottom halves

Best new Skylanders: Roller Brawl, Free Ranger, Spy Rise

The third game in the Skylanders series was the first developed by Vicarious Visions, instead of series creator Toys for Bob. Like the annualized Call of Duty series, Activision would appoint two studios to keep up with the yearly output of new entries. Vicarious Visions created an excellent entry that provided some of the biggest, best level designs the series has ever offered. Plus you could finally jump, a first for the series that opened up the level designs even more. But the real treat was the incredibly cool swap gimmick.

In one what is unquestionably one of the neatest concepts in a Skylanders game, special Swap Force figures could be taken apart and mixed together to create unique combinations. It was fun to play around with the toys, and also created a lot of really fun and interesting combos in-game, supported by new challenge mini-games and dual elemental gates.

Swap Force also featured Time Attack and Score modes for providing challenging replay value, and was the last Skylanders game to include PVP arenas.

1) Skylanders: Imaginators

Skylanders Imaginators

New Gimmick: Create your own Skylanders

Best new Skylanders: Kaos, Golden Queen, Ambush

It’s not fair to declare that Skylanders Imaginators was the first game to finally get it right, as each game had their strengths. But Imaginators combined a brilliant new gimmick, the best line-up of new figures, a fully realized loot system, and a more free-roaming overland map to create the best Skylanders experience yet.

The ability to create your own Skylanders was made possible by piggy-backing on Trap Team’s trap concept. Separate Crystals were sold that could house a single created Skylander. The Crystal determined its element, while you could select on of 10 different weapon styles. Within those parameters, you had multiple basic attacks, weapon attacks, and elemental moves to choose from as you leveled up.

All in-game rewards were tied to loot chests, which gave out new customization pieces, weapons, and skins for your custom Skylanders. There was an astonishing amount of loot to collect, making your Skylanders journey fun and rewarding, though they may suffer a bit from Frankenstein syndrome.

Imaginators couldn’t gotten by on that concept alone, but Activision also released the best wave of figures Skylanders had ever seen. The Senseis were all new, medium-size figures that had the best designs and gameplay we’ve seen yet, and the Villains let us play as our favorites from Trap Team as proper leveled figures.

Story structure and level design saw vast improvements as well. No longer were we stuck in a hub world, going through each level chapter by chapter. Now we could free roam around a board game-like overworld, exploring hidden secrets, taking side paths, and finding mini-games. It cannot be overstated how much this improved every aspect the game. If you can only play one Skylanders game, make it Skylanders: Imaginators.

monster hunter: world

Monster Hunter: World Tips and Guide for New Players

Posted by | Feature, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | No Comments

Monster Hunter: World may be the most accessible game in the series (read our review) but it’s still a tricky game to jump into, particularly if you’re completely new to the Monster Hunter series. We’ve compiled some helpful tips and explained some important mechanics to help start novice hunters on the right path to hunting and slaying.

No Level, All Gear

In Monster Hunter: World your progression is tied directly to your gear, as well as a single Hunter Rank number. This number could be considered your level, just without all the normal RPG benefits of stat increases and abilities. Your HR determines how difficult of a mission you can accept, as well as unlocking new areas, quests, and facilities in Astera. Every quest has an HR requirement, and you can never join one that’s above your HR. Keep that in mind when playing multiplayer.

Playing through Assigned Quests, or main story missions, will naturally raise your HR level.

Since your power comes directly from your gear, forging new weapons and armor is not only paramount to your success, it’s the primary method of essentially leveling up. See below for more tips on weapons and armor, but in general you should be stopping by the Workshop frequently and gathering what you need to forge the best equipment available to you.

monster hunter: world

The Easiest Starter Weapons

You begin with the basic iron version of all 14 weapon types, which is both very handy and incredibly overwhelming. Stick with the Sword and Shield at first for a solid baseline into standard melee combat, including both blocking and dodging.

From there you can experiment with the Great Sword and Hammer for slower but weightier attacks, the Dual Blades if you want to zip around quickly, or the Bow if you want to attack from range. There’s no wrong answer and much of your personal enjoyment will come from finding that right weapon set that works for you.

The weapons I would gently discourage completely new players away from initially are the very slow Lance and Gunlance, the Bowguns for micromanaging tons of different ammo, the Hunting Horn for its musical mini-game, and the Insect Glaive for adding a whole new dimension of buffs, kinsect customization, and aerial attacks.

