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Skylanders SuperChargers Review

Skylanders SuperChargers Wii U Starter Set

The toys-to-life genre has absolutely crushed the second half of 2015 with one major wallet-busting launch after another, and Skylanders lands right in the middle of the fray with their strongest entry yet: Skylanders SuperChargers. SuperChargers introduces big change to the Skylanders franchise with vehicles, online co-op, and a Mario Kart-esque racing system. Let’s dive in and take a look!

Skylanders and Adventure Mode

Much of the core gameplay still revolves around the Skylanders figures themselves. Many of our favorite Skylanders return as one of the 20 new Skychargers, each witch a matching vehicle, but a few new characters join the ranks of the Skylanders which I’ll get to in just a moment.

The story is rather thin, as all Skylanders stories tend to be, but that doesn’t detract from the point of each mission: Explore, beat up the bad guys, collect lots of coins to upgrade, and beat bosses. The gist of the story this time around is that Kaos has destroyed much of the islands by harnessing the power of darkness. The Skylands are shattered apart and it’s up to the SuperChargers to use their vehicles to save the day. They’re totally up to the challenge, of course.

In terms of time to complete, the campaign is roughly 10-12 hours for those looking to do a full clear on a harder difficulty. Graev and I played the entire thing co-op, and each mission ended up taking easily 1.5-2 hours. I don’t want to gloss over this point: ONLINE co-op in two different houses with our own copies of the game and our own consoles. You can play finally play with friends!

Each mission definitely had a unique feel with unique looking bad guys and gimmicks. That’s not to say the levels were really all that different in terms of the way in which you went about completing them. The real flavor comes in the form of the new vehicles. [Read more…]

Also Not Sure Whether or Not to Get Skylanders SuperChargers

We’re big Skylanders fans. We’ve played them all from day one. We even have week one footage of the original Skylanders launch on Youtube. The fanboy force is strong over here. We normally receive a review copy of Skylanders from Activision, but so far we haven’t received any SuperChargers. It got mailed late, right? It’s just lost in the mail and will be here any minute, right? Right? ::lower lip quivers sadly::

I posted last night about my dilemma over LEGO Dimensions. It’s expensive, it might just be another LEGO game, yada yada, but it’s LEGO and it has Gandalf and Doctor Who and who am I kidding I want it.  The same dilemma exists over Skylanders SuperChargers.

Skylanders Superchargers Action Pack Skylanders Starter Pack = $75.00

Vehicles: $15 each (I’d want a couple)

Skylanders: $13 each  (I’d want a couple)

Sea Racing Action Pack: $35 (New tracks like a Mario Kart circuit, a vehicle, and a Skylander)

There are also “Dual Packs” with a character and a vehicle coming in around MSRP $25 but those have a release date in October. As always, Skylanders are releasing in waves. Wave 1 will have like 4-6 characters and vehicles, wave 2 adds more, etc.

Predicament: Skylanders Wii U vs. PS4 (or Xbox One)

SuperChargers Wii U

SuperChargers on Wii U allows you to play Bowser and Donkey Kong Skylanders which are ALSO Amiibo! Are you freaking kidding me. Genius and insidious in all the right ways. The Wii U version of the Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Pack comes with Donkey Kong, and the 3DS version comes with Bowers. The Hybrid Amiibo/Skylanders do not work on PS4 or Xbox One, so that’s a huge swing to the Wii U side of the fence.

There’s this question as to whether or not the Wii U version looks inferior, but from all of the videos I’ve watched I can’t tell a difference. Anyone out there have a comparison video or own a Wii U copy and see a huge difference?

SuperChargers Has Online Co-op and Racing

Here’s where this gets even harder for me. Skylanders SuperChargers introduces a new mode for racing vehicles that is very similar to Mario Kart; Oh, it’s also online competitive play. Awesome. They also have online (and couch) adventure mode co-op (play the story with friends) which is … yeah, that’s awesome too. Graev and I could play together which is always a HUGE plus for us.

To Skylanders or Not to Skylanders

When all is said and done, I’m probably sitting at (including tax) $180 of Skylanders Superchargers stuff that I want. Whew… But it has multiplayer co-op for the story and competitive racing.  The struggle is real on this one. Have any of our readers out there already bought Skylanders Superchargers? I know some of you have “kids” who like to play. Wink. wink.

LEGO Dimensions – Skylanders & Disney Infinity Meet LEGO

Yep, this happened.

It was only a matter of time before one of the most expensive games mashed with one of the most expensive toys to create the most expensive thing EVER.

The reveal trailer actually doesn’t do a great job of explaining what the game is all about. Here’s the official press release copy, then we’ll dive into some real info for the parents who will be crying come Christmas time, and the man-children ::raises his hand:: who can’t afford it.

For the first time in any LEGO videogame, characters from iconic entertainment franchises join forces and battle in worlds outside of their own. In addition to the game, the LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack will include the LEGO Toy Pad, which allows players to transport special LEGO minifigures and other LEGO objects into the game, bricks to build the LEGO Gateway, three LEGO Minifigures, including LEGO BatmanTM from DC Comics, LEGO Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings and Wyldstyle from The LEGO Movie, plus the LEGO BatmobileTM.

