Developer: Vicarious Visions |
Publisher: Activision
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game |
Release Date: 05/12/17 |
Genre: Action
Lets be honest here.  When I heard that Vicarious Visions was at the helm of the next Skylanders game, I felt like this would be the time the series turned into a cash grab with a quick and cheap update to the title, more toys, and no focus on the actual game.  While we definitely have a lot of new toys, calling Skylanders Swap Force anything but a well executed sequel is not fair.

The star attraction of Skylander Swap Force would have to be the new line of toys.  Starter Pack owners, which is the review version we got, come with two of the swappable figures and one regular mini.  I am still surprised how sturdy these toys are.  As I sit here writing this review, I can pick up a swappable figure with no fear of the top and bottom falling apart. The two magnets inside hold the figure together yet it is easy to snap off when you are ready.  These are also the first Skylander figures that feel like they can move. No, they aren’t able to pose, though I wish they were, they can be swiveled to turn their bodies around. 

Utilizing the Swap Force figures in the game has some new benefits.  For the first time in the series, a single Skylander can be made up of two different elements. This allows you to unlock a Dual Elemental Gate.  In addition, both the top and bottoms of the Swap Force figures gain upgrades. 

To better explain how complex the world of Skylanders Swap Force is now and how expensive this game can get, lets go over a few things.  Eight different elemental types of Skylanders? Check.  Eight new Ability Zones only available on the new Swap Force figures?  Check.  Areas of the game locked unless you have the correct Skylanders? Check.  You checking account after buying the figures you need?  Empty.  With figures costing $10.99 for a standard, $13.99 for a lightcore, and $16.99 for a Swap Force, your wallet will be much lighter once you invest in these toys.  

The new addition to the world of Skylanders Swap Force, besides the new toys, is a jump button.  For the first time in the franchise, players can jump.  This opens up the world to give platforms and hidden areas above or below you to locate.  It also makes the world feel much more dynamic and interactive.  For my four year old, playing Swap Force for the first time, jumping was something that was a bit frustrating to him.  Skylanders was the first real videogame he played and the inclusion of jumping blew his mind.  I wish the game did a bit better job of hand holding at the beginning for cases like this.  Instead, I walked him through the act of jumping and how to perform it.

With the addition of the jump button, and the varied level design, Swap Force also adds a lot of mini-boss encounters.  This is something I never recall seeing in the past two titles.  It also significantly increases the size and duration of each level.

Besides jumping and mini-bosses, the difficulty seems to be greatly ramped up.  On the harder difficulty levels, I find that only a matter of a few hits, from an enemy, can cause my Skylanders to stumble and need to rest.  Remember, Skylanders can’t die!  Even the easiest difficulty level, where my four year old lives, seems a bit harder than the previous entries.

It is nice to see that Skylanders Swap Force supports all of the toys from the original to Giants.  Sadly, those hoping that new Giants or updates to the actual Giant figures will be disappointed to find out that there are no new figure updates for them.

Overall, Skylanders Swap Force is the most enjoyable version of Skylanders I have played.  With several returning cast members and a whole lot of new characters to encounter, Skylander Swap Force breathes enough new elements into the franchise to make it worthy of purchase.  The biggest negative about the game is the high cost of the toys. But that is a problem that has existed since the first title.  We highly recommend this game.

By Kaleb Rutherford – 10/25/13
ESRB Details: This is an action platformer in which players assume the role of whimsical creatures that must stop an evil villain’s plans. Players complete various puzzles, traverse platforms, and use elemental attacks (e.g., Magic, Water, Fire) to defeat enemy trolls and robots in a fantasy setting. Some characters use “cartoony” tools/weapons (e.g., giant hammers, blasters, bombs) against enemies, resulting in small explosions and comical yelps; enemies generally disappear amid colorful puffs of smoke when defeated. During some sequences, players can mount turrets and blast projectiles at flying vehicles/machines.

Screenshots for Skylanders Swap Force Review