Activision struck first in the “toys to life” genre, creating with Skylanders game both a cottage industry and an innovative way for parents to spend quality time gaming with their kids. With news imminent about the next Disney Infinity, Activision once again drew first blood, unveiling today a totally new direction for the toys-to-life scene: Skylanders Trap Team.
Last fall Skylanders Swap Force captivated my household (parents and kids alike) with its ability to mix and match figures. Between that innovation and great level design, Swap Force remains our house’s most-played game on either next-gen console. The next Skylanders could’ve been a simple extension of Swap Force and made us — and millions of other gamers’ — happy. But with Skylanders Trap Team, Activision is treading entirely new ground.
Until today, Skylanders has been all about playing as the good guys. The main villain, Kaos, has been joined by thousands of minions and even his mom, but they’ve always been NPCs. With Skylanders Trap Team, gamers will be able to “trap” more than 40 different boss characters in a special new accessory and then use them as a playable character.
This new ability lets gives players the option to switch between playing as a Skylander hero or a villain at any time. And yes, that includes trapping and playing as Kaos.
For those of you as excited as we are, stop reading now and go pre-order Skylanders Trap Team from Amazon. Pre-orders just opened today, and with the Skylanders Trap Team release date being Oct. 5, there’s little doubt Trap Team will be one of the best-selling games this holiday season. Best to get your pre-order in early for the Starter Pack, some new Traps and a few extra figures.
Skylanders Trap Team introduces a new breed of Skylanders heroes called Trap Masters. The game also includes new Core Skylanders characters and reposed fan-favorite Skylanders characters. It hasn’t yet been specified whether there will be any new Swap Force characters designed for Trap Team, but considering the franchise’s history that’s likely.
To accommodate this new enemy-trapping aspect, the game will feature a variety of elementally aligned Traps, each with unique designs. For instance, some traps will only be able to trap a water-element enemy, some will only be able to trap an air- or fire-element enemy, and so on.
With every addition to their Trap Team collection, Portal Masters will be able to unlock new gameplay possibilities within each level. As if Skylanders games weren’t already crazy high in the replayability department….
Trapping and then sending the bosses back into the game to “fight for good” requires an all-new Portal. This new portal is called the “Traptanium Portal” and has a different design than previous portals. To accommodate the new trapping mechanic, there’s a little hole/notch on the perimeter of the light ring that enables players to insert a Trap to capture the enemy. Any trap with an enemy inside it can also be placed in that hole to play as that boss.
The traps aren’t just memory-card proxies, though. They also have a speaker inside that lets players hear the villains inside the Trap. It appears that the traps also glow.
Gameplay elements aside, what’s the story like for Skylanders Trap Team? In Skylanders Trap Team, Kaos continues his ongoing quest to rule over Skylands. He’s discovered the location of the legendary Cloudcracker Prison, a fortress built out of the magical substance Traptanium and home to Skylands’ most nefarious baddies.
In an attempt to build his own army of foes, Kaos blows up the prison, releases the most-wanted villains and blasts shards of Traptanium to Earth in the form of Traps. That leaves Portal Masters (gamers) to recapture all of the escaped villains using Traptanium Traps and defeat Kaos before it’s too late.
I’m more excited about Skylanders Trap Team than a grown man probably should be. But I don’t care, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Activision needed to do something to spice-up the Skylanders franchise with Disney Infinity 2 looming. Trap Team is exactly the seasoning Skylanders fans needed. With Toys For Bob once again at the helm, I can’t wait to learn more about Skylanders Trap Team and get hands-on with it as soon as possible.