Monday, December 23, 2013

Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide: Skylanders Swap-Force

I am a child of the side scrolling generation. Put me in front of a game where you blast away with infinite firepower against hordes of infinite enemies backed by a nearly unstoppable, colossal boss and I'm happier than a ladygeek watching Tom Hiddleston Loki it up! The Skylanders game series has been offering a similar experience for kids across the planet complete with collectible figures allowing you to transport different characters with unique power sets into any situation, at any time. "Giants" added massive powerhouse characters to that dynamic. Now, a "Swap-Force" addition allows you to mix and match abilities on the fly while beefing up the standard gameplay options and introducing slicker, high definition gameplay. So you've got new characters with magnets at the center, allowing you even more opportunity for greater gameplay, and at times, an additional "lightcore" feature making a little monster glow on its base and you've got something any toy collector would be chomping at the bit to buy. I could have jumped into this game myself, but it isn't meant for me. The Skylanders games play a lot like the LEGO series with little missions to solve, characters who will tell you where to go and squeaky clean adventure for as long as you can stand it, so we brought in my little cousin Lucas, age 5!

Like any kid his age, Lucas doesn't leave much time for in game tutorials, but if the action stops in story mode, he pays attention. Excellent HD graphics help to keep him mesmerized. After 10 minutes of jumping around, exploring and blasting enemies, Lucas is eager to try out the swap power and puts chicken legs on the squid guy. He picks up game play very quickly, following directions with ease, but when dramatic fighting music starts, you can forget about tasks at hand. Lucas abandons swapping parts after a time to see who has maximum ability for kicking butt on little green creeps. Eventually, becomes bored of the story bits after discovering he can skip them and get right back to gameplay.

Lucas soon reaches a gate with a fire emblem, giving him the first genuine opportunity to use his swap capabilities. He combines the Blastzone top and Washbuckler's legs so he can get the desired fire power with lashing tentacles. It's worth noting that as Lucas progressed in the game, he faced the limits of his having only 4 swap-force characters on hand but refused to tap into his stable of older characters to get into levels requiring their powers...BECAUSE THEY WON'T SWAP! It is also worth noting that after you clobber an enemy, the rewards don't fade away so you can circle back and grab the bits after a battle. Lucas bails on the game after about an hour and a half but was highly interested in completing puzzles when we came across them.

The Skylanders games are absolutely geared toward keeping a kid engaged, getting them hooked on collecting additional game pieces they can use for hours more play time and even hunting those ultra-rare pieces just for the hell of it. For adults, the ability to jump in and just blow things to bits may not be as tempting a proposal as the destruction is minimal and the baddies eradicated with relative ease, taking away the challenge. Note that we didn't play that far into the game, so things might very well become more difficult as they progress, but seeing as who this game is targeting, I doubt it. On the plus side, the addition of voice acting from Patrick Warburton and the person who voiced Invader Zim (Richard Steven Horvitz  AKA Eakian in Summer School!) will perk up your dork senses enough to keep you going and the fantastic array of excellently designed monsters will have you addicted to collecting them all, so potentially, this game could become your new late night obsession!

CLICK HERE to meet more of the Swap-Force characters! 

CLICK HERE to see all the images from this set!

Skylanders Swap-Force is available at Toys R Us right now, or you can CLICK HERE to order it for Nintendo Wii and Wii U, Playstation 4 and 3, Xbox One and 360 and Nintendo 3DS.

No comments :

Post a Comment