What's that you've got in your hand?
This? Just pack of Hob Nobs. And they're mine, so back off.
No, the other hand.
Oh! This is a vehicle from the brand new Skylanders Superchargers. Not only does it have wheels and clicky bits that mean you can race it across your desk in the real world, but put it on your iPad and it drops straight into the game where you can race it in the virtual world.
Cool! But what is Skylanders? How do you play?
Think Mario Kart on steroids. Skylanders Superchargers is the latest instalment in a series built around the toy-to-life gimmick, but this time the figurines you can place on your iPad and drop into the game are vehicles.
Place a car on your device, and it will appear in the game as a virtual, playable version of itself. There are around 20 vehicle missions in the game that range from straight up races to tearing across the back of a dragon, to weapon-based boss battles.
A really nifty touch is the fact that the vehicles pair up with different Skylander drivers. Match the right driver with the right vehicle, and you'll get a special supercharged perk that give both the Skylander and the vehicle’s overall look a big boost.
Is it single player or multiplayer?
Both. Co-op mode sees one player controlling the car while the other takes charge of the vehicle’s weapons in a bombastic, hair-raising ride.
Single player missions are similar to previous Skylanders games, where button mashing is the order of the day. There’s a trail of shiny collectibles to snaffle through each of the levels that can be used to upgrade your ride, but the customization is fairly simplistic.
Still, your screen exploding with a glitterball cannonade whenever you gain a level is remarkably satisfying - this is a game that’s spent a long time in the mirror preening itself to look good.
What’s the best part of the game?
Skylanders Superchargers really is beautifully animated. The cast of characters are adorably charming, and the levels are meticulously crafted.
One experiments with gravity, another forces you to navigate obstacles completely upside down, and another thrusts a shrink ray "Honey I Shrunk My Enemies" style. It shakes up the gameplay nicely, and prevents things from becoming stale.
Sounds good, so you'd recommend it?
I would. The only thing I would say is that while the visuals and gameplay are colourful and engaging, the story is incredibly bland. A lot of spit and polish has gone into the level design and action platforming, but there’s not a whole load of narrative substance.
Still, this is a game that's targeted at a younger audience and it's reliable in its ability to deliver simple and fun gameplay.