Toys for Bob created the Skylanders franchise, giving gamers and Activision’s accountants millions of reasons to be thankful. Last year’s outing, Swap Force, introduced a creative new way to play the game under the guidance of Vicarious Visions. This year’s game, Skylanders Trap Team, includes the new ability to trap more than 40 different mini-bosses in a portable trap. But Toys for Bob had one more trick up their collective sleeve, one I got to experience for myself last week.
On a visit to Toys for Bob HQ, I had the good fortune to get hands-on with Skylanders Trap Team Kaos Doom Challenge mode. Kaos Doom Challenge is unlike anything you’ve ever played in a Skylanders game, nor is it anything you’d expect to see. For that matter, it’s frankly nothing I ever thought I’d even want in a Skylanders game.
But that’s why the game’s developer makes video games and I just write about them. Toys for Bob has moments of genius, one of which is Kaos Doom Challenge.
The mode isn’t anything new to older gamers, the moms and dads out there who love playing the Skylanders games with their kids. In essence, Kaos Doom Challenge is an arena mode where waves of progressively more-difficult enemies flood the screen for Skylanders to defeat. If you’ve played Horde in Gears of War or any number of similar modes, you’ll be immediately familiar with Kaos Doom Challenge.
For that matter, arena battles aren’t anything new to Skylanders. The previous games have had same-screen arenas and competition for years now. But there’s just enough sizzle and tower-defense elements in Kaos Doom Mode to keep it fresh and different.
General survival is important, but so is protecting the Mystery Box of Doom. This box sits in the foreground of the level, while enemies of varying shapes, sizes and difficulty are released from a building in the background to attack it. If they wear down its lock and chains, a massive creature of unspeakable power and destruction breaks from the box to beat your Skylander mercilessly.
Kaos Doom Challenge is comprised of 100 levels. Within each of those, multiple waves of enemies are unleashed with the sole purpose of demolishing the Mystery Box of Doom. If you think of Kaos Doom Challenge as divided into “chapters,” one chapter is comprised of 10 levels (for instance, levels 1-10, levels 11-20, etc.), with the final chapter being a 20-level beast that’s insanely challenging.
Defending the Mystery Box of Doom can be done through normal Skylander attacks or by playing in short bursts as any of the 40-plus bosses you’ve trapped. But the real hope for survival comes in the form of two to four turrets scattered around the level.
Turrets are elementally aligned, so only characters of that element can build it. If one or more of your turrets is destroyed by Kaos’ horde, you can rebuild it during a brief “building” period between each round. However, the elemental alignment of the turrets are randomly generated, so if you needed an Air-based Skylander to build it the first time around, you may need to place a Magic-aligned Skylander on the Portal next time to rebuild the turret.
Presuming your turret survives the round, it will gain stars in a sort of leveling-up mechanism. This makes the turret more powerful and also seems to improve its defenses.
One of the nicest things about the new Kaos Doom Challenge mode is it’s unlocked from the very beginning. No need to advance to a certain point in the story to play the Challenge. Just fire-up the game and enter it immediately. You can even play it before you hope into the Story, though your Skylander won’t be leveled-up. With that said, this could be a great way to “grind” through levels.
I’d heard about Kaos Mode for months now, but Toys for Bob and Activision are still keeping that under wraps. I have some ideas of what it could be, but knowing that Kaos Doom Challenge is also in the game, I’m not quite as obsessed with finding out what it is. Curious, yes, but I know this “other” new Kaos Doom Challenge mode is waiting for me.
Kaos Doom Challenge is one of those things that you didn’t know you wanted until it was in front of you. If you’re at all like me, you’ve enjoyed playing Skylanders by yourself as much as you have playing it with your kids. With Kaos Doom Challenge, adults have yet one more reason to play Skylanders Trap Team when the kids are away.