Before heading out to the field with a new weapon, go to your room on the first floor and speak to your housecat Palico to transport to the Training Area. Here you can easily switch your equipment to test out new weapons. Basic combos will also be helpfully displayed right on the screen, similar to the training modes of fighting games. Experiment and discover what you enjoy.

Gather Your Party

Monster Hunter: World automatically populates online sessions, but you’ll need to select Join Quest from a quest board (or your handler) to actually join a multiplayer hunt – or Post a Quest and hope someone joins.

SOS flares are a useful way to find a greater search of online matches, provided the person in the hunt has fired a flare seeking help. You can do the same thing during any quest or Expedition after the first Great Jagras hunt in the main story.

monster hunter: world

If you’re wanting to play consistently with friends, the best method is to set up a Squad. Squads are Monster Hunter’s version of guilds. Create a Squad, then use the Invite a Friend option from the Start menu to invite them into your session, then invite them to your squad. From then on whenever you play in Squad Sessions, you’ll be playing a private server with your friends, and can easily join each other’s quests.

Expeditions, Investigations, and You

There are several different kinds of quests and missions in Monster Hunter: World. Most involve hunting a specific monster or group of monsters within set parameters, such as a limited number of faints and a varying time limit.

There are four options when you go to the quest board, and a fifth option for free roaming. We’ve explained them below.

Assigned Quests: These are the main story missions. You’ll need to complete them to progress your Hunter Rank. Since they feature cutscenes they are a hassle to play in multiplayer, since no one can join a mission if one player still has cutscenes to watch. A reminder should pop up once you can use an SOS flare, which is a sign that others can join.

Optional Quests: These are organized by Hunter Rank (represented by stars). You’ll unlock more as you complete the Assigned Quests. Optional Quests include standard hunts and captures, as well as gathering missions that can unlock new Canteen ingredients. You can also unlock Optional Quests by talking to people with the familiar yellow exclamation (!) above their heads in Astera.

Investigations: You can register Investigations at the Resource Center. Investigations are unlocked by battling, hunting, and tracking monsters. They’re designed to repeat multiple times and provide bonus rewards in addition to whatever you carve and find during the hunt. They’re also perfect for multiplayer outings, and soon you’ll be drowning in dozens of options. Pay close attention to the parameters; some allow only a single faint or a breezy 15 minute window, though increased challenges come with better rewards.

Events: Event Quests are unique quests provided by Capcom for a limited time. They often involve battling monsters within the arena, and can come with their own unique rewards.

Expeditions: Expeditions isn’t an option in the quest board. Instead you simply open up your map while in town, go to the World Map view, and select an area to explore. This lets you hunt in a zone without any set goals or time limits. It’s useful for gathering materials without worrying about the clock, though you can certainly hunt monsters as well. There’s also a few NPCs scattered around the zones you can talk to who offer special Bounties to complete. Remember to turn them in at the Resource Center.

Bounty Hunter

With the Resource Center (Tradeyard, near the entrance) you can Manage Investigations (see above) and Register Bounties. Bounties are like errands that you’re always working toward, no matter if you’re on a main quest or free roaming in an Expedition. You can register up to six bounties at any time, and they range from completing quests to hunting certain monsters to gathering certain types of materials.

Remember to check the Resource Center between quests for rewards and always have the max number of bounties registered. Bounties are a great way to earn Armor Spheres for upgrading your armor (see below).

Wear the Best Gear

You’ll be unlocking new armor sets at a rapid clip in the early game, as each new monster adds new armor pieces. The most important stat to look for is just boring old defense. You won’t need to worry about Elemental Resistances until a bit later in the game, when monsters start spewing poison or breathing fire.

monster hunter: world

Every piece of armor can be upgraded using Armor Spheres. These items are given as rewards for completing Investigations and Bounties. Go to the Workshop and Select Upgrade, and use the Armor Spheres to boost the defense stat of your various armor pieces. Each piece can only be boosted a set number of times, providing a natural ceiling for the set. This is motivation to keep crafting better armor!

Keep Your Blade Sharp

Eleven of the 14 weapons are melee weapons, and they need to be periodically sharpened. Weapon sharpness is represented by a small bar below your stamina in the upper left corner. As you strike a foe your weapon dulls, and the bar drops from green to yellow to red. You’ll do less damage and begin to see your weapon bounce off the monster’s hide with an insulting CLANG.

You need to use your Whetstone item (which is always equipped, like the fishing rod) and spend a few seconds sharpening. Since this leaves you completely vulnerable, it’s best to do it when the monster is retreating to a new area, or when it’s tied up with your Palico or other hunters.

