Michael Leparc On November 5, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Skylanders Trap Team-2I haven’t played much of it before, but it quickly became clear that Skylanders is a series that is very good at what it does, the question is whether you really want what it does, and the answer may depend on your audience and how much disposable income you have. As a sequel, Trap Team succeeds in adding another layer of gameplay and well, purchases to the proceedings.

The tale Skylanders Trap Team weaves is fairly straightforward but holds its own alongside many other offerings for the E for Everyone crowd these days. The main baddie, Kaos, unleashes the worst villains in the Skylands by destroying Cloudcracker Prison. It’s up to you as the Portal Master to bottle them all back up by using your Trap Masters and Traptanium shards (a new class of Skylander and items you must, ahem, “acquire” from your local retailer) that have fallen back to Earth in the aftermath. It’s actually a quite humorous story, with the other villains taking potshots at Kaos, unappreciative of his efforts and talent. The voice acting features a lot of well known names who perform excellently, and when I was streaming the game for friends the first thing out of everyone’s mouth was “Invader Zim!” at Kaos’ appearance. Patrick Warburton returns as bombastic, self-promoting Flynn, which tickled my Seinfeld-loving funny bone. Still, the villain that steals the show for me is the 4th wall shattering Chompy Mage voiced by Alex Ness (who does a great job with Broccoli Guy as well). Anyway, the point is even though the game is for kids, you’ll have a fun time watching or playing with them as there’s plenty of humor to go around.

As a game however, Trap Team is among the more basic fare you’ll come across, a pretty standard action platformer with simple combat and fairly obvious puzzles, just enough to challenge your kid a little bit but not enough to give anyone tantrums. It also does a good job of moving along at a solid pace and mixing up the action with different elements here and there. As an adult player I didn’t find any part of the game particularly challenging and it was only the story that kept me playing on. Each Trap Master or Skylander has a couple of moves of which you can unlock more powerful variants as you collect more currency and collectibles. What’s new in this game is that when you defeat certain villains, you are able to trap them and use them for your own purposes, provided you have a Traptanium shard of the right element (which again, can be purchased at your local retailer!). While it’s certainly a gimmick, I get the feeling that kids will absolutely love this part of the game. The new portal that comes with the starter kit has a speaker built into it, so when you trap a villain you see them get sucked into a portal on the TV only to see them transfer to your portal in real life, where they were exclaim their frustration through the speaker. This leads to further hilarity when you continue to play the game with them captured as they will make funny remarks about your efforts.

My only complaint about the game is how in your face all the appeals for unlocking more content get, but then that’s pretty much the point of this whole venture from Activision’s perspective. Doors that are locked to only the Trap Masters of the right element are prominently put up at various stages of each level. Items to unlock moves for Skylanders you don’t have are sprinkled around and dutifully play a video of what you’re missing out on. You’ll come across villains requiring a different element of Traptanium to capture all the time, and certain side quests require these villains in order to proceed. If your little tyke is a completionist this will no doubt cause some grief in the household!

Skylanders: Trap Team is the first of the series to hit the next gen platforms, and it doesn’t suffer for it, sporting high resolution graphics and textures as well as a solid framerate on the Xbox One. Your character in-game matches the real world figure close enough that it really adds to the immersion for sure. I also really enjoyed the background tracks in most of the levels as well as the retro stylings playing during the fun little sidescrolling bits in the main hub. As mentioned before the voice cast is full of big names and great performances, so the game is no slouch in that regards, either.

I have to say, even though I wasn’t the intended audience for the game, I came away suitably impressed by what this latest Skylanders game put together. I can’t speak for how it compares to previous games in the franchise, but if you’ve got a kid or relative who loves the series I can pretty much guarantee they’d love to see this as a present this holiday season. Just beware of the added costs for unlocking all the content!


Nothing groundbreaking here, the trap gimmick is fun but doesn’t really change how the game plays.


Very colorful and appealing, true to the real life figures.


The voice acting really makes the story come to life and is downright hilarious at parts. Music is soothing to the ears for the most part.


If you can afford all the extras, it’s a game the whole family can enjoy.

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