It may be colourful and cartoon-y, but Skylanders Swap Force has something to offer to a mature audience as well, which happens to be a category I fall into.
Skylanders Swap Force offers a better experience than previous titles in the series. My memories of Skylanders Giants left me feeling that there was some things lacking, and these additions made it to Swap Force, making the game more enjoyable. During my time with Swap force, I found it easier to get wrapped up in the story rather tripped up by the problem mechanics of the previous game. One of the additions is a jump button, which yields many new gameplay possibilities, and, well… jumping just feels natural to a player. What’s this? A fancy hat? Jump for it! While a jump button is not a new initiation in the world of gaming, adding this basic feature is certainly pushing the Skylanders franchise forward and appropriately into the next generation. I spent much time jumping all over the place like an energy drink fueled monkey, searching out collectibles and new areas. There is no shortage of collectibles and I foresee many wasted nights ahead of me to make sure I collect the snazziest hats in all of Skylands.
Overloaded with colour and childlike wonder (giant fishes in floating bubbles of water) Swap Force, is one of those titles parents can enjoy playing with their children or even other adults. I found the story to be simple yet captivating. After saving an Elder and ensuring a safe return, I didn’t want to put the controller down. I felt heroic and unstoppable! The ability to upgrade powers, collect stat boosting apparel and solving puzzles will be nothing new to experienced players, but sharing that experience with another makes for a higher level of enjoyment. Playing multiplayer for me was all about the cooperative puzzle solving and the amusement of both parties. Everyone enjoys a ridiculous hat, no matter their age, and this turned into a self-made mini-game of who could find the most ridiculous hat of all. Because of the large selection of figures available to the Skylanders players, Swap Force makes for a great long haul title, especially for youngsters. Every time you buy a new class/element of Skylander, it opens whole new bonus areas. Although the bonus areas are small, the time playing through levels to reach them will definitely soak up free time. Got to find those hats. I scoured areas searching out hidden bonus areas only to realize I didn’t have the appropriate Skylander to open it.
While it lacks a creative forum, Swap Force is a comparable competitor for Disney Infinity. Both titles are engaging, colourful and filled with quirky, loveable characters. Skylanders offers a lengthy story and straightforward platforming experience, while DI offers smaller stories with a variety of gameplay styles. Both will take up a fair amount of physical space, my TV stand is lined with abundance of figures from both titles. I’m starting to think I may have an addiction to these little, plastic gameplay harbingers.
It is difficult to find negative things to say about my time playing Swap Force. The inability to skip all the chattery text bubbles was the only annoyance that stood out; I get it, save the Elders, blah blah blah, let me get on with it already! The one thing I was left craving afterwards was the addition of more Skylander figures to my collection, a very familiar feeling after playing DI.
If you’re a player with a light heart and an appreciation for their inner child, try out Skylanders Swap Force. It’s not your average heavy, dark, serious videogame but a great call back to the days you spent platforming from your youth. What better testament than two grown adults standing in Toys’R’Us deciding which Skylanders figures to purchase for themselves. And oh yeah, did you see my magnificent hat?