The lights are on
Come October 5, don’t be surprised if you hear children and adults alike talking excitedly about a tyrannosaurs rex soaring through the sky in a gyrocopter. These people are not crazy; they’re talking about Chopper, one of the new faces featured in Skylanders: Trap Team, the fourth installment in Activision’s action figure-based series.
Activision and developer Toys for Bob both agree that Chopper has the potential to be a fan-favorite character, but he isn’t the star of Trap Team, not by a long shot. That honor doesn’t go to Trigger Happy, Spyro, Stealth Elf, or any of the new or returning Skylander character, either. It belongs to Lord Kaos and his army of escaped prisoners. Despite being aligned with the axis of evil, Kaos has gotten the most screen time in the Skylanders games, and is essentially the face of this series. While still serving the role of the villain in Trap Team, he’s also a playable character -- one of more than 40 playable nemesis characters.
These feared warriors are not immortalized in plastic and for sale on store shelves like the Skylanders are. To play as a villain, you’ll have do something that sounds impossible. After defeating them in a boss battle, you’ll have to teleport them from your game and into your living room. Toys for Bob’s innovative twist this time is to bring characters to life outside of the TV.
Is it possible? Not really, but the idea is simulated fairly well through a new gimmick tied to the Portal. When a villain surrenders to a Skylander, the player is asked to insert a plastic crystal (known as a trap) into a rock structure attached to the Portal. Once this action is completed, a vortex appears in the game, hovering dangerously over the fallen enemy. After much kicking and screaming on the villain’s behalf, the vortex’s strong swirl eventually wins the battle, and the foe is sucked up into it. His voice transitions to the television speakers to a hidden one in the Portal. That character is now trapped in the crystal. He’ll often let you know he’s there by communicating through the speaker to the player and commenting on things he sees happening in the game.
That villain can then be used at any time. Players don't have to remove a Skylander from the Portal. All they have to do is tap one button to instantly switch control to the bad guy. He enters the arena with a lightning crash, similar to the effect Thor uses to travel in the Marvel Comics movies. The villain has his own set of moves (most based on attacks unleashed in the boss battle), and is in every way a full-fledged playable character, just like any Skylander.
The villains are just one exciting new wrinkle in Trap Team. Below is a list of all of the additions, changes, and small noteworthy things we saw during our demo of the Xbox One version of the game.
You'll Need Another PortalThe Portal's that came packaged with Spyro's Adventure, Giants, and Swap Force will not work with Trap Team. You can retire your old ones to the closet where you keep your Rock Band and Guitar Hero peripherals. The new version, called the Traptanium Portal, features a transparent base (designed to look like a cracked crystal), and a stone prison that holds interchangeable crystals. The crystals light up when the villain talks. The light is timed to simulate lip syncing. The villain's voice is projected through a speaker housed in the prison.
All Figures Still WorkYour war chest of Skylanders action figures can still be used. All of the previously released action figures for all three Skylanders games are compatible with Trap Team.
CrystalsIf you want to play as all of the villains in the game, you'll need to insert the crystal that represents the villain's elemental type. Yes, this means you'll need to have at least eight crystals – two of which come packaged with the game. Activision has no plans to sell the other crystals in blind packs. The crystals will be sold separately, and Activision is also looking into other ways to get them into players' hands.
VillainsWill you need over 40 crystals to contain the 40-plus villain characters? No. Any villain that is captured can either be sucked up into the crystal for immediate play or retired to the prison located in the hub world. The player can visit this location to switch out villains.
Trap MastersNo Skylanders game is complete without a new Skylander type for players to collect and play as. The Trap Masters fill this role. They stand in slightly taller than Swap Force figures, and all wield giant Traptanium weapons. Most of these weapons are comically sized. Snap Shot (pictured above) appears to be wielding a sword and a bow. That sword is actually an arrow. Trap Masters are the only Skylander type that can unearth hidden Traptanium shards, and enter Traptanium zones that could house hidden villains. It is unknown if specific elemental types are needed.
No Level Cap IncreaseToys for Bob debated upping the level cap again, but feared another bump would throw off the balance of the game. The cap once again is 20.
No Zones for Giants or Swap ForceThese figures will come into play in some capacity, but Toys for Bob doesn't want to litter the levels with zones that require specific characters. Most of the zones players come across will be dedicated to the Trap Masters.
Jump AttacksThe jump maneuver that was implemented into Swap Force returns and has been upgraded to include a smash attack maneuver. All of the existing Skylanders now have this ability.
What Comes with the GameThe retail box comes with the new Traptanium Portal, two crystal traps, Trap Master Snap Shot, and Food Fight (a new standard assortment Skylander). The price of this set is unknown.
When Does It Release?October 5 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and 3DS
The Second GameThe 3DS version will once again be quite different than the console offerings. Beenox is working closely with Toys for Bob on this version.
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