Oh no! More figures to collect!
Just like the previous Skylanders titles, in Skylanders Swap Force you’ll be tasked with once again being the portal master and using your Skylanders to safeguard the Cloudbreak Islands and try to prevent the mischievous and troublesome Kaos from causing havoc.
As before, you summon your chosen Skylander by placing the matching Skylander figure on the Portal of Power, which identifies the character and then happily inserts tehm, with more than a flourish of magic, into the game. The starter kit comes complete with the Swap Force video game, two of the new Swap Force figures and a standard figure. It also includes another Portal of Power, just in case your others were misplaced since the outing of Giants.
The big new idea with Swap Force is that you’re able to physically separate your Swap Force figure into two, with the two halves connected magnetically at the waist. This enables you to swap the tops and bottoms with other Swap Force figures, which results in a new figure that combines skills or abilities of both original figures. It’s a lot of fun swapping the Skylanders around physically, because it changes the way that figure can play. It certainly brings a new experience to the game and soon you’ll discover that swapping figures around opens new levels of gameplay.
Each character has it’s own special abilities and new upgrades can be purchased which can boost your health or even improve an attack. Besides the new areas that can only be entered by specific combinations of Skylander, which are similar to the elemental barriers that can be found in the previous games, the new figures have different ways to move, and these give access to movement specific mini-games. These are a great addition to the already solid gameplay.
Collecting the various character figures, which will be needed to see everything that the game has to offer, is definitely one of the plus sides of the game, and it is highly addictive. However, it can also work out quite expensive, especially if you are a parent just trying to keep little Jonny/jenny happy. But if you’re a collector like me, you won’t mind the cost of having a small army of figures precariously balancing on your shelves.
The Skylanders games have a massive replay factor, and that is once again evident in Swap Force. Although you may spend the majority of you time at the beginning working through the main storyline, there are often side quests or mini missions that will be noted and come back to at a later date. There is so much to discover and collect that coming back after the game is finished is essential. It is possible to play through the game with just the figures that come in the starter pack, leveling them up and upgrading them as they find treasures and hats. But it is nice to bring in the additional Skylanders needed to unlock all of the areas and find absolutely everything.
Veteran Skylanders players will find this easier as they can bring in their previous Skylanders figures, along with their improvements. But it won’t be long before the appeal of one of the new collection of figures forces a new purchase.
The Swap Force game itself is another excellent adventure game. This latest installment in the series offers some stunning environments bursting with colour and filled with a mixture of memorable characters to interact with. As before, you’ll be accompanied by your wacky side kick pilot friend Flynn with his comical sense of humour and his over-inflated self-importance.
Each new level is brilliantly oozing with beautiful landscapes and an exceptional attention to detail, and the game now has a larger main hub to explore. The simple combat, which makes up the majority of the gameplay, is entertaining as always, with the Skylanders’ different attacks being upgradable to change the dynamics of gameplay. As you progress, you’ll gain experience, gold and various pieces of gear to compliment your journey.
When you’re not playing one of the mini games or completing quests, your time can be spent exploring the colourful and vibrant Woodburrow, which is the central hub and heart of the game. It’s here that you can purchase upgrades and items, and participate in Swap Force challenges.
Skylanders Swap Force offers so much content that you will never grow bored. Collecting and swapping figures with friends extends the enjoyment beyond that of just a videogame, and is reminiscent of when the Pokemon cards were doing the rounds in the playground, albeit slightly more expensive. Having said that, Skylanders is a game that can be enjoyed not only by children, but also by adults. It may seem like an expensive game, but it really is great value for money with all of the content it includes, and it is a rewarding experience to play. Believe me, it won’t be long before you are rushing out to buy another figure.