Skylanders Trap Team is the fourth iteration in this popular franchise and it is still as fun to play today as it was when it was originally introduced a few years ago. Trap Team retains the same core premise of the earlier titles allowing you to switch Skylanders figures at will and having them “come to life” as soon as you place them on the Traptanium portal. The hook for this year’s version of Skylanders is that you can now trap villains and essentially turn them into good guys. I should quickly say that this only works for your mini boses and/or the stage bosses that you will encounter. You can’t go up to one of Kaos’s evil minions and expect to trap them. Each trap can hold up to two characters at a time with only one of them able to be active. The Traptanium portal has a bit of a updated look this year due to the inclusion of the slot where you can insert your traps. Once you trap a villain you will be able to hear their thoughts through the loud speaker on the portal itself. It is a great idea and there were more than a few times where I would chuckle over a seemingly random comment that would come out of that speaker. There are a couple of issues that I have with Skylanders Trap Team but nothing really major and it is overall a great game to play.
Skylands is once again in trouble and it is up to the Skylanders and their friends to save the day. The problem is that Kaos is only one of your problems this time. In addition to him you will also have to deal with the Doom Raiders. The Doom Raiders are essentially a gang of criminals that were captured and sealed away so they couldn’t wreak any more havoc. Kaos had the brilliant idea that if he released them then they would be so grateful that they would work him in his perpetual quest to rule Skylands. This group ranges from a golden queen, to an undead wolf, a fiery chef and more. As you progress through the game you will meet characters in battle and, if you have the appropriate trap, you can trap them after you are victorious and use them for good instead of evil. There is even a special Kaos trap where you can trap Kaos himself, however, that can be hard to find unless you picked up the Skylanders Trap Team Dark Edition.
Skylanders Trap Team features 18 chapters in its campaign which should take you a little while to go through. The overall story is the same where Skylands is in trouble and it is your job as the portal master to save everyone. The story is obviously more detailed than that but I don’t want to spoil anything. This is a story that I really enjoyed due to the cast of characters. Kaos has become one of my favorite gaming villains over the past few years with his over the top flare for the dramatic whether he is concocting a supremely evil plan to take over Skylands or simply talking to his butler, Glumshanks. All of the familiar faces are here with characters like Flynn and Cali as well as some new characters making their debut like Buzz who is the head of security and secret ninja commando operations for Skylanders Academy.
The starter pack for Skylanders Trap Team comes with the new Traptanium portal, one Trap Skylander, one normal Skylander and two traps. If you want to do every single thing in the game you are going to need to purchase extra Skylanders and traps, however, you can go through the entire campaign with simply what is given to you in this starter pack. If you choose to do that though keep in mind that there will be areas of the game that you will nto be able to access. This is the give and pull mechanic that we have always had to deal with whenever a new Skylanders game comes out. For the purposes of this review I went through the whole game only using what was given to me in this starter kit and I was able to finish the story, fight in the battle arenas and much more. There is that level of frustration though when I come across an elemental gate and I can’t get past it because I don’t have the proper type of Skylander. Trap Team makes this even worse by requiring that you have a Trap master to open up these elemental gates, a normal Skylander figure can’t do anything for you here. That is one thing I really didn’t like. The Trap masters are also, of course, the more expensive figures when you go into your favorite store to buy them. In previous games, such as Skylanders Giants, there would be doors that only the “Giant” Skylanders could open but then there was also a plethora of gates around that normal Skylanders could also get through and that seems to be missing in Trap Team.
In addition to going through the main story there is a number of different things you can do. You can choose to re-play levels that you have already visited to try and get a better score or find items that you missed the first time. There is a rumble club that opens up a bit later into the game where you will visit different “arenas” and go through multiple stages fighting off enemies. It is similar to the arena modes found in previous iterations of Skylanders. Then there is the Kaos Doom Challenge mode which is brand new this year. The Kaos Doom Challenge Mode is similar to a horde mode but not quite. Your fist taste of the mode comes when you have to fight through three waves of enemies as Kaos mocks your efforts to stop him. Then you can go up to fight waves four through ten and, eventually, you will get to the end where you can try and fight through waves 81-100. I had a lot of fun on this mode wiping out enemies in the different locations plus hearing Kaos either taunting me or hearing him yell at his minions because they are failing at trying to stop me. It is a fun new mode that will tell you what the suggested Skylander level is for any one area so that there are no big surprises and you don’t get in over your head.
Gameplay wise Skylanders Trap Team plays just like the previous versions. When you have a trap inserted into the Traptanium portal you can “tag” in your foe turned friend for a limited time. There are certain things that you will need your partner for, such as opening up villain safes and completing redemption quests so be sure to keep your eyes open so you don’t miss anything. For Trap Team my favorite Skylander turned out to be “Snap Shot”. He is a long range fighter and, after upgrading his weapons, can cause some serious damage by having his arrows splintering off attacking multiple enemies at once, while also exploding. As Flynn would say, “BOOM!”. You can equip different hats and different accessories to raise your stats as your armor, critical hits and more. There are different stats for you to consider but I mainly focused on the armor and critical hit stat so I could lay waste to any enemies who challenged me. If you aren’t sure about what you have and have not done you can always choose the “wanted posters” for a quick glance. This is where you find out what enemies you have defeated and whether or not you have completed each enemy’s respective quest.
Skylanders Trap Team features local co-op play, however, it still doesn’t have any type of online functionality. That continues to be the one thing I always ask for every year. As cool as it is to play with friends and/or family on the couch, I want to be able to through this story with my friend who lives on the other side of the country. Perhaps the logistics with the portals make it difficult to accomplish but I would love to see an online feature implemented at some point.
Skylanders Trap Team is the fourth iteration of the Skylanders franchise and it is still a tremendous amount of fun to play. This is one of those series where I really enjoy playing every year and seeing what kind of amazingly evil plans Kaos has dreamed up to try and one up the Skylanders. There were some great ideas put in to play towards the end of the game here that I really loved but I won’t ruin the surprise for you. This is one of those franchises that is genuinely fun to play. It is light-hearted, funny and tends to be a breath of fresh air amidst many other titles that can take themselves too seriously. If you haven’t played a Skylanders game before be sure to check this one out as you are in for a real treat. If you are a Skylanders veteran then you definitely need to pick this up to see what Kaos and the Doom Raiders are up to this time. Skylanders figures from the previous games also work in Trap Team so you should have a decent number of Skylanders to choose from by now. Despite a couple of the problems that I outlined above, Skylanders is a franchise I look forward to playing every year and I am curious to see what the development team over at Toys for Bob comes up with next.
Originally posted on Gaming Target