Skylanders Superchargers review
We’ve seen the Skylanders getting bigger friends, being able to swatch torso and legs and using traps in their fight against Kaos. So what will the Skylanders get this time to take Kaos and his Doomstation on? Vehicles, that’s what. With weapons and rift engines that makes the vehicles able to travel through the portals in Skylands.
With Kaos at it once again, including ridiculous voice and melodramatic entrances, things are worse than ever. Skylanders has been captured, including Master Eon – that tells a lot about the situation. However, Flynn, Cali and Hugo succeed in making a back door through the portal system (of which Kaos have shut down of course!), and tells the player about the situation and they should come help them with the new Skylanders Superchargers. Whoever of the Skylanders you decide to do the road trip with, you can be sure they have some hefty weaponry at the ready, on feet and in a vehicle.
So, what are we doing this time?
The gameplay consists of what we know from earlier games in the series – you have a linier way to go, meeting minions on your way, with small sidetracks for hidden collectibles. Superchargers has bonus rooms where you can find gold and other useful goodies – including slot machines acting as additional collectibles (always jackpot!), and you can even get to play SkyStone, a simple card game. As you go through these levels, and make your Skylander and the vehicles better by buying upgrades with Gold and Gearbits, making the more difficult levels later in the game, easier with weapons that damage more and with tricks your Skylander can learn/attain. The look of your vehicle and Skylander does change as you add different parts and attain new tricks, so you’ll get the satisfaction of changed looks, but be mindful of what the parts and skills give you, at this is a part of making you stronger, so add things that fits your style of play. Also, hats. Hats adds to your Skylanders statistics, like improved health, damage and shield.
Skystone is played against characters you meet on your way through Skylands. You have a deck of cards to play with (cards for Skystone is part of the collectibles, mind you), and each card has values for attack and health. These values is what counts, so if you with a card valued at 4 in attack make a go at it at a card with 5 in health, you won’t disintegrate the card, and your opponent will most likely make use of the card in the next round. Always use attack with higher value against cards with lower health that has lower attack than what the health of your card. Try and make it survive while “killing” the other card, this give you an advantage. If you think Skystone sounds interesting, but won’t get this game just for that, go download Hearthstone, which is the inspiration for the card game.
Ready, set, GO! VROoooOUUUuuuMM
Alright. Where were we? Vehicles! That’s the new thing for Skylanders. There’s land vehicles, which is the main thing, as that’s the only class you need to get through the story – water and air class is side-missions that prolongs the gaming experience, or even opens up for new pathways to get through missions. At launch, there’s 20 Skylanders promised, as well as 20 vehicles, they come in pairs. If paired on your portal, you get the Supercharged version of vehicle and Skylander, which isn’t essential, but at ads damage and some skills. While the vehicle will get the highest tier set of parts, you still need to buy skills and add-ons for your Skylander. Vehicles will match their Skylander in colours and design, so you should be able to see if they match up.
Where’s the option to turn steering into left-right instead analogue stick-direction in open environments? While I did adapt and got better at steering my Supercharger this way, it was a hurdle I had to get past, and I had to use some time to check the options on how to control the car. Good thing there isn’t that many open environments while in a vehicle, that it can’t be dealt with.
Let’s talk a bit about the difficulty in the game. I’m sure I decided to do normal, as I do with almost every game I play for the first time – I don’t want to be caught in a place I can’t get past, yet I want the full game experience. I encountered a few places where I had a bit of trouble and lost a lot of lives/Skylanders, but that went beyond when reaching the Land of the Undead – especially in the encounter with Count Moneybone. I had already used a handful of my Skylanders in the dive to unblock the pipe system to free the townspeople, but used the rest of my Skylanders (I have 15 in all) in my fight with Count Moneybone – and that says something. I am in no way good at games, I’m probably around mediocre. It went better in my second playthrough – water challenge was registered as done, so I skipped over it. Knowing the patterns, I was able to take about half of his life with Supercharged Donkey Kong, and took the rest with 3-4 Skylanders, some low-level. The change of angle and the small minions taking +100 of life was the most infuriating of the fight, but I guess there has to be some challenging experiences in a game – but I can’t imagine a 7-10 year old would be able to beat this fight, and isn’t that the main target group for this series?
As always, figures are durable
Quality of figures seems to be quite good, with lots of details painted on both vehicles and Skylanders without many flaws. They’re made by plastic, so they’ve been easy to mold with many features, and parts that can be sharp or fragile have been made of softer plastic to protect eyes and other gentle body parts – and the figure itself of course.
All in all, Skylanders is a genius business model, because lots of people, kids no less, tend to like collecting stuff that relate to a game they like – even more when the collectibles actually have a purpose, like adding a playable character (and lives) to a game. Everyone can play and enjoy the game, and while the story don’t play a big part, it’s enjoyable nonetheless, as Kaos is a funny villain which is easily a likeable character, that you still want to beat because he keeps talking about taking over the world and making everyone else miserable.
Miss; Difficulty goes out of bounds, especially in boss fights.
Need; More Nintendo characters for the Wii U version. Why not let all the Amiibos work? Portal could easily contain both Skylanders (is it NFC?) tech and Amiibo tech. This would also make the switch moot on the characters (Donkey Kong and Bowser).