We have visited and conquered the land of giants, mastered the art of swapping and combining elements, but will a new focus on capturing and controlling villains be enough to purchase this year’s game? In short, this year’s gimmick for the popular Skylanders series is the biggest the series has ever seen. Not only will you be able to trap charismatic and vastly unique baddies inside crystals, but using the new Traptanium portal (you will have to purchase the new one), the villains spring to life thanks to the included internal speaker.
Skylanders Trap Team allows you to collect not only new Skylanders, but trap villains inside elemental traps of matching type. These traps must be purchased separately, although the Starter Pack comes with two (Earth and Water). The remaining elements must be found inside triple trap packs found anywhere Skylanders can be purchased. Unlike the previous power portals, the Traptanium portal has a special slot for the crystallized traps and a built-in speaker for the bad guys to communicate. Although the Skylanders have been speaking sinceSkylanders Giants, they don’t have much to say in stark contrast to the constantly chatting villains.
Once a villain is defeated, you are given the opportunity to insert a trap of the corresponding element into the portal. At this point the villain will be sucked into a vortex on-screen and you’ll hear them through the speaker on the portal. Considering they won’t have a unique figure being instead trapped inside the crystals, the baddies’ personalities shine through. Captain Flynn was the comic relief in previous games, but I’ve never laughed this much in Giants nor Swap Force. While hesitant at first, their attitudes do a complete 180 degrees after coming to terms with being a “good” guy. Any of the Skylanders can be used to trap villains, but the new Trap Masters are close to the size of the Swap Force and Giants figures and excel in trapping. The figures are some of the best designs, with transparent crystal weapons and armor pieces.
The gameplay has largely unchanged from the previous games, adding new challenges and various details to each of the worlds. Instead of gating off areas in each level by a standard element, you must have the correct element and Trap Master. These areas once again hide the majority of the collectibles. The mini-games are largely enjoyable, changing the pace of things from the standard gameplay and include tower-defense, turret sequences and more. After trapping Sheep Creep, I played a Angry Birds inspired mini-game, but launching sheep instead of birds.The characters themselves have never looked better, and more closely resemble actual figures, just like in Disney Infinity. This is a natural next step in making the figures appear as if they are coming to life.
Skylanders has always focused on collecting various figures and even more apparent in Trap Team. You’ll still come across in-game videos that show off new special moves and Skylanders you haven’t encountered. As the villains are the best part of the game, you’ll want to purchase traps for each element type. Each trap can only hold one villain at a time, so you’ll have to switch them out between levels.Note: Skylanders Trap Team was reviewed on PlayStation 4. A physical copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.