For those of you who missed its debut last year: Skylanders comes with a Portal of Power that plugs into your game console. When you place a figurine on the portal, the character appears on your screen, inside the Skylanders video game.
The original release offered 32 playable characters, and the new edition adds 16 more, including eight giant-size creatures.
You don't need all 48 toys to play Skylanders Giants. The starter kit comes with the game software, the portal and three creatures -- one giant and two regular-size. You can complete the game with just one Skylander, but to get the full experience, you'll want to spring for five more (which cost $10 each).
Each Skylander controls one of eight "elements": water, tech, earth, magic, fire, undead, life and air. Bonus areas of the game are accessible only by creatures of a particular element, so if you want to see the entire game world, you'll need one of each. And on occasion, you'll need the brute strength of a giant to break through an obstacle.
So we're talking about $125 to get the complete Skylanders Giants experience although, if you bought last year's edition, you can use the same portal and figurines.
Is it worth it? Well, the video game itself is solid and at times delightful. The story is paper-thin -- you're out to save the Skylands from a high-strung lunatic named Kaos -- but provides adequate motivation to explore the airborne islands and battle a succession of wittily designed monsters.
RATING E for Everyone
PLOT A video game with real-world figurines
BOTTOM LINE Bigger and better than the original