Whether you love or hate Activision, they have essentially turned the interactive toy market into a gold mine! Skylanders has come a long way in its four year life span, starting out its adventure with that once famous, but adorable purple dragon named Spyro to making Skylanders the must have toys every Christmas season.
So what’s new and exciting in Trap Team? Skylanders is now in its fourth year of existence and in its newest iteration; the villains can now be trapped and used for the purposes of good. So unfortunately for previous Skylanders owners, once again you will have to invest in an all new starter pack. Due to the new Trap Team portal that features a spot to place your traps and a speaker that enhances the voices of the trapped villains, you will be unable to use your older portals for this game. Sixteen new Trap Masters, sixteen new core characters and sixteen new minis are available to purchase to add to your team or just to collect. Now before you worry about how much money will you need to spend to play Trap Team, keep in mind that all of your older figures will work in this game, so the only extra money that you will spend is on the starter pack, seven additional Trap Masters, and six additional traps. Due to the vault feature in Skylanders Academy, you can store all you captured villains and swap them out when you want to use them in the gameplay. Unless you’re a collector, Skylanders has always only required that you have a main character of each element to complete the game.
So what is the adventure you can expect to embark upon this time? After the events in Skylanders: Swap Force, Kaos releases the worst villains in Skylands from Cloudcracker Prison. This sends all of the Trap Masters and the Traptanium used to build the prison to Earth. The player, in the role of Portal Master, must use the Trap Masters and the Traptanium shards traps to capture all of the escaped villains.
So as an avid fan and previous player of all things having to do with Skylanders. (Yes, I even play Lost Islands on my smart phone.) I set off on my new adventure in Skyland!
As a Portal Master it is your job to help the Skylanders clean-up Kaos’ latest mess and capture these villains to save Skylands from certain destruction. Using traps made of Traptanium, the Trapmaster of your choice traps their foes once they’ve been defeated. But you don’t just put them back in prison; these trapped villains can now be used in battle! Each with their own abilities, these villains can be used to help take back Skylands. Every trap you use to capture a foe essentially becomes that character, so you can switch between villains on the fly as long as you have enough traps. Each villain is only allowed out of his trap for a certain amount of time before he/she is returned, shown by a timer at the bottom of the screen. All experience and loot collected by the villains goes to the Skylander that is on the portal at the time. So you be thinking it’s pretty pointless to use them at all, but each villain has their own unique side quest only they can complete, and the villains each have their own devastating attack.
As in previous adventures, there are lots of hidden areas and items that you must find. Hidden areas will require a Trap Master of a certain element to unlock, and the fixed camera mode will sometimes make it frustrating to find these things when you find yourself stepping off the side of a cliff.
On top of the story campaign, players can also jump into a tower defense horde mode style game called the Kaos Doom Challenge. While the mode provides a fun alternative to adventuring through the Skylands, playing this seemed to level up your characters incredibly quickly. Dozens of mini-games are available to play in the Academy as well as the returning Skystones Smash card game, and the Combat Arena, Each mini-game provides a welcome, fun distraction from the standard action adventure combat of the main game.
The vibrant colors of the game’s graphics are what you have come to expect from the Skylanders franchise. I didn’t see much of a difference on the PS4, but under heavy visual loads the system handled everything smoothly with no frame-rate drops or interruption in the game. The ambient score and the comical voices of all the characters make the game even more fun to play. Listening to a villain make comments on your achievements, or just making light banter through the portal speaker brings even more laughs to the game.
In the end, Activision and Toys for Bob have found a way to add new features to every iteration of the franchise and it just keeps getting better. If you want more Skylanders adventures then I definitely recommend picking up Trap Team. The franchise is an investment that sometimes can hurt your wallet, but it’s a FUN investment that you can share with friends and family through the various modes the game offers.