One of the strongest points of the Skylanders series has been the unique ways that the characters are portrayed alongside their ability to pop off of the screen at us.
Skylanders Swap Force on the Playstation 4 is the next release in the line of super succesful video games that Activision has been publishing. SWAP Force released in November of 2013. Provided that you haven't been living under a rock, Skylanders is the gaming fad that every kid on Earth has fallen in love with. The series combines plastic figures that represent the characters in the game, and a unique 'portal' ability in order to put them into the digital world. The Skylanders series is meant to take advantage of our love for collecting with our passion for unique characters that we can put into extraordinary situations. Swap Force is the third, and newest, game to be released in the series. It is also one of the most ambitious, as it brings out a new wrinkle for players to experience.
Story of the Skylanders.
All of the games in the series take place in a magical realm called the Skylands. This world is filled with magic filled, floating islands. These lands possess portals that go to other worlds and realms and they are defended by the legendary Skylanders. Skylanders work with the great Portal Masters to keep the peace and balance in the world. These legendary defenders are sorted into different elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Magic, Tech, Life, Air, and Undead. Their primary mission is to ensure that Kaos, the main antagonist, never takes over. The series started with the most bankable character, Spyro, in his own game. It was followed up by Skylanders: Giants and now we are here with Skylanders SWAP Force.
What does Skylanders SWAP Force bring to the Playstation 4?
As with all of the Skylanders game, SWAP Force focuses entirely on the collectable figures. There are 16 different characters that can be collected but the big twist here is that they can be split between their top and bottom halves. Thus the 'SWAP' name. Players are now able to mix and match their figures in order to get all new characters in the game. Have you ever wanted to see An Undead/Air combo? Then combine Night Shift and Boom Jet! There are almost endless combinations (well, 256 of them) that can be used strategically to both enhance the depth of gameplay as well as give the game more appeal to older, mature audiences.
Outside of the amazing SWAP feature there are a few other new features that fans would do well to be aware of. Now Skylanders are able to jump at will, which gives you a new dynamic when playing the game. As well as this new vertical movement, you must now be aware of each characters individualized moving style. Each character has eight unique ways of moving around the map. Sometimes these are aesthetic choices, but usually they play a key role in how the game will progress. Some certain areas need a certain movement style to enter. This makes picking the correct bottom half of your character even more important.
Goal of the SWAP Force.
Kaos reigns supreme in this game as he tries to once again destroy all of the Skylanders. His goal is to change one of the elementals into an evil villain to team up alongside of him. In order to stop him the Skylanders are sent on a series of increasingly difficult tasks to foil him at the last moment. So, you see that the story itself isn't very difficult. And it really shouldn't be, either. The game is geared toward younger children and the concepts need to be simple enough to follow without being so simple as to bore. We found that there is enough conflict and personality within these narrow story points to keep most kids interested as well as the older audiences.
Admiring the graphics.
One of the strongest points of the Skylanders series has been the unique ways that the characters are portrayed alongside their ability to pop off of the screen at us. In Skylanders SWAP Force for the PS4 we get that trademark vibrant color with the same unique and charismatic interpretations of our favorite characters. The game is in full HD and the animations are even crisper than before. The fact that this game is more platformer than hack and slash means, to us anyway, that graphics aren't as important. This doesn't need to look like Skyrim to be entertaining for us. With that being said, we still feel that the series hasn't hit its stride yet in regards to the new generation of graphic engines. The game still looks a bit too simple for our older eyes. Your kids, if they are playing, won't mind though. There's enough personality in every frame to keep them hooked until the very end.
But how does it play?
With platformers if you don't succeed at making the controls work, the whole game will fail. When that same platform is aimed at children then the goal becomes even more important. Fortunately the Skylanders team has their concepts down pat and SWAP Force is a smooth ride. Despite the new additions to the game, the controls are simple as ever. It's easy to seamlessly switch between your different attack styles and maneuvering through the world is also simple. You will gain experience points and level up and along the way you will get even more attacks. The harder segments of combat are beatable by just about everyone, so don't worry about handing the controller off to a more skilled friend or family member. Just pay attention to the way your enemies move and you'll no doubt have the best of them in no time.
Skylanders SWAP Force is simply charming.
At launch there seem to be many games that suffer for lack of blood and violence. As a counterweight to the movie experience, video games suffer from being family oriented. Skylanders SWAP Force on the Playstation 4 has, however, managed to rise above. With a great sound system in place, tight controls, and memorable characters you will no doubt find your way to the end of the game in no time.