25th Oct2017

PLAY Expo Manchester 2017: ‘Lightseekers’ Hands-On

by Kat Wheat

lightseekers-stand

Lightseekers is an epic action and adventure role playing game for mobile and tablet that connects smart action figures, accessories, augmented reality trading cards. Imagine Pokemon meets Skylanders

Card Game

Thrown in at the deep end, bombarded with instructions on how to play the game from one of the assists on the stand at PLAY Expo, the instructions for the Lightseekers board game sounded difficult, at least at first, but diving in and getting a game going, it became more simpler to understand – and not only for someone like me who plays Pokemon TCG but also for non card game players as well.

The game works with each player takes control of a hero. 
Your hero card has a health number on it and this is the number your counter starts on the play mat and you use other cards featuring attack, buff, defend, combo attacks and combo defend. To use the attack and defend cards you have to match the elements on other cards in your hand to use the card you wish to use such as air, lightning and fire for example. These cards can easily be identified by the symbol at the bottom of the card: attack cards have a sword symbol and defend cards have a shield symbol. Combo cards, however, can’t be played without some sacrifice on the players part – they can only be used by “spending” other cards in your hand that have the matching symbols to those on the card.

lightseekers-card

Attack cards are directed at your opponents hero and defend cards are directed at yourself. To use the buff card again you have to match the element. These cards are placed on the mat when in play if the top corner doesn’t have a symbol it keeps in play till the end of the game, other buff card have a rotating symbol and these rotate – players rotate them automatically on their turn, with the particular trait on the card only coming into effect when the top left symbol is facing your opponent. This can be things like an amount of extra damage, or defense from attack, etc., and once the card has done a full circle it is removed from the game.

Each player takes turns and can perform 2 actions (play 2 cards, play 1 card and draw 1 card or pass and draw 2 cards), as you lose health you move your counter backwards on the play mat, and when you gain health it moves forward. The game ends when a player has zero health left (FYI: while playing this I won).

The Lightseekers board game was – in the end – quick and easy to learn and that’s despite what seemed like complicated instructions at first; but it also allows players to experiment and learn about deck building and tactical ways to play the game. It is intended for 2 players but could support as many player as you have friends. Our game lasted about 15 – 20 minutes but depending on your choice of cards and whether you play in an aggressive or defensive manner, it could last quite some time.

Figures

lightseekers-toys

Less amiibo or Skylanders “statue”-like collectable and more actual action figures, Lightseekers toys are 7-inch tall and feature the usual articulation in the arms, legs and head. The figures can also talk, vibrate and use different coloured lights to show level, status and warn of low health or danger whilst playing the game. The toys use a system called “Fusioncore,” which is actually a compact, high tech computer which clips into the back of the toy and enables all the features and bring the toy to life. The toys connects to the game using the same Fusioncore – thankfully one core is compatible with all Lightseekers, so no need to buy multiple cores if you (or you’re child) are playing on your own! 
What is awesome about Lightseekers is the way you can customize the toys, with interchangeable weapons available separately that level up as you play; plus you can add a flightpack (again available separately) to the toy and it will allow your toy to fly in the game. As an added bonus, by adding a flightpack to the figure, the toy can become a motion-controlled game controller mirroring your movements in-game.

Game

lightseekers-screen

The Lightseekers game is free to download for Android and Apple users – which is a good thing, as you’ll be paying a pretty penny for everything else! 
Where to start with this game? For a start there so much that it can actually do! One of the standouts is that you can actually scan cards from the trading card/board game into the video game (as long as the card has a camera symbol on it) and it will reveal an augmented reality effect, summon help for your in game character or gain rewards in-game. You’re in full control of the difficulty, raising the difficulty will also increase the rewards.

The actual game features a large open world to explore. It takes place on planet Tantos, and like the card game you can attack and use combo attacks  to defeat the enemies in game. Visually it looks very similar to the Skylanders titles and plays very much the same (although it also reminded me of Knack on the PS4 too). Like RPG’s where you can craft weapons and level up etc., Lightseekers allows you to add extra weapons to your character – either through rewards given by scanning cards or by literally clipping new weapons (available separately) into the hands of the figure! Equipping items also upgrades your characters various stats and effects too.

Within the game you also have mini games, side quests and puzzles that you can play besides the main story. During our demo of Lightseekers we had a chance to equip or characters with a flightpack and play a flying mini game, in which we flew our characters around a forest collecting coins and firing at each other in a race – the winner being the one with the most coins at the end (Phil won that one, meaning it was a draw on 1-1 between us on the Tomy stand for the day).
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Ultimately I enjoyed playing both sides of the Lightseekers game. For those gamers that enjoy the toys to life category (LEGO Dimensions, amiibos, Skylanders, etc.) this is well worth the money – not only do you get to play a great video game but also a board game AND have an actual action figure to play with independently from the game(s),  giving this title the edge over the toys to life competition.

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