Review: Skylanders Superchargers
No matter what happens, a year cannot go by without Skylanders – the original bring toys to life game – doing a comeback in both new toys and videogame. This year, Activision decide to shuffle things around by bringing vehicles in the Skylanders Superchargers mix, after last year’s “Pokemon” like Trap Team gameplay elements. Is it worth it though?
The diabolically effective formula of Skylanders has its ups and downs in terms of episodes, which each bringing a little touch of novelty to revive interest in the hearts of children and sell lots of new interactive figures. Thus, having convinced me with Swap Force and its interchangeable characters, Trap Team was somewhat disappointing with its idea of using small totems to trap villains and play with them. So what about the contribution of these vehicles, which represent the big innovation this year? Well my faith is strong in Skylanders Superchargers this year!
In addition to having their own new characters, Skylanders Superchargers has now a bunch of vehicles for sale which are divided in three types: air, land or naval based. This innovation brings real plus in terms of gameplay, since it allows each level of the game to break its usual routine by offering racing and exploration by cars, boats or aircraft.
Of course, this means as usual if it is not actually possible to finish the game with the figures supplied in the starter pack, and will cost a few extra dollars to have at least one vehicle of each type and discover all areas made for them in each level. You do not change a winning formula with Activision… Especially when it comes to making more money!
Everything is made to like the new collectible figurines (twenty characters and around twenty vehicles). The most addicted children and Skylanders will beg their parents to go further than a mere vehicle of each type, since each of them will appear in the game in when you put the team Skylanders Superchargers new portal. Note that the latter, although offering a port for Trap Team traps, is not mandatory, and thus you can keep the old one and simply download the new game from the store of your console (a first in the series).
But back to the vehicles, please note that this novelty was pampered for young kids of course. First, because the figurines are the usual iconic ones of the series, they are well treated in terms of design and with a great finishing touch, but also because in addition to finally propose a big new gameplay addition, offering a whole section of customization in the game to recover interchangeable parts (exhaust pipes, wheels, etc.) that will boost your racing stats. All this happens in a dedicated menu and will result in a detailed presentation every time you put your vehicle on the portal.
Without spoiling much, Activision has delivered an episode a little more generous in terms of achievement and content. First, it continues the trend begun in the previous two episodes, making the game a little more challenging, offering more complex levels and more conducive to exploration and reflection. It’s a good thing, especially for those like me, who play Skylanders with my friends or colleagues’ kids without feeling useless and bored!
But alongside this, Skylanders Superchargers will expand way later in the game, bloated with the addition of vehicles. They give rise to races withing new sections of the main adventure mode, thanks to a dedicated area of the Academy. A real game within the game, that feels like a Mario Kart – or Diddy Kong Racing because of the air and sea elements – Which obviously introduce options to find powerups such as speed boost, shields, and more on the race track. The icing on the cake: these races are both playable offline with splitscreen and online, with world rankings and leaderboards.
Impossible not to note also, as discussed above, the efforts in terms of graphics and achievement. The Skylanders saga clearly changed a lot with Superchargers, from all aspects. Prettier, with levels filled with highly successful light or smoke effects and more complex models that put more value than the usual old-gen stages. The elements are rich and varied, such as sceneries and characters, and your progress through the adventure mode is a pleasure that does not sulk for one second for any reasons… even if the principle of making us spend so much money to enjoy part of the game can still make your wallet cringe!
One final note before I leave you, is that the Wii U version compared to Sony and Microsoft console versions has a fun collaborative merge between Activision and Nintendo with exclusive figurines. They are both amiibo sand Skylanders (changing from one mode to another at will), available only in those packs and obviously not compatible with other versions of the game, though its always fun to have iconic characters like Donkey Kong to be guests in this game.
Skylanders Superchargers was reviewed using an Xbox One retail copy of the game provided by Activision. The game is also available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC in both retail and online store releases. Further characters and vehicules were purchased by the reviewer for this review. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published
• Vehicles add so much in terms of gameplay.
• Really well made opus of this franchise.
• A richer and more varied content.
• So much money for all these new figures