Prodigy: Not Just Skylanders for Grown-Ups

Feel the magic.

by

The announcement trailer I'd seen for Prodigy before meeting with people from Hanakai Studios last week had left me with the impression that the game I'd be seeing was essentially Skylanders for grown-ups.

I was wrong.

Prodigy does have something in common with games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity. In this game, as in those, you place figurines on a platform, and the characters represented by those figurines then appear in the world of the game. However, that's where the similarities end. Prodigy is trying to bring the tactile and tactical pleasure of thoughtfully positioning pieces on a game board into the realm of video games. The role-playing game will have a single-player campaign, but my hands-on experience with Prodigy took the form of a turn-based battle against another player.

In the full game, parties will be composed of three characters, but my opponent and I had just two units each, one of them being a guardian, who provides the mana that powers the party's special attacks (lose your guardian, and your other members are limited to their standard techniques). The boards before each of us had three rows of four squares each. Characters positioned in the front row received a bonus to damage dealt, while characters in the back row received a defensive bonus.

If Elae and Stealth Elf got in a fight, who do you think would win?

On each turn, only one character could act--my guardian, then my opponent's companion, then my companion, then my opponent's guardian, and so on. On a character's turn, he or she could move to any position on the board--done simply by picking the figure up and putting it down where I wanted the character to go--and then perform an action. Positioning was crucial not only because of the bonuses associated with certain rows, but also because placing one character in front of another can defend the character in the rear from attacks, and because some characters have special attacks that hit every character in a column, or all characters in a T formation. Actions were triggered not with presses of a button or clicks of a mouse, but by waving cards with symbols and words like "attack," "focus," and "power" over the board.

Of course, I've played plenty of video games in which I've had to carefully consider where to place my characters, but, just as computer chess can never completely duplicate the pleasure of sitting with a friend over a board of finely carved chess pieces, there is a different kind of pleasure that comes from picking up a figurine of a character and putting it down than the one that might arise from clicking and dragging a figure on a computer screen. The figurines I had the chance to examine were far more intricately detailed than the cartoony figurines of Skylanders and Disney Infinity; these are miniatures that would be at home in a tabletop, pen-and-paper role-playing game.

Prodigy hopes to make you feel drawn in to the fiction and magic of the game's fantasy setting--the game includes a ring of power that you wear, which stores information about your progress, though some information is stored in the miniatures, as well. Hanakai hopes that there's an interest in this meshing of the tangible and the digital, and is launching a Kickstarter campaign on April 2, at which time more information about Prodigy will be revealed.

Discussion

24 comments
Chatch09
Chatch09

"Not Just Skylanders for Grown-Ups" ......Could've fooled me......

Stardust7
Stardust7

Very cool character design !

pidow
pidow

No thank you, I'll pass.

megakick
megakick

Cool idea but I don't need more junk....

hystavito
hystavito

So this platform is large and has multiple spots on it that correspond to positions in the game?

Jasurim
Jasurim

I'm intrigued, it looks like it could be a fun idea.  The only thing I'm reluctant about is how you seemingly will have to pay extra for more characters with the figures, that has always sounded a bit iffy to me.

tsunami2311
tsunami2311

Im intrested by this, but that only cause there is complete lack of good RPG as of late.

blainose
blainose

this look's like yu-gi-oh!

divinejester
divinejester

The whole point of video games, is to take table top games and make them digital, so I don't really care for this "skylander" trend because it goes backwards.

BamaGoatt
BamaGoatt

As a skylanders swap force player I must say it is an enjoyable game although expensive. Good thing I am not a true collector would have been around $500 to get them all and the game but I have only spent about $125 on it which isn't too bad. But probably wouldn't buy anymore as they are far too easy for an adult to play. Back to this game so this sounds like an rpg version of chess with the board on the screen and minis unless I am missing something I'll just stick to the board game version.

dadoesch
dadoesch

Always thought it would be cool to use a tablet as a game board with figures battling it out.

Ovirew
Ovirew

I think there is probably room for a few more games like this, and from what I can tell this game has the most intricate minis yet.

Of course, I do think these games are essentially a cash-grab.  It will just make game developers think, "Hey, now we can lock off parts of games we sell, still charge full price for them, and make people buy these little figurines to unlock the rest of the game piece by piece!"

I hope Gamefreak never does something like this with Pokémon.

reacher42
reacher42

seems like there is some interesting potential for integrating this with mobile devices.

Boddicker
Boddicker

Lame.

I always knew Skylanders was a cheap grab at parents' wallets.  Something tells me this will not work on adults.

I'm all for using minis to roleplay, but please, let's keep it at that.

Harrason
Harrason

Depends on the cost of the hardware.

Hayasmez
Hayasmez

Fourth? Does look pretty cool though

Gallowhand
Gallowhand

This actually looks quite interesting, and I remember seeing something a few years ago where someone was trying to incorporate D&D board games with action on a computer screen.  The main drawback I can see is cost, especially if you have to purchase individual pieces.  Maybe VR has a part to play in the future of such concepts.

BamaGoatt
BamaGoatt

@Ovirew  they kind of did pokemon rumble blast on Wii u had figurines but they were optional not needed to play. So they are already moving in that direction if you ask me.

rtircoklled
rtircoklled

@Ovirew  If Gamefreak ever does that with Pokemon, that will be the day Pokemon becomes dead to me