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Gabe / on Mon, Oct 13 2014 at 11:02 am

Skylanders: Trap All My Money

I picked up the new Skylanders: Trap Team last week because I have kids and so I can say I’m getting it for them. We played a bit of the last one Swap Force but it didn’t really stick. I have to say so far at least Trap Team is a lot more fun. The main hook this time is that you can capture monsters from the game inside these little traps. The act of capturing a monster is really well executed. The new portal has a slot for the trap and a built in speaker. When you capture one of the guys the sound from the television fades out as the sound from the portal comes in. Then a little light in the portal starts flashing along with the chatter from your newly captured monster. It’s super well done and I tried to grab a video of it here with my son Noah.

For me I just appreciate how clever it is but I’m pretty sure Noah thinks there are little monsters in these traps now. Each monster has an elemental type just like Skylanders and so you need a trap of that type to capture them. The box that the game comes in doubles as a sort of “pokedex” with a label for each collectable monster as well as a slot to fit in a trap. You can sort of see in in the video above. Once you’ve captured these monsters you can “tag” them in and play as them for a limited amount of time. Like any Skylanders game there is also gated content that will require you to have captured a particular enemy. Speaking of gated content you’ll need to collect special Trapmaster Skylanders this time to break open special elemental zones and hidden areas.

When I first looked at the display board I started to do some quick math. The traps sell in a pack of three for about fifteen bucks and I was imagining having to buy a trap for each of the monsters in the game. I quickly determined that was fucking crazy. Thankfully you can use one trap to capture multiple monsters though. If a trap already has a monster in it and you grab a new one, the previous inhabitant is kicked out to your “vault”. So technically you really only need one trap for each elemental type and then a special trap to grab Chaos at the end I guess. This is not completely bat shit insane but their little display board definitely wants you to get a trap for each monster. I imagine there is a person out there whose personal need to complete things will require them to fill out that display with dozens of traps. I have to admit there is a part of me that respects the hell out of that person.

My other son Gabe and I have been having a great time with it. We streamed about an hour of us playing on Friday and you can watch the entire thing here on my Twitch channel. I’m in there answering questions about the game a bit but mostly it’s just us playing a couple levels and capturing some monsters until I finally make him go to bed. There is a special Gamer-Dad dilemma in making your co-op partner go to bed because it’s way past his bedtime and he has a soccer game in the morning.

It’s hard not to compare Skylanders to Disney Infinity. I have to say I like that Disney Infinity offers split screen play. This allows me to actually play the game while my easily distracted four year old just wanders around the levels. In his mind we are playing together and we sort of are but we’re both getting what want out of it. In Skylanders you are tethered to your partner so I spend a lot of time saying “please come up here Noah.” or “You need to move towards Daddy”. It’s obviously not a big deal with the ten year old but I appreciate that Infinity works the other way. In general I think Skylanders is fun and they’ve done a lot to make the fighting more interesting but the progression and combat don’t compare to the new Marvel Infinity characters.

With that said I think I prefer the custom linear narrative in Skylanders to the open world mission grabbing gameplay in Disney Infinity. The levels in Trap Team are beautiful and the storyline is fun and full of jokes that hit for kids and grownups. If you’re looking to play with much younger kids I’d say go with Disney Infinity. If you’re kids are a bit older I think you can have a ton of fun with Skylanders. The reality is they are both really good which just sucks for parent’s wallets. As if that wasn’t bad enough the Nintendo Amiibo figures are available for pre-order now. I sent Kara an email with a link to the figures on Amazon and she just responded with:

“Ah crap!  There goes all of our money. “

-Gabe out


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