With the use of near field communication (NFC) in video games becoming increasingly popular – with the likes of Disney Infinity and Nintendo’s upcoming NFC figure collection – there’s no doubt that Activision’s Skylanders still remains the top dog in many minds when it comes to melding toys and gaming.
For those unaware of the concept of Skylanders, through purchasing one of the games’ many figurines, you then place it on a “Portal of Power” (a plastic base station) that then reads the chip in the toy and represents the character in digital form on your TV. As you’d expect, the game’s main audience is children, but given my first hands-on with the series, Skylanders is a game to be enjoyed by all ages.
With three titles already well-established on the market, it’s now time for Activision’s first Next-Gen outing, as well as another chance to introduce yet another way to add more toys into the mix. With Skylanders: Trap Team players are tasked with using additional toy traps to capture villains in the game world. Once acquired you can then make the enemy part of your team, therefore increasing your character roster and letting you have a taste of the dark side. If that isn’t enough, all of the characters released since the first game will also work with Trap Team.
After talking with one of the developers of Trap Team during E3 in June, I thought it might be good to share my opinion as a “newbie” to the series. The first thing that struck me about the game in general, was how much it reminded me of playing old-school adventure games on the original PlayStation. There was something quite charming about having multiple characters at my disposal, all the while getting to pick up cute collectables in a bright and wacky world. I’ve quite frankly fallen a little in love with Skylanders, but am thankful I’ve waited until its fourth game to dive in, particularly as it marks the series’ first time on Next-Gen.
Since players now have Traps to collect, there’s the new Traptanium Portal to accommodate the new toys. Once an enemy is captured there’ll be audio queues and lights from within the board, in an attempt to bring some life to the Trap. It was a real treat to see it in action and I certainly felt like a kid again, as I picked up the Trap and gazed at its plastic beauty. I might be a grown adult that knows there’s nothing more than a microchip in the toy, but it was incredibly entertaining to have a game break the fourth dimension. Once in the world, I was introduced to the many different enemies I’d face, alongside getting to use their more powerful move set. With several classes available, each character will have a certain ability to their specific elements; whether that be fire, water or earth, among others.
In front of me lay a handful of different figurines, all with their own unique set of moves and elaborate character design. I places down a character and saw him spiral into the game world. I had to make my way through the level, navigating certain obstacles and solving puzzles. If a certain puzzle required a different element, then all I had to do was swap my Skylander out with one that was fit for the job. Along the way I collected many items and destroyed many enemies in the process, but soon after getting pulled into the weird and wonderful world, my time was up!
I can’t understate how much fun I had with Skylanders: Trap Team. Having always been on the outside of coverage for the series, I’m glad to have started with Trap Team. With the ability to use all of the characters released thus far, alongside being available for PS4 and Xbox One with extra polish, I can’t wait to waste away my hours with toys once more. Look out for the game on October 5th and get ready to embrace your childhood, once more.