Lets face it, the toys-to-life genre is big business, not only because the starter sets cost near-on £100 to purchase, but because the game’s DLC comes in a physical form that you can touch and play with, and the characters themselves are of a fairly high build quality so you’re not only getting an awesome collectable, you’re also getting something that’ll last. With Skylanders Superchargerd, Activision has thought about the play-side of things and has released a new type of toy with this release, a vehicle with actual moving parts. So if you have a car Supercharger, you’ll be able to play with it outside of the game if you so wish. But has this additional toy added more variety to the game, or is it a blatant cash grab?
I’m new to the whole Skylanders series. I was an early adopter of Disney Infinity and quickly found out that I had little in the way of creativity which meant that the figures I collected are now collecting things themselves, namely dust. So when the opportunity arose to review Skylanders Superchargers, I jumped at the chance.
Though being unfamiliar with the series left me a little apprehensive as to whether I’d once again be required to build my own adventures. What I did discover however was a whole world of adventure waiting for me as soon as I placed my new found friends on the portal. There’s no creativity needed here, the adventure awaits as soon as you start the game. I immediately knew I was in for a good time.
Skylanders Superchargers is an interesting game which blends vehicle racing with hack and slash action. The developers have some how squished together a number of popular genres into one game offering a ton of variety. Admittedly at times it does feel a little awkward as you go from the typical chase-cam racing to a more free-roam arena, switching the controls from trigger based acceleration to simply moving the thumb sticks in the direction you want to go, but once you’re used to that, you can enjoy the adventure.
As you probably expected, the game is aimed at a much younger generation. Controls are simplistic, violence in the game is fairly soft and at times humorous, and the sense of adventure clearly plays on the imagination of a younger player. Needless to say, the game is thoroughly enjoyable for adults too. There are some fairly puzzling challenges and if you’re looking for a more chilled out game to play then this game could certainly fill that role. There’s also the collectable side of things too where you can purchase more Skylanders for your game as well as more vehicles which match up to other Skylanders to create a Supercharged vehicle.
Now, the world of Skylands is in trouble, Kaos is up to no good again and it’s up to you to make your way through the world riding each land of his elf minions and underlings. This involves various levels of hack and slash gameplay as well as kart racing and shooting. This hybrid gameplay keeps the game nice and fresh, perfect for those with short attention spans. However, there’s one thing I quickly noticed. The game has a habit of reminding you that you should spend some cash on another figure or vehicle.
Throughout the game you’ll come across inhabitants of the world who are in trouble, offering you a sort of side-mission to complete. The only thing is, if you own just the starter pack, you won’t have an Air or Sea vehicle, all you’ll have is a land vehicle. As someone who didn’t expect this, there was a brief moment where I thought I needed to purchase a vehicle in order continue the story, fortunately after a moment or two of exploring, I found out that this was more of a side mission and not a part of the main story.
Now, for those with just the starter pack, you can play the entire game with just the two Skylanders and the vehicle toy, but there are constant reminders that you’re missing out on something by not having an air or sea vehicle. These little reminders aren’t just limited to vehicles as throughout the entire game you’re told which Skylanders are stronger in this area depending on their type, whether it’s fire, tech, or air. Annoyingly I’m yet to actually see a difference between different types during my progress through the game, which is a little disappointing.
Of course, from researching Skylanders I realise this isn’t a new concept, and in some respects is actually easier on the wallet than in past games where players needed to have certain Skylander types in order to progress through certain side-missions. This time all you’d need to do is fork out for two vehicles, and thus, you open up a world of additional content.
As for the gameplay itself, it’s hardly challenging as I touched on before. It’s a casual affair even on the hardest difficulty, even with various skill upgrades and weapon customisation, it’s as simple as just selecting one and being done with it. If anything it’s once again a nice introduction for younger people to the world of gaming. The only real difficult part is the game’s fixed camera, which can often make for some awkward accidents. It’s an odd choice considering how depth perception is pretty key on certain parts of the game as you hop from platform to platform.
Where Skylanders SuperChargers really shines is the physical toys. Though I’m unfamiliar with past toys, these are some of the best looking I’ve seen in this genre, and though Disney Infinity and Mario rely on familiar faces, Skylanders can run wild and be almost anything, and the outcome is at times pretty gorgeous.
With about 12 hours of gameplay out of the box and no doubt more if you purchase additional vehicles, the game has a lot to offer. What’s more, if you’re done with the main story, you can hop into a brand new mode, the Racing Mode, which as you might have expected, is a kart-racing game. Though again, you’ll be limited to just a few races until you purchase additional vehicles as the Air and Sea tracks are locked.
Despite the game always reminding you that you’re missing out on something, Skylanders SuperChargers is a really enjoyable game regardless whether you’ve played Skylanders before or not. The figures are going to be a fantastic addition to our shelf, and we already have our eyes on a number of new figures and their vehicles to purchase a little later on.
This review is based on the Xbox One copy of Skylanders SuperChargers provided by Activision.