Note that weapons are not created equal when it comes to their sharpness gauge. Typically Metal weapons will stay sharp longer (more green bar) than Bone weapons.

Affinity = Crit Chance

There’s a lot of things that aren’t well explained in Monster Hunter: World, and Affinity is one of them. You’ll find Affinity as a percentage stat on every weapon. It’s your chance to critically hit, doing increased damage. If it’s negative it means there’s a chance you could do reduced damage. A 20% positive Affinity means one in five hits should do increased damage.

Don’t neglect the Affinity percentage, and make sure to factor it when comparing weapons. Faster weapons, like the Dual Blades, greatly benefit from a high Affinity rating as you’ll be landing that boosted damage more often. Slower weapons like Hammers may prefer higher raw damage coupled with a negative Affinity, finding the trade-off more than acceptable.

Research Points

Research Points are earned when gathering materials, examining monster tracks, breaking body parts, and slaying and capturing monsters. Basically everything you do in the wild nets research points. They’re added to a currency-like pool you can use to forge Palico equipment as well as purchase meals at the Canteen.

Each monster also has its own Research Level, which you can view at the Ecological Research (the giant stack of books at the Tradeyard entrance, near the Resource Center). You have to actually visit the Ecological Research to apply any earned points, so make stopping there part of your routine in town. The points will unlock new information about monsters in your Hunter’s Notes (see below) as well as make tracking them via Scoutflies much easier. At level 3 the monster will show up on your minimap when you’re tracking it!

monster hunter: world

Know Thy Enemy

A good hunter gathers as much information about their prey as they can. On the pause menu you can access your Hunter’s Notes and look up detailed information of all the monsters you’ve encountered.

You’ll unlock additional information the more you hunt a monster, including its specific weak points (usually the head and tail) as well as any elemental and status weaknesses and resistances. If you’re hunting a specific monster it can be useful (and eventually, critical) to bring along the right weapon, though you needn’t really worry about it too much in the beginning. The most important information is knowing which body parts of the monster to target for extra damage.

Never Hunt on an Empty Stomach

Eating meals is usually not an important part of an action game, but it’s incredibly helpful in Monster Hunter: World.

In your home base of Astera you’ll find the Canteen on the third floor, manned (catted?) by a team of Palico cooks. You can pay either with money or research points, and you should have plenty of both.

Meals can boost your health, stamina, and provide useful buffs. It’s even more critical to eat when playing solo or with one other hunter, as your Palico receives several buffs as well (which in turn have a chance of buffing you).

monster hunter: world

Certain Optional Quests can unlock new ingredients at the Canteen, which you can use to customize your meals to create the perfect combination of stat boosts and buffs.

The effects of a meal last until you complete a quest, or until you faint. You can always eat a meal at campsites out in the world as well, just head over to the little oven near the tent.

Obey Your Thirst

Potions and Mega-Potions will be your primary means of health recovery. Gather Herbs and Honey and keep well-stocked at all times. Eventually you’ll unlock the Palico Vigorwasp Spray for a quick heal, and the Health Booster item for healing over time.

Later you can craft Mega-Nutrients to add to your max health, Energy Drinks to boost your stamina (and stave off Sleep effects), and Armorskin to boost your defense. Check the ingredients you need by opening your Crafting Menu from the Start Menu and when checking your Item Box next to the quest boards in Astera, or at any campsite. You can set items to auto-craft whenever you have the ingredients.

Note that like the meals, any potion effects you have will disappear if you faint.

Dino-Rider

It’s easiest with the aerial-fighting Insect Glaive but every hunter can attempt to land on the back of a monster to mount it. Use the terrain and items like the Glider Mantle to land on a monster’s back.

If you manage to mount a monster you will enter into a quick-time mini-game as you repeatedly slash at it with your carving knife while it attempts to throw you off. If you stay on you’ll eventually pull out your weapon and deal a massive blow. It’s a challenging, but rewarding maneuver to master in any battle.

 

dauntless

PAX South Preview: Dauntless is Part Destiny, Part Monster Hunter

Posted by | Feature, PC | No Comments

Dauntless either has terrible timing or brilliant timing. Indie developer Phoenix Labs had one of the largest booth at PAX South to show off their free-to-play monster hunting game. The booth lie in the shadow of the even larger Capcom booth, whose gigantic Rathalos statue beckoned people to play one of the biggest releases of the year: Monster Hunter: World. Dauntless offers a much more streamlined – and more importantly free alternative to the niche hunting genre.

