Skylanders Swap Force
So just recently Skylanders Swap Force was announced. The hook in this entry seems to be the new 2-piece figures that can swap out their top and bottom sets to create dozens of different combinations. It’s a pretty interesting idea and I’m curious to see how they implement it. Will the Skylander you create just have a few powers from each set or will the unique combination of, say, putting the tentacle legs on the bottom of the robot guy give you some special ability that only comes with that arrangement. Will some areas require a combination of tech/magic or water/fire, etc, to gain access? Also announced was the addition of the ability to jump, which lots of people have been wanting, including me.
That’s really the extent of my knowledge on the subject. I’m not aware of any other details having been announced. Well, except that they will be releasing 32 or so figures. I think 16 will be new Skylanders and the rest will be updated versions, like they did with Giants, and I’m assuming the “16 new skylanders” are the swap force figures. When you think about it, this is actually a pretty cool idea. Even if you only get a few of the figures, that still gets you several different character combinations, which can give players the variety of play without requiring the purchase of so many figures. And, of course, all of your old figures will work in the new game. The only thing that won’t are the old portals.
I do have some concerns, however. The franchise seems to be becoming a yearly thing and that worries me. I don’t know how far they can push things in only a short amount of time. The past games were good and all, but they had some issues, one of which being their simplicity. Only a few of the buttons on the controllers are utilized, with the rest being mapped as repeats. I understand that their core demographic is kids, but that seems to not be giving kids nowadays a lot of credit. Years ago we might have only had 2 buttons and a d-pad, but every kid today has grown up with more complex stuff and they are doing things that we probably never could at that age. So that being said, I would appreciate a more complex game. Giants did offer difficulty settings, but all it really seemed to be was making the enemies hit harder and you hit softer, which I don’t think is a really smart difficulty design. Hopefully with the addition of the jump ability we will see some new gameplay mechanics put into action, like some platforming. Another big thing that players want is online play, both in the form of co-op and battle arenas. I haven’t heard anything mentioned on the subject but it would be a gross oversight for them not to include it this time around.
I am excited because I do like the Skylanders brand a lot, but this time I am a little more cautious. If they hope to compete with Disney’s foray into the genre, Skylanders really needs to bring its A game.