If you’re a parent and you’ve never ever heard of Skylanders, then you’re probably a parent with a much happier bank account than most – Skylanders is a console game series that features collectible figurines that can, with the help of a ‘portal’ be inserted into the game. Data for the figures is stored on the little plastic statue itself so you can swap them between supported games.
But there are a lot of these collectibles available for the various incarnations of Skylanders, an offshoot of the Spryo the Dragon series that made gamers from the Playstation One days very happy platform players indeed. And Skylanders has gone on to sell loads on consoles but now Activision, the parent company behind the series, has a new target in mind: tablets and of course, the
wallets er …people that use them.
Contents of Tablet (Edition)
Activision have included everything that you need to play Skylanders: Trap Team‘s tablet version aside from the actual tablet itself. We spent some time with the iOS version of the game, running on an iPad mini, so that’s something that you’d have to provide by yourself. But the starter kit comes with the portal, known this time around as a Traptaium Portal (more on that later), two figurines (Snap Shot and Food Fight), as well as one of the better mobile game controllers we’ve ever had our hands on.
Everything is battery powered, the portal and the controller both, so get your hands on some rechargeable AAAs, while the game itself is a pretty chunky download that can eat up anything from three to six gigs on a mobile device – it depends on your platform. The figurines are typical Skylanders quality (that’s high-quality), while the portal and controller are sturdy enough, though they’ve been made lightweight and the build suffers slightly as a result. There are also two elemental ‘traps’ that fit into the portal – you’ll use those to trap and play as villains in the game.
In Trap Team, long-time villain Kaos has blown a Skylands prison to bits and it’s up to players to capture the escaped inmates and return them to their barred homes. Once they’ve borrowed their abilities to overcome certain obstacles, that is.
Gameplay is simple enough, a collection of platform and basic combat staples that are suitable for all ages. Seriously, you’ll probably find some enjoyment from the brightly-coloured setting and semi-destructible environments, even if it’s only giggling at some of the jokes in the main story. But for a kid, and especially a kid that needs to be entertained on a car trip or something similar, Trap Team is an ideal attention-holder.
Visuals are really impressive, especially for a tablet game. This isn’t Angry Birds or Candy Crush, those games are the Solitaire of the mobile world now. Skylanders: Trap Team offers near-console-quality visuals to go along with the gameplay and that controller, which plays like a simplified Xbox 360 gamepad, makes movement a pleasure.
How it all works together is an attention-grabber. Players can add in new characters, bought separately from the starter kit, simply by placing them on the Portal. This is how you introduce new elemental characters, needed for navigate certain areas, into the game. Capturing certain villains will also require a specific elemental trap as well, the two starter traps are just the beginning.
That unfortunately means that you’re going to have to shell out extra to get all the figures and traps, a bill that will weigh heavily upon your wallet in the long run. We’re not arguing though, Trap Team is perfectly playable without all the extras but you may find yourself pestered for additional plastic bits.
As a present for the kiddies, or the young-at-heart, Skylanders: Trap Team is a console-quality game that works on a tablet, making it a truly mobile game. But be warned that it’s going to sap two things: Your tablet’s battery and the contents of your bank account. If you’re looking to gift some young, tech-inclined person something playable this year though, this needs to be right near the top of your list.