“We’re big fans of the hunting genre,” said Reid Buckmaster, combat designer for Dauntless. “We wanted to bring together elements of games we all enjoyed to build the ultimate co-op game that we at the studio always wanted to play. We’re using elements from Monster Hunter, but also gameplay loops from Destiny.”

After several crashes on the demo PC I finally loaded up into a mission with a group of three other hunters, called slayers. Four weapon loadouts were available, and I chose the war pike.

Dauntless uses an easy to understand combo system with two attack buttons, as well as a special attack that varies depending on the weapon. My war pike could focus a laser beam, while the dual blades could either be hurled to close the distance, or used to vault away from a monster to avoid danger.

Combos are quickly accessible from the pause menu, teaching me basic strategies for getting the most out of my weapon – button mashing only gets you so far.

“We want to push players to switch between the weapon types,” said Buckmaster. “Players should want to feel like they have a main weapon, but be able to quickly switch out depending on their party composition or the encounter.” There are five weapons currently available: sword, hammer, axe, dual blades, and the war pike. A sixth weapon is being planned for open beta.

The four of us landed on a floating island to begin our hunt. The islands are relatively small zones and contain a number of gatherable resources and plants, which can then be used to craft potions and items back in the hub town of Ramsgate.

As in Monster Hunter we were given a time limit to hunt the monster. “We’re shooting for an average hunt time of about 15 minutes,” said Buckmaster. “If you have the right gear and really know your way around, you could finish one as quickly as five minutes.”

We stuck together and soon found our prey: Skarn. Skarn was a large four-legged dinosaur monster equipped with giant plates of rocky armor. It could knock the armor off and use it as a weapon, or slam the ground and cause rocky spires to jut out and impale us. The four of us surrounded it and began hacking it up, getting knocked around in the process. A big part of the strategy is learning to read a behemoth’s attack patterns and weaknesses, and a live demo on the show floor isn’t the ideal way to tackle it.

dauntless

Skarn retreated to a different area, giving us some breathing room to apply healing before chasing after it. There were some glowing blue outcroppings on the ground we could activate for an additional healing font. We also came equipped with several healing potions. If someone went down we could revive them, provided someone else distracted the monster away.

Sadly the behemoth ended us before we could take it down, though we gave it a valiant effort. Monsters scale with the number of players, and Skarn represented a Tier 2 behemoth. Normally it would not be the first monster you face.

Skarn is one of 18 behemoths currently available in the closed beta, spread out over five different difficulty tiers. The starter monsters at Tier 1 are easier versions of other behemoths, while a few later behemoths repeat the base monster designs but with different coloring and attack patterns.

Fighting behemoths is more than just trying to kill them. Targeting specific body parts and destroying them will nullify some of the monster’s attacks, as well as rewarding you with that body part. Body parts are used to craft more powerful weapons and armor, which in turn allow you to hunt more dangerous prey.

Dauntless is currently in closed beta, with an open beta arriving this summer on PC. Since it’s going to be free to play, Phoenix Labs admits that the open beta will essentially be a soft launch. “For open beta we’ll have the outline of our campaign,” said Buckmaster. “The goal is to have a full story campaign with voice acting and cutscenes. It’s not unlike Destiny where the 10-15 hour campaign shows you the ropes and gets you into the universe. Beyond that you’re grinding out for better stuff and going for the top accolades.”

dauntless

Phoenix Labs promises the game will remain free to play, with no pay-to-win elements. “We are very firmly against pay-to-win type mechanics,” said Buckmaster. “You won’t be able to purchase anything that will affect your gameplay. The only things available to purchase will be cosmetics, like designs for flares and armor.”

Dauntless is planned for a PC launch initially, but Phoenix Labs are eyeing console releases for the future, though no consoles have yet been announced.

Can Dauntless survive now that many hunting fans are knee deep into the recently released behemoth of the genre, Monster Hunter: World? “The hunting genre has been pretty niche and sometimes difficult to get new players into,” said Buckmaster. “That’s something we wanted to do focus on with Dauntless – having a really inviting game that has depth, but easy enough to jump into and start hitting buttons.”

Lightseekers trading card game

PAX South Preview: Lightseekers Trading Card Game

Posted by | Feature, Mobile | No Comments

The future of the toys to life genre may look bleak, but PlayFusion has a few cards up their sleeves to remain optimistic. Their Lightseekers cross-media brand had a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016, and began releasing last year. But it’s the collectible trading card game I checked out at PAX South 2018.

The Lightseekers Trading Card Game is no mere tie-in or side project, this is a fun, full-fledged card game with unique mechanics and 386 cards, each of which becomes an augmented reality card when scanned into the Lightseekers mobile game.

