By this point, you have no doubt heard of Skylanders — the action figures that you can “summon” into an action-adventure video game. You can purchase the figures from just about anywhere nowadays, including the literal entire aisle dedicated to the toys at Best Buy, and then summon them into the game thanks to a “Portal” that can read the figures’ built-in NFC tags. You then use your figure’s in-game avatar as a character, and its stats and equipment are kept on the figure, so you can summon them into anyone’s game so long as you have your little guy handy.Whether or not the same end can be achieved with a simple cloud login that allows you to load your characters from anywhere, thus removing the market for the toys, is up in the air, but the model has proven wildly successful. So successful, in fact, that it’s a wonder another major company hasn’t tried its hand at the same idea. Well, it’s a wonder no more, as Hasbro is officially entering the ring with Telepods, a similar idea starting off with the Angry Birds Star Wars franchise.With the release of Angry Birds Star Wars II, players can purchase packs of Telepods — little action figures of in-game characters — then summon them into the game. Rather than a coaster-like portal found in Skylanders, each figure sticks onto a small podium-like stand, which is then centered over a tablet or smartphone’s front-facing camera. Rather than being equipped with NFC tags, the stand simply employs a magnifying glass, which helps the mobile device read a small QR code located at the base of each figure. It appears as though the stand is of a specific height and magnifies the QR code perfectly.Summoning is as easy as it can be; just press an on-screen icon, and place the Telepod-equipped stand over the camera. Your character will be summoned in a second or two.Once summoned, you can use the on-screen avatar of your Telepods figure in the standard Angry Birds way — fling some Jedi birds at some structures and Sith pigs. You can also summon Sith pigs via their figures and fling it at some structures and Jedi birds. Like Skylanders, the Telepods record all that character’s stats, though there doesn’t seem to be any sort of character equipment to remember. Perhaps unlike Skylanders, though, the Angry Birds Telepods are “easier” to play with outside of the game. Skylanders are essentially little statues that you can’t really use as action figures — they’re not posable like a G.I. Joe. The Angry Birds Telepods are easier to play with, in that you can stick them into any Angry Birds play set and fling them into tangible structures.The figures are small (though not too small), and you can fit a few in your pocket without them getting in the way. They’re highly detailed and look just like their in-game avatars, making them something nice to display on your desk or shelf while they’re not in use. The magnifying stand is just a clear plastic rectangle, and could’ve benefitted from some kind of artwork, but perhaps then the summoning process would not be as smooth. If you have ever played Angry Birds, you know what to expect from the game, except this time each character has their own special Star Wars-themed ability.Also unlike Skylanders, Telepods leverage the portability of mobile devices. You can play just about anywhere, so long as you keep a few figures and the stand in your pocket, and happen to have your phone or tablet handy. Obviously, phones and tablets are expensive, but so are video game consoles and televisions, so the entry price is more or less a wash. The figure packs will range anywhere from $5.99 for a dual-figure mini-pack, to $39.99 for a 10-figure pack that comes with 20 pieces to create the Star Destroyer structure, as well as a figure launcher.The sequel game follows the stories of the prequel trilogy, so don’t expect any hints about the final, Disney-owned trilogy. The Telepods packs will release this August, and the app will release on September 19, priced at $0.99 for the standard version or $2.99 for the HD version. It’ll be interesting to see if Hasbro can utilize both mega franchises of Angry Birds and Star Wars in order to put a dent into the Skylanders market.