So someone provide some clarity for me and offer a cliff notes version of how these work... I picked one up for my son's birthday in about a month, and I want to know how they work. But I'm trying to avoid the temptation to open it and try playing after he's in bed.
So do the figures actually have sort of chip in them? Or is it that you just scan some code and you don't need the figures anymore?
Yeah, they have a chip in the base that communicates with the game via RFID. As you upgrade and level up your character, all the EXP is stored permanently on the chip in the base. The figure has to stay on the base the entire time you play. Each figure is essentially a "life" in a level, the more figures you have, the more chances you have to beat the level. If you remove a figure and put another on the portal, you change characters mid-level and become that new character. You use that mechanic to open up new areas within the game.
My son brings his leveled up characters over to his friends' houses and plays on their games, helping them to advance -- even if they play on the Wii and he's on the 360. It's a very cool product actually. Also the figures are really detailed and cool looking for the most part.