“Lightseekers is a really fun game that’s easy to learn and difficult to master,” said Willie Wilkov, Chief Marketing Officer for PlayFusion. Wilkov was kind enough to run through a full demo of the game for me at PAX, surrounded by an ongoing Lightseekers cash-prize tournament and numerous play stations.

The card game, like the digital game, revolves around heroes – the Lightseekers. Every deck must contain a single hero, which is set in front of each player. This hero provides the player’s health bar, a unique Hearthstone-like ability, and determines which type of cards you can play. I played with the Mountain Starter Deck and the hero Dolo the Mighty. Each hero has access to three elements, which in total make up each of the six Orders. Mountain has Fire, Earth, and Crystal.

Each deck is made up of five combo cards and 30 action, buff, or item cards. Combo cards are more powerful, but require a certain combination of elements in your hand. For example, to play my Stream of Tantos combo, I’d need to also have Fire, Earth, and Crystal cards in my hand. I spend those cards by shuffling them back into my deck and play the combo.

Action cards simply do their action, and can be played up to twice a turn depending on the hero’s preferred element. This is in stark contrast to many CCG’s which often involve summoning creatures to battle one another. In Lightseekers it’s the heroes themselves doing the battling, and each player is playing cards to do instant damage, heal, or defend against incoming damage.

The bulk of the strategy seems to be about timing. The main way to draw cards is to not play cards, so there are odd times of both players passing back and forth as they build up their hands, hoping to unleash a powerful combo while setting up defenses.

Healing and damage mitigation were quite prevalent in both my Mountain deck and Wilkov’s Nature deck, causing our health to fluctuate back and forth during the relatively quick match. Not having to worry about multiple creatures on the board with individual health bars help streamline the entire experience and made Lightseekers feel unique.

The other unique factor were the nifty rotating buff cards. “There’s a rotating buff mechanic where the cards at the start of your turn rotate 90 degrees, changing the value of the cards,” said Wilkov. “A lot of players really like that and it’s where a large part of the strategy comes into play.” Buffs are cards are placed in front of you with ongoing effects. Most have numbers in their corners, and they’re designed to rotate at the beginning of each of your turns, possibly changing how effective the card is, or setting up some cool traps.

I played a Prism Cannon, which rotated on my next several turns. It did damage according to the number at its current rotation, but this was a patient trap. The first three numbers were ‘X’, doing nothing, but at the fourth rotation it would blast my opponent for eight damage, provided they didn’t find a way to get rid of it first.

The rotating buffs mesh well with the idea of planning for big turns. At that same time my Prism Cannon went off, I had a second buff, the Colossi Ritual Site, rotate from its ‘X’ position to ‘3’, increasing all damage I dealt by that amount. It boosted my Prism Cannon’s damage from 8 to 11, perfect timing!

Every card is also imprinted with a unique digital code, represented by dots on the border. “You can scan and use these cards in the action-adventure roleplaying game,” said Wilkov. “Each card grants rewards and abilities in the game. It’s a blend of the physical and the digital.” The Lightseekers mobile game (iOS, Android, Amazon) is a rudimentary free-to-play action-RPG. Most cards activate temporary buffs, abilities, or allies, while combo cards unlock permanent new skills for your heroes.

Lightseekers looks like it’s designed for standard one-on-one battles, but it actually scales for multiple people. “We’ve played in the office with up to seven players,” said Wilkov. The multiplayer rules (and the cards themselves) specifically make separate reference to targets and enemies, and uses a system of gaining victory points for eliminating your personal targets.

Each of the six orders are available as a starter deck, containing one hero, 5 combo cards, 30 action cards, and a booster pack, as well as a tuckbox for storing cards. Each booster pack includes nine cards, and always contains one hero card, one rare, and two uncommons.

I was given the Intro Pack, which contained starter versions of the Storm and Tech Orders, two fold-out paper battle mats, and a booster pack. The battle mats are a nice way to keep things organized, even though Lightseekers is already very light on card clutter given only the buffs and items remain on the board.

I have played a lot of collectible card games, and many that were aimed at a younger crowd. It’s not hard to see the instant appeal of Lightseekers. The artwork is solid, the rules straightforward, and rotating cards to access different variations is a neat system. You can build entire deck strategies around combo cards, though pulling too many from booster packs can be annoying since you can only ever include five in your deck.

I can see Lightseekers filling a nice mid-tier void somewhere between Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering. I hope it can succeed among the always competitive marketplace of collectible card games.