Just when you thought it was safe to put some money away, a new Skylanders has come along: it wants all your cash and it will demand all your attention. Moving from the whole “trapping” villains away, the new Skylanders: Superchargers takes the adventure on different terrains with vehicles. Land, sea, and sky are the main pillars in which the new Skylanders has been developed around. Sure you still get new Skylanders and each with their own elements as seen in the year’s past, but the main focus this year is the vehicles and their hub preferences.
Keep in mind that every single Skylander that you own up to now will work on Skylanders: Superchargers, any Skylander that you purchase that is made for Skylander Superchargers, will not work on any previous title though.
At first I wasn’t too keen on the idea of racing in the air, on the water, or on land, but 2 hours into the game I couldn’t hate myself for ordering more vehicles to play with. Before, in Skylanders Trap team, you would be forced to splurge on different Skylanders with various elements and you would need Traps as well as Trap Masters. After 6 months with the game I still felt like I was compelled to purchase more Skylanders, but Superchargers basically needs one vehicle for each of the offered terrains. So once you have purchased the land, sky and sea vehicles, you should be good to go. You can experience the entire game as each level in the game is made up of 4 parts. One of these parts is the Skylander part where you walk around and attack enemies. The other three are vehicle levels, one land, one sky, and one sea.
Unlike Trap team, Superchargers feels more rewarding when it comes to the extra parts in the level. Instead of just exploring a simple platforming section with a Trap Master, Superchargers’ extra vehicle parts are tied into the story and offer much more depth than ever before.
The story goes that lord “Kaos” is back and this time he is channelling the darkness to eat the worlds of Skylands. As the worlds crumble, it is up to you, the Skylander, to bring back peace to the worlds and banish the darkness. All your favourite characters are back and as funny as ever as they all help you throughout the adventure. There are new characters too, all adding new personality to the game. Each of these new characters are in control of one of the game’s new mechanics. The overly-confident announcer guides you through the dedicated races, and you even have your very own pit crew that help you upgrade your vehicle.
To say that Skylanders Super Chargers is the best looking game in the series is an understatement. Every single level is beautifully crafted and there is no doubt that visually every new tweak all adds to the appeal. New Skylanders and vehicles are well-designed and look great. The engine runs smoothly providing some great visuals and a solid experience no matter if you have two enemies on screen or forty, with added fire and attacks going at the same time.
Driving around in your vehicle is great, it’s easy to master and once you have the hang of the controls, it feels like a solid kart game. You can upgrade your vehicle by changing the parts on it that you collect in the game. Thrusters, horn, wheels, and even speed and Armour can be increased to help you throughout the game. Although it kind of felt a bit limited at times, as there are about 4 new pieces for each part of each vehicle. It will take you a level of two to gather them depending on what vehicle you have and where these parts are scattered. Saying that, the driving never gets old, you go from racing forward to an objective, either shooting enemies along the way, ramping over holes, boosting, and charging ahead. There are even open areas that you can explore with your vehicles that don’t require you to constantly move forward. These let you take on the driving at your own speed.
The Skylanders are the highlight of the game. Each one of them come with some rad looking abilities, and they all seem to belong in the Superchargers world. You can upgrade their abilities just like before, and play with them the way you like. When you are tired of one, just pop in another. The game still has its great couch co-op, but it is restricted to one vehicle at a time, so no getting your friend into a car and racing together during the story mode. You can however go into the game’s best mode, a dedicated racing mode and play some split screen racing with a friend. This mode was the game’s standout feature for me as it felt like the closest thing to Mario Kart 8. The race tracks are gorgeous in every way. Just the details and the vibrancy of them makes it something that you want to just keep on doing. You can even challenge some online friends to a few races if you feel up to it, or just try and get 3 stars on each track.
There are some issues though, you can only race through six tracks at first, 2 of them being land, 2 of them sea, and 2 of them sky. The rest of them are locked behind what Activision are calling a “Racing Pack”. The game requires that you purchase these packs that come with a trophy-like toy, a Skylander, and their vehicle type. These go for R500 which means you would need to fork out an extra R1500 to unlock the entire racing experience, one pack for each vehicle type. Sure you are getting a Skylander with it, but it just doesn’t feel right to have to re-purchase a land vehicle just to race on more land tracks.
Other than the paid racing mode, Superchargers never feels like it requires a new purchase for every experience. Sure you can slowly stock up on one of each type of vehicle, and then you are set for the rest of the game. This is definitely a step in the right direction from Trap team that required a new Trap Master for every Trap gate, and even after purchase, these gates felt lacklustre and lacking content. This time you will be able to play every single sea section without the worry of “do I own that?”
As for the difficulty of the game, it is a step up in terms of mechanics and controls. I have been playing Trap Team with my niece for months now and she battled to get to grips with the driving in SuperChargers as its faster than anything in past games. With that said, even playing two players was a struggle as the second player, when not walking about as a Skylander, would have to control a vehicle that would shoot and suck in coins. It definitely was expecting a lot from her, but it’s another opportunity to grow.
Skylanders: Superchargers is an awesome package, the main game doesn’t feel like a starter pack at all, and there are less things to buy this time around, and if you buy them wisely, you won’t need to buy anything again. The online mode is a welcomed new feature, the vehicles bring back the days of Crash Team Racing, and the levels and their superb art direction make me feel like playing the original Spyro the Dragon all over again. It might have a steep learning curve for the youngsters but look at it as a way to improve their gaming. I will continue to play the game with my niece daily as she is slowly grasping the concept of the vehicle controls and her reticle aiming is getting there. I cannot wait for her to be a fully-fledged Skylander Junkie, just like her uncle!
Less to buy this time around
The best looking game in the series
Makes us Sad
Racing tracks locked behind pricey additional purchases
Steep Learning curve for newcomers
Disclaimer: This review was conducted on a review copy of the game that was given to Tech Girl. We were given a Starter Pack of a PS4 version which retails for R899.00
Check out some of the toys that come bundled with the starter bundle:
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