It’s 6:45 AM on a Sunday and I wake up to my 5 year old silently staring at me from the side of the bed. He whispers, “Daddy, we should go. I am going to get my clothes, ok?” and rushes out of the room. It’s way too early to be heading to an 8 o’clock premiere for a video game, and I went to bed late due to my new Pokemon addiction. However, my son is excited about this. It’s his first time doing something with his dad that is job related. I don’t know if he even slept last night, I mean how did he even get up this early? He grabs my 3DS and his DS and we are out the door.
As we drive to the local Toys ‘R’ Us, he is excitedly telling me how awesome the new game is going to be. “I hope there is a bomb-guy! I saw a guy that shoots bee-butts! We should get him!” When I say he was hyped, it would absolutely be considered an understatement. When we finally get there, it is 7:50 AM so we go to stand in line. This is the first time I’ve stood in line to buy a game since I bought Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3; the crowd here is much different. Of the 40 or so groups of people standing outside of this Toys “R” Us, 85% of them were a mom or dad with their 5-10 year old kid(s).
The door finally opens, we go into the store and my son is instantly confused by the collection of the new Skylanders on display. “Which ones are the ones that break in half? How many are there? I can’t really read that yet.” I showed him which characters are part of the Swap Force and we tossed the lot into our cart, along with the game and portal. We made our purchase, hopped in the car and hit up McD’s on the way home. While we sat in the lounge area, my son kept flicking through the packaging for one of the Skylanders. He wanted to show me all the new Skylanders you could make by “giving them each other’s pants”. When we finally got home, unpacked everything, and got the game hooked up, it was time to see what the new Skylanders title was all about.
Right after we started the game, the new changes were immediately obvious. Graphically, Skylanders Swap Force is far superior to the original two titles. This visual upgrade is impressive on its own but becomes very prevalent during the initial opening sequences of the game. The backdrop goes from a snowy area to the inside of a volcano and ultimately to a lush jungle. The whole world feels quite alive around the player and the newly voiced enemy introductions are actually quite appreciated for younger players.
My son absolutely flipped out when he put one of his favorite Skylanders, Prism Break, and saw that the character had been given a completely new visual overhaul. In fact, after checking out many of his old Skylanders, we noticed that most older characters had been given better redesigns. While they all still had their same abilities, the new looks really made everything that was old, new again.
His reaction to it all said way more than I can even write down.
The Swap Force mechanics of Skylanders Swap Force is one of the coolest things that I have ever saw in a collectible based video game. The game comes with 2 Swap Force characters, Blast Zone and Wash Buckler, and there were 4 others available at launch; Free Ranger, Rattle Shake, Magna Charge and Hoot Loop. All 6 of these characters can swap their top and bottom pieces to create new characters with their own special abilities. My so preferred Magna Zone (Magna Charge’s top half and Blast Zone’s base) but also got into trying out all the available combos at his disposal as well. Another interesting feature about these new characters are that they have 1 or 8 different movement types as well. Some areas will require a character to have that set movement type to be able to access it, which is really interesting when you add in the elemental gates as well.
Obviously, Skylanders Swap Force isn’t the most story intensive game ever created. With that being said, there is a collection of new characters to get acquainted with and they aren’t horrible. In fact, there is probably just enough story to keep players entertained. The in-game multitasking has more than enough to keep players busy, so the story is less of a gripe and more of an observation.
My biggest concern going into this new iteration of the Skylanders franchise was that this would be a repetitive amalgam of everything we have encountered so far. Truth be told, Avalanche and Activision definitely went and rolled up their sleeves to offer something that will once again be worth spending money on. Heck, my kid really thinks this is the case.
Here is what everyone else had to say about it as well:
As you can see, the game is definitely worth picking up and with all the cool exclusives and new characters out there, parents wallets will be bled dry for at least another holiday season. There is a lot to enjoy in this new Skylanders, I’m sure the whole family will be getting in on Swap Force.
This week at Toys ‘R’ Us, all video games including Skylanders and Disney Infinity items are Buy 1 Get 1 40% off. Toys ‘R’ Us has an array of exclusives coming with Skylanders Swap Force and is already beating everyone to the punch with the waves of new characters that are in hot demand with the kids.