There are few games that make me wish I was about 20 years younger; Skylanders is one of them. And if my longing for an outlook drenched in juvenility wasn’t strong enough already, the new Skylanders game, subtitled Trap Team, has reminded me that this is one franchise that I would have loved the stuffing out of when I was a kid.
In Trap Team, the Skylanders series is adding a new element to the already established mechanic of importing plastic toys into a digital game. This time that mechanic is being turned on its head: players will be able to trap bad guys and suck them into new crystals that attach to the new Portal of Power. I guess it’s kind of like Pokémon in that sense. The neat thing is that the new Portal of Power has an extra crystal slot with a built-in speaker, which means players will be able to hear whatever creature it is that they’ve trapped inside the new collectible crystals.
The game’s premise is rather straightforward: series antagonist Kaos has managed to break open the most notorious prison in the whole world, which has resulted in all sorts of bad guys escaping. It’s up to a new group of Skylanders known as Trap Masters to round up these bad guys and trap them in special crystals. On top of collecting new Trap Master figurines, kids will have to collect 10 different types of crystals themed around the series’ 10 elements (they’re introducing another two new elements to the series). Each enemy has an element much like the other Skylanders do, so players will have to have the right crystal shard to trap a specific enemy. Once the enemy is trapped then it becomes playable in the game, meaning the player can swap between their original (or new) Skylanders and the captured enemy.
The game is out on 05 November October in the US; no local release date has been provided as yet. Skylanders: Trap Team will be coming to Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
It sounds like a neat little evolution of a well-established IP. The only downside for parents is that there are 60 new toys to collect and “multiple styles” of crystals as well. Sorry folks.
UPDATE:we have corrected this article as of 25 April 2014. The original mistakenly said that the game would feature an add-on for existing Portals of Power when in fact the game requires an entirely new Portal of Power, which ships with the Starter Pack version of Skylanders: Trap Team. Additionally, there are 10 crystals types to find (corrected from eight) and 60 new character figurines (corrected from 50).
UPDATE 2: we have a local release date of 10 October 2014.