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Game Guys review - Skylanders: Swap Force

10:04 PM, Oct 31, 2013   |    comments
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  • 'Skylanders Swap Force' from Activision.
  • 'Skylanders Swap Force' from Activision.

Activision's Skylanders series is now in its third iteration with the release of Skylanders: Swap Force not too long ago.  Will a few new mechanics and a new storyline be enough to carry the franchise through or does it start to show a hint of staleness?

Simultaniously filling the hearts of children while emptying parent's wallets, Activision's rather lucrative Skylanders series combines physical toys with video games.  The magic that gets the figurines into the game is the "Portal of Power", which comes packaged with any Skylanders starter pack.  The pack, as usual, comes with three toys.  Additional figurines can then be purchased.

As far as the new figurines are concerned, Skylanders Swap Force introduces new characters and figurines that allow players to literally swap the top and bottom half of a number of the new toys to create more than 250 unique combinations.  The ability to swap halves of the special new Skylander figurines to create new hybrid playable on-screen characters is rather nifty.  Players can also use Skylanders figurines from the previous two games, which helps ease the strain on the pocketbook.  Of course, to access everything in the game players (and/or parents) should probably plan on dropping a few Alexander Hamiltons here and there on new figurines.

New toys isn't all that's fresh with Swap Force, of course, as the game also features new abilities including flying, climbing, and teleporting.  They all have their own special areas of Skylands where they can be utilized.  The new abilities prove to be a good way for Activision to show evolution within the series and prove that it's sometimes the little things that count in games like this.  That stated, things do drag a bit as the game goes on and players will likely find themselves playing it less and less over time. and some of the controls - especially with some of the side activities - don't work out as well as they probably should.

Visually, primary developer Vicarious Visions did a very good job conveying the cartooniness of the Skylands.  The entire land is treated with a fun color palate and character design is equally as smile-worthy.  The game was obviously made with care and there are few - if any - visible problems to be had with it.

While not as brand-heavy as Disney Interactive's Disney Infinity - a game which is very much Skylanders' doppelganger - Skylanders: Swap Force carries plenty of appeal for younger gamers.  Those who enjoyed the first two titles in the series should appreciate where the franchise is going with Swap Force.  All-in-all, it's a good game for its intended audience and there should be plenty more of them in the coming years.

20/25 20/25 15/25 21/25 23/25 84/100

Version tested: Xbox 360 (also available on PS3, Wii U, 3DS, and PC)

(Activision supplied a copy of this game for review.)

See how what our review scores mean and how the math adds up.


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