Skylanders Trap Team Extravaganza!

SKYLANDERS_LOGOOne of the most beloved video game/toy lines for kids is back for its fourth entry! In this one, what’s good is bad and what’s bad is good because now you can capture bad guys and turn them good and play as them alongside the Skylanders!  The story in this one is that a group of evil villains wreaked havoc on the Skylands eons ago, until they were captured by a group of Skylanders known as the Trap Team, who used crystal-like weapons made of “Traptanium” and sealed the baddies up in an impenetrable prison.  But now, the main Skylander villain Kaos has broken the bad guys out of prison, and sent the Trap Team and pieces of Traptanium to Earth, where they turned into small statues.  Now it’s up to YOU, the Portal Master, to send the heroes back to the Skylands to save the day, and use special Traptanium pieces to capture villains and turn them into good guys, too!  Skylanders Trap Team is available for all major current game consoles, but reviewed on Wii U here.

Here is a picture of the box for the Wii U version:


The game comes with a new kind of portal which easily hooks into the USB ports on the back of the Wii U. It has a slot in the front for a Traptanium piece, which is used to capture the bad guys.  It also comes with two new Skylanders figures.  One is a Trap Master crocodile who uses a crystal bow and arrow, and the other is a little guy who uses a tomato gun and his name is Food Fight.  One part of the box packing has a use, too.  You can store your Traptanium pieces in the holes in the cardboard (as seen on the right of this picture below) to keep track of them!  And of course, it also comes with instructions, a poster, trading cards, and stickers of the new Skylanders you got.


Skylanders Trap Team plays a lot like the old arcade game Gauntlet (with a little bit of the LEGO gameplay thrown in), and it’s also pretty much exactly like the other Skylanders games, too. You move the Skylanders and friends around various areas and mazes, defeating hordes of enemies, solving basic block pushing puzzles, and collecting hidden rare treasures. Each character has different attacks, and they are based on elements like fire, water, earth, wind, magic, undead, and so on. Some secret doors can only be opened by Skylanders of that same element, too. As you defeat enemies, you’ll earn experience points that will help you gain levels and increase your stats. Collect treasures to buy upgrades and new attacks and moves. Two players can play at the same time, too, just put two Skylanders on the portal and hook up another controller!

Here’s the really cool part: Any gold and experience points you collect during the game is saved onto the figure. Then you can take it to a friend’s house and play on their console. It doesn’t matter if they have a different game system, your figure will work on any of them. Note that new characters and Series 4 figures won’t work with the first three games, but old figures and Giants will work with the new sequel. There were sidekick figures that you could get in promotions from companies like Frito-Lay, and in the other games they just followed you around.  But in this game, the Sidekick Skylanders can be played by themselves now, too!  Only bad thing is the elemental gates this time around can only be opened by Trap Team Skylanders of a certain element, so you may have to buy more figures to get the most out of the game this time.  Here is a picture of the new portal all lit up and in action.  I was disappointed that the included Trap Team’s weapon didn’t light up like some of the other Skylanders could when placed on the portal.  It really looked like it would.


So the new thing in Trap Team is that you can play as some of the bad guys, and here’s how that works. When you defeat certain enemies, the game may prompt you to trap them.  If you have a piece of Traptanium that is the same element as the baddie you just defeated, you can stick it into the slot and the bad guy will be sucked in.  There is even a speaker on the portal where you can hear the bad guys talking, and they’ll say things like, “I guess I’ll have to be good now.  It feels weird, but I’ll get used to it.”  They’ll also offer quips in the portal as you play, too.  That’s right, once you trap a bad guy, they’ll swap sides and fight for you.  The bad guy that is currently in the Traptanium piece in the portal slot can be switched in and out with your main Skylander by pressing a button, and you can play as that villain for a limited time.  Swap back to the Skylander to refill the bad guy’s play gauge.  Traptanium pieces can only capture bad guys of that element, but you don’t need multiple copies of the same kind of Traptanium to play.  You can switch out baddies in the hub world that you’ve defeated, and even trap bad guys that you didn’t capture if you didn’t have the right kind of Traptanium in a level.  You really only need one of each kind of elemental Traptanium to capture all the bad guys, unless you just want to have more to keep them separate.  There are nearly 50 villains to capture in play as in this game!


Kid Factor:

Skylanders Trap Team is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Cartoon Violence and Comic Mischief. While you do blast monsters with fireballs, water, and other projectiles, enemies just disappear when defeated. Reading skill isn’t totally necessary as everyone has spoken voices. Parents may need to help set everything up initially.  There is plenty of replay value to be had, too, with villain sidequests, extra mini-games like arena battle and tower defense, and even a collectable card game!

But the real question about if this game is suitable for your kids has nothing to do with the gameplay. These games require the Portal of Power pedestal and the figures to play. If your kids break or lose any of these items, they won’t be able to play the game. So ask yourself this question: Are your kids good at keeping up with, taking care of, and not losing their toys? If the answer is yes, then they are ready for this game.

I’m surprised they haven’t made a cartoon yet to go along with the game, the characters and setting of Skylanders sound like something right off Nickelodeon’s NickToons. They even got some well-known cartoon voice actors to play the parts in the game. The bad guy Kaos is the same voice as Invader ZIM, for instance, and Patrick Warburton returns as Flynn. And I think kids will like that. Plus, kids can play it together with their friends, siblings, and even parents! Sure the Skylanders games are a bit of a money-sink and the gameplay isn’t totally original. But I still think this is one of the best kids’ game franchises out there today.  Plus I also like the message of turning bad guys into good guys in Trap Team.  The Skylanders series as a whole is certainly a bit better than its main competitor: Disney Infinity.  We’ll see how well it stacks up with Nintendo’s Amiibos when they come out in November!

Make sure to check out my other Skylanders review blowouts! Skylanders is a pretty big deal here at GamerDad!

Skylanders Swap Force

Skylanders Giants

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure

One Response to “Skylanders Trap Team Extravaganza!”

  1. I do like the idea of turning bad guys good, but I wish they did more with it to teach kids about redemption and forgiveness etc. The whole “well, you got me so I’ll be good now” thing is pretty surface level, but I guess it’s better than teaching kids it’s fun to be bad (though the box pictured in this review seems to be advertising based on that notion with “trap and play as villains” being the second option).

    Plus, as you mentioned, it does seem like these games+figures+whatever other accessories are huge money-sinks for parents, and I might be a bit turned off by the price of entry. But if the kids are having fun, I can’t fault them. The concept of putting your toys into a virtual world you manipulate sounds pretty awesome, even from the perspective of adults, or at least myself. And with posters, trading cards, stickers etc. it sounds like there’s at least a lot of bang for your buck.

    It’s too bad you say the gameplay is a bit generic though. I look forward to seeing what Nintendo does with Amiibo. I bet a lot of die-hard Nintendo fan adults will be buying those as well as kids. Maybe even more Nintendo-loving adults than kids, who knows.

    Neat review, Cary!

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