How many ™ can one possibly fit into a game?!

Have you ever played Skylanders or Disney Infinity? You essentially take a toy/figure and place it onto a platform which utilizes some kind of microchip thingy in the toy to scan your figure into the video game. That little chip holds data about your character so that you can pick up where you left off and continue to progress that toy’s abilities and strength regardless of where you use that toy (your house, a friend’s etc.) The videos themselves are typically platformers where you’re trying to beat a level by accomplishing some task.

LEGO games have long been a huge success in the Keen and Graev household. We’ve played every one of them from Star Wars to Indiana Jones to Avengers, Lord of the Rings, Batman, and LEGO Undercover. We love them. Now, take those crazy bit-collecting platformers and mashup the bazillion properties together into a Skylanders/Disney Infinity game? Brilliant, and not even a stretch from where the current LEGO games are at if you think about swapping characters as a feature which is already built into every LEGO game.

The cost of LEGO Dimensions will single-handedly keep me out for some time. The only reason we’ve been able to keep up with Skylanders is due to Activision hooking us up all the time. So let’s take a look at what we can look forward to never being able to afford:

LEGO Dimensions Starter Kit

LEGO Dimensions Starter Kit

LEGO Dimensions Back to the Future Level Pack

Back to the Future Level Pack

Coming in at $99.99 for the STARTER SET you’ll get:

  • LEGO Dimensions videogame
  • LEGO Toy Pad
  • LEGO Gateway building bricks
  • 3 LEGO minifigures (Batman, Gandalf, and Wyldstyle)
  • LEGO Batmobile vehicle

Additional purchases you’ll want need to make for characters, vehicles, gadgets, and content:

  • Level Packs – $29.99
  • Team Packs – $24.99
  • Fun Packs – $14.99

From the official press release:

A small sample of packs available in 2015 include the Back to the Future Level Pack with a LEGO Marty McFly minifigure, a LEGO Ninjago Team Pack with Kai and Cole minifigures, three Ninjago Fun Packs with Jay, Nya and Zane minifigures, two DC Comics Fun Packs with Wonder Woman and Cyborg minifigures, three The Lord of the Rings Fun Packs with LEGO Gollum, LEGO Gimli and LEGO Legolas minifigures, four The LEGO Movie Fun packs with Emmet, Bad Cop, Benny and Unikitty characters, and a The Wizard of Oz Fun Pack with a LEGO Wicked Witch of the West minifigure. Additional packs to round out the 2015 assortment will be announced in the months leading to launch. Further waves of expansion packs will be released regularly following the launch of the game and into 2016.

Have you been keeping score? If you want all of the LEGO Dimensions content and characters announced in the first wave it will cost you roughly $350 before taxes give or take $50 for Team Pack/Fun pack mixing and matching.

LEGO Dimensions will undoubtedly be a blast. I think I know what’s going on my Christmas list this year.

Skylanders Trap Team

Another year has gone by and we are already at the annual Skylanders release. Time really does fly because it feels like we were playing Swap Force not too long ago. Again we were fortunate to get a review copy from Activision for the newest release — Skylanders Trap Team — and I’ve been checking it out ever since it got here. I wont bother going into too great of detail about what Skylanders are, but if you are curious we have several articles from the past games. Basically it’s light action RPG where you place figures on a tiny portal and see them come to life in the game. What I will go into detail about is all of the new stuff in Skylanders Trap Team.

skylanders-trap-team-fire-trapTrap Masters & Traps

The new hook this year are the traps and the whole concept of trapping villains and turning them to fight for you. The specialty figures in Trap Team are known as Trap Masters and they are each equipped with weapons made out of “Traptanium.” From what I can tell they don’t seem to be really any different than normal Skylanders and have the same amount of abilities and so on. The thing that makes them unique is their ability to destroy Traptanium deposits which usually lead to bonus side areas. Trap Masters are also the only Skylanders that can access the elemental doors that also lead to bonus areas. In past games you would be able to open these with any figure of the respective element, but in Trap Team the doors are made out of Traptanium and can only be opened by Trap Masters.

The traps are actually a pretty cool idea. Each element has its own trap and they can hold one villain from that element. There are around 50 villains that you can trap and initially I was concerned that you would need multiples of each trap in order to catch them all, but thankfully that is not the case. When you do encounter a trappable enemy and defeat him you are given the option of putting him in a trap our not. Regardless of whether or not you decline the trapping, or just don’t have that elemental trap, the villains will be locked away in a vault back at the Skylanders Academy. If you want to put a villain inside a trap, or switch it out with another, all you have to do is go to the vault. So this means you really only need one of each elemental trap rather than 40 traps. You could have multiple traps of an element if you wanted, for taking multiple villains of that element out with you, but it really isn’t necessary.


