After four years of Skylanders, Activision and Toys for Bob has this year morphed the game, into an exciting version of the game. But this years game uses a new Trap Team mechanic starting from £60 (RRP), but this new idea actually serves to solves a few of the standing problems in the series.
With the conceit of Trap Team is a large-scale prison break in Skylands. With villains who have been locked up for years in a prison made of “Traptanium” have suddenly been busted out, and your job is to round them up.
In addition to the regular Skylanders figures, the new portal base has a small hole for the new trap pieces to fit into. There’s a different trap to collect for each of the eight elements, naturally, and when you take down a villain you plug-in the appropriate trap. From that point on, they work for you.
With the villains are everywhere usually two or three per stage, the result is a Skylanders game with the most playable characters.
Example of the Fire Element for Trap Team
The villains function actually work wonderfully good in the game. they function like a summoned character in an RPG game. They don’t take damage, so instead hits only register as time lost from their availability. You can tag them in at any time, which makes them a lifesaver for when your Skylander is low on health.
This adds much more flexibility to your play style by letting you make up any deficits in your current character with a villain character. Say if you’re playing as a close-range melee fighter, for example, your villain could be a long-range fighter for when enemies are out-of-reach. The tag-team swapping in a WWE style is almost instantaneous, unlike using the physically switching figures, so it’s a smart solution that really enhances the gameplay.
The traps also make it much easier to bring a new figure up to speed in the later levels. With previous games forced you to grind a new character to make it strong enough, now you can simply enter a later level, and switch to your villain to take down the enemies. All of that experience and money goes toward the equipped Skylander, making them rapidly gain levels and cash for upgrades.
Villains themselves don’t level up like normal Skylanders, but you can find little tasks in stages that can power them up to an “Enhanced” version with a colour swap and stronger abilities. Most of these were frustratingly placed, though, putting a villain’s special task in an earlier spot of the same stage where you obtain them.
Most of the time these were rendered inaccessible by the time you reach the villain, making it necessary to replay the stage again. Plus, since a trap can only hold one villain at a time and can only be swapped outside of missions, it was confounding to remember which ones I would need to bring along for their upgrades.
Trap Team also introduces Trap Masters, though they’re not nearly as game-changing. As opposed to the Swap Force figures which were inventive in themselves, Trap Masters are simply larger Skylanders with some kind of translucent plastic weapon. They’re required to pass through the special elemental gates this time, and only their weapons can destroy crystals that block your path.
Some of the best character designs are for villains like Pepper Jack and Chompy Mage, like the figures themselves, all of which still work in this game, Skylanders keeps stacking on new gameplay modes and minigames. The marquee one in this adventure is the Kaos Doom Challenge, a wave-based survival mode with some tower defense elements.
Skylanders Trap Team – Element Storage that comes with the game
As usual, the campaign is long. It takes place across 18 stages that can last up to an hour per stage, if you explore all the nooks and crannies. As always with the yearly Skylanders releases, at least they always pack plenty of content to explore with the latest sets of figures.
With the level design is as strong as ever and the villain trapping idea is a strong addition with some excellent gameplay implications. This years latest idea is clever enough to justify the new portal purchase. What can Skylanders do for the game next year, we can only wait and see.
+ Play as both Skylanders and villains
+ Hours and Hours of fun for the family in gameplay
– Too many Traps and Figures to buy
Reviewed on Xbox One is out now for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and the Wii U, and for 3DS and Tablets.