Plot: What’s it about?
Even after the return of the Skylanders, including the imposing Giants, Kaos refuses to let his defeats stop his evil plans. Now he has discovered a way to turn anything evil, via a crystal powered weapon he calls The Evilizer. He soon uses this weapon to turn any Skylands residents he can find into his own personal army of evil. This means the Skylanders have to battle not only Kaos’ usual forces of darkness, but some of Skylands’ own inhabitants. In order to protect the innocent residents and break the magic of The Evilizer, it will take a more difficult battle than ever before. But the Skylanders have recruited some new friends, including the legendary Swap Force, who can switch properties to create some wild combinations. Kaos has the edge, since he has rolled his plan into motion already, but the Skylanders have leapt into action, with the portal master rallying the troops. Even with the most powerful roster of Skylanders ever, can Skylands be saved once again from Kaos and his minions?
With over a billion dollars in sales, no one should be surprised that the Skylanders have returned. This insanely popular series has skyrocketed to one of video gaming’s top franchises, without question. But this is no rehash, as the game has been tweaked and the innovative Swap Force tech is awesome. Now you can customize your own Swap Force heroes, with unique powers in both the top and bottom segments. This is not only useful to bring down Kaos’ forces, but it is just plain fun and with 250 combinations, there is a lot of Swap Force magic available. I liked the addition of Giants in the previous Skylanders game, but Swap Force is the biggest step up in creative changes to this point. As expected, a new assortment of toys has been issued, with new Swap Force characters, new core Skylanders, and redesigned versions of fan favorites from earlier games. While it is fun to collect the figures, you can experience most of the game with the included starter pack items. You only miss out on a few elemental gates, which reward hats and other collectibles. But if you’re interested enough to want to play Skylanders, you’ll have a hard time resisting picking up these toys, as they’re cool both in and out of the game.
The game itself is the best Skylanders yet, with a more polished overall experience. A huge addition is also present, as Skylanders can now jump. This seems like a small change, but it has a massive impact on the game and opens up a lot of new exploration and platforming options. The basic mechanics follow the previous games, as you battle enemies, solve puzzles, and explore the levels to track down valuable collectibles. You also collect experience points to level up your characters and in Swap Force, the level cap has been increased to 20. You also still pick up coins to purchase upgrades and as before, new powers have been given to the returning Skylanders given new figures. The game offers a good amount of content and above all else, is a blast to play. I prefer co-op, as battling Kaos with a friend is just more fun, but only local co-op is offered. You can also take on local friends in arena combat, in both competitive and co-operative modes. In short, Skylanders: Swap Force is more of the Skylanders goodness, with plenty of new twists thrown in. So if you have even a minor interest in the Skylanders franchise, Swap Force is a must have, whether you are a devoted fan or you are new to the series.
Video: How’s it look?
The bright, colorful visuals of the original return here, though with a more refined visual presence. The environments have more depth and detail, while the characters also reflect an enhanced level of detail. In other words, this is an improvement across the board and just takes the established visual design of the series to the next level. The new characters look terrific and blend in well, while the entire visual design is kind of like a cartoon that you’re able to take part in. So fans should have a lot to soak in here, as the Skylands look better than ever.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The sound design is on par with the earlier games. The stand out element is the voice work, as the game is packed with dialogue that both advances the story and just makes you laugh. The cast does a terrific job with the dialogue too, which helps it seem like a cartoon and a game rolled into one. The music is brisk and fun, never getting on your nerves, while the cartoon style sound effects more than get the job done as well.