Villains & The New Portal

Tskylanders-villainhe Villain characters are all very interesting and the whole concept of trapping them and using them is easily one of the best ideas added to the series. Some of the Villain characters are just specialty versions of normal monsters that you encounter but some are actually the bosses that you encounter in the game. In order to call out your villain all you need to do is press the left trigger and you “tag-out” with your current Skylander. The villain character can stay out and fight for short amount of time before having to recharge. The timer bar acts as its health as well so taking damage will decrease the amount of time they can be out. I was bothered at first by the time limit but it actually recharges fairly fast. Villains don’t level up or gain new abilities like Skylanders but each one has a special side quest where they can be redeemed. Some of them are fun little missions or minigames but there are a few that amount to just a short conversation. Once the side quest is done the villain turns into his evolved form which usually means some cosmetic changes and making his attacks stronger. Not only that but it seems to greatly slow down the trap timer and make them buffer. [Read more…]

More on Skylanders Swap Force

Keen and I have been continually playing Swap Force and building up our collection. We figure we’d share some of our thoughts on the other aspects of the game not mentioned in our prior review along with some of our favorite characters.

Survival Mode

This side mode is a new addition to the series and a much welcomed one. There are three different kinds: Solo, Team, and Competitive. Either way you’re basically surviving in an arena and fighting off hordes of bad guys rather than beating the tar out of each other. It’s pretty much your typical Horde mode but there are additional power ups (and curses) that can positively and negatively impact your bouts.

Throughout each match your score multiplier increases steadily as long as you aren’t hit. It’s actually a pretty decent way to gain some experience on the side along with a small bit of coin. It is, however, quite hard on the higher difficulty modes where enemies can take half of your HP in one hit. This makes playing anything without a decent dodge maneuver pretty screwed and Giants are just much larger, slower targets which makes them almost useless. Still, it’s something that we enjoy more than just regularly fighting each other and the varied arenas filled with different hazards make it an exciting experience from place to place.

Our Favorite Characters

We currently have 10 or so of the new swappable figures and each of us has started to favor some over the others. Here are some of our picks:


Element: skylander undead element

Player: Graev

Night Shift is among my favorite of the new Skylanders. He’s pretty much some kind of vampire boxer. His upper piece utilizes punching combos and a vampiric bite that can be used to restore your hitpoints. Charging up his punch allows for a strong and quite comically large uppercut that can be upgraded to net you more money.  I usually choose to leave him attached to his original base because it allows for much better maneuverability, especially since punching roots him in place. His base piece allows for VERY quick teleports than can be upgraded to shoot projectiles. It’s really fun to “poof” in and out and all over the place and lay the smackdown on baddies.


washbucklerWASH BUCKLER

Element: skylander water element

Player: Graev

I love water types and this is definitely right up my alley. Wash Buckler is a pirate themed octopus dude with a tentacle leg base. I’m not overly fond of the base, which does decent damage with tentacle slaps and lets you dash-roll around. The top piece is really awesome, though. His main attacks utilize his sword which can also be charged up for additional damage. His alternate attack fires bubbles out of his pistol which encapsulate and immobilize bad guys. Later on you can upgrade the bubbles to contain piranhas that deal damage over time to enemies.  I took this a step further by choosing the upgrade path that lets me shoot TWO bubbles out which can trap many enemies at once and each bubble is filled with a swarm of piranhas. Wash Buckler makes crowd control a breeze.


grilla drillaGRILLA DRILLA

Element: skylander life element

Player: Keen

Grilla was my first pick.  I saw him and immediately wanted him.  He’s all about punching enemies with his top half, and drilling into the ground to plant turrets with his base.  I was slightly disappointed by the base because I thought he would drill around the map or rely more on his drill, but in the end he’s become a very balanced and effective Skylander.  His turrets are decent.  I picked the ones that splash damage to nearby enemies, but probably should have gone with the rapid fire banana shooters.

As if one big ape wasn’t enough, Grilla can call little monkeys to do battle for him. These moneys are sent out in a wave and smack around a few things before disappearing.  All-in-all, he’s a decent Skylander with a really neat vibe.



Element: skylander fire element

Player: Keen

Blast Zone is my new favorite Skylander.  At first I thought he would be this generic guy who throws bombs.  After all, he came with the starter pack so I figured he was just one of the Skylanders Activision had little faith in selling.  Turns out, he’s friggin amazing.  His top half is all about bombs and fire.  Blast Zone can spray fire in front of him that I can control to make a circle around myself.  When I throw bombs through the fire, they catch fire and do even more damage.

His bottom half is all about zooming around with fire rockets spreading fire and ramming into enemies.  The ability to travel quickly allows him to get out which is great on the hardest difficulty where one hit will take a huge amount of health.

Being ranged, AoE-centric, durable, and able to move around quickly is the perfect blend for a Skylander.

The Future of Skylanders? ONLINE!

We’re sure everybody who has ever played these games has wished for some kind of online mode. Fighting against other players online seems to be a no-brainer. People love min-maxing pokemon and battling online so why can’t this take off in a similar fashion? We both get super excited when we talk about all of the incredible things they could do with this game online. Maybe even an online MOBA-inspired battle mode? That would be incredibly awesome.