If I had a game like Skylanders when I was a kid I’d probably have freaked out, especially with the ability to use real-world toys within a virtual space. This IS the stuff of magic.
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself while playing Skylanders, and I’m not ashamed to say it. It’s a game which has taken me back to my childhood, letting me play with toys in a medium I professionally work in. Through the use of near-field communication (NFC), toys are placed onto a plastic portal and then transferred virtually into the game world, by way of small microchips located within each figurine. The lovely people at Activision were kind enough to send me the starter kit to Trap Team, so I’m basing my review on what gets you up and running. A separate review of additional figures will done at a later date.
In comparison to other entries, Trap Team sees evil genius (?) Kaos blowing up the walls of Cloudcracker prison and freeing its many villains. Through the use of ‘Traptanium’, once an enemy is defeated you’ll then have the opportunity to place them inside the physical trap and use them for a short time in-game. In the starter pack I was given the use of Water and Life element traps, alongside the characters Food Fight and Snap Shot. If you don’t have the correct type of trap for a specific enemy then they’ll be placed in a vault, waiting for you to buy the correct element to capture them.
Once a character is captured and sent to a trap there voice can then be heard from the Portals’ built-in speaker, making it more believable that they’ve made the jump from the virtual world to the plastic trap you hold in your hands. It was hilarious to hear a villainous sheep I captured blurt out nonsensical remarks whilst I played, and I expect this to go down great with children. Aside from following the main storyline, dipping into a host of alternate quests such as collecting wearable hats, give you more reason to explore every corner of each map. With so many different characters to play as or fight against, it was quite entertaining discovering the different personalities across each area. A main theme I found throughout the game was food, with a collection of characters using consumables such as tomatoes or chillies as their weapon of choice. One of the best characters I fought was a chef whose head was a chilli, whilst he used fire as his main weapon. When you’re not focused on working through the story then head back to your home base and you’ll find arena-based challenges to help level up your characters. A maximum of two people can play cooperatively through local play but I was disappointed to see a lack of online options.
Given that this is a game primarily for kids, the world is expectedly colourful and bright, the story is silly and the voice work is well-acted and fun to listen to. The gameplay is also very simple, as you progress through each part of a level by defeating enemies via simple button presses. Having never played a game based in the Skylander series before, aside from Swap Force during E3 2013, I was incredibly fortunate to be playing my first major experience on New-Gen consoles. My copy came on Xbox One, and while the graphics weren’t pushing its capabilities, everything looked suitably sharp and crisp.
The starter kit provides enough to begin with but as you discover more exotic villains that go beyond your basic equipment, then expect to be heading to your local video game store in search of more items to keep your kids, and yourself, happy. I have to congratulate Activision on such an ingenious way to ensure players will want to buy more traps and characters, since in next to no time I was eager to try out villains that I couldn’t capture with my basic Traptanium. With most figurines ranging from £10-15 your wallet is about to get a lot lighter.
- + Colourful characters, complete with suitably wacky voice acting
- + Large amount of content to dig in to
- + Simple and accessible gameplay
- - The number of different traps/figures available can make this quite an investment
- - Navigation with an additional player can become cumbersome