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Review: Skylanders: SuperChargers

It’s hard to imagine that the Skylanders franchise started as a spin-off to the popular Spyro franchise. The first Skylanders released in 2011 and was a huge success right from the start. Nowadays, Skylanders is one of the most important players in the toys to life market. The concept was strong from the start, but Activision constantly looked for innovation in new installments. SuperChargers is the first to bring vehicles to the franchise.

Time for adventure

It’s no surprise that the story of SuperChargers is very similar to the story of other Skylander games. Kaos, the bald bad-guy is at it again and trapped the fantasy world into another danger. It’s up to the mighty brave Skylanders to go on a new adventure, travel through several locations on several worlds, and stop Kaos once and for all. The way you venture to new worlds is new in SuperChargers and it’s actually a big improvement to the core gameplay.

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Older Skylander games were based on the figurines sold in stores. In order to unlock certain paths and levels, you needed to get a figurine first. Once you bought the figurine, you could advance in the main story. This is changed in SuperChargers. Levels aren’t locked behind figurines now but behind vehicles. The best thing about it is the fact you just need one boat, one plane and one car to see it all. The game comes with a car but by buying a plane and boat, you can really discover everything the game has to offer. So what about all the other toys?

Strong marketing

It must be a relief for all Skylander fans and parents that the content is no longer locked behind a single figurine. Don’t be mistaken however, Activision knows how to sell some figurines and SuperChargers is no exception. Of course, you can use every figurine in every vehicle but if you’re able to match the right character with the right vehicle, both will get supercharged. This results in stronger attacks or more health. Once you’re supercharged you get a lot of bonuses during your session, it’s no surprise most players will want to be supercharged all the time. That only possible if you buy the right packs.

 

Activision did it again!

 

Besides this, Activision still locked some important content behind several packs. Racing is a big deal in this new Skylanders game but in order to unlock the three extra modes ‘ boss pursuit, supervillain cup and morror cup’ you’ll need to get a starter pack containing a plane, car or boat. Some might say it’s unfair to lock such important content behind figurines and packs but that’s the strength of Skylanders. If you really want to experience it all, you’ll need to spend a little extra money. It’s not as bad as in previous Skylander games but you’ll still need to get some extra figurines nevertheless.

Great core gameplay

Now that we got that out of the way, it’s time to see what the game has to offer. First of all there’s the story you can complete and it’s as fun as ever. The main story is filled with platform sections combined with little mini-games and puzzles and of course the enemies. Defeating enemies is a lot of fun and Skylanders still is a very child friendly beat ‘em up, featuring some great boss fights! During your adventure you’ll need to play a lot of mini-games, most of those are needed to unlock new worlds, but not one mini-game is the same and all are fun. Also note that the popular card game Skystone is also back so we’re sure a lot of you will once again enjoy this feature.

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New are of course the segments with your vehicle; these really feel like a nice addition to the regular game. Important to know is that you’re only able to play the car segments as long as you don’t get some extra vehicles. Aside of this little let-down, it must be said that the vehicles offer the needed variation and only make the general story better and more fun to play. The missions are shorter but there are more missions than ever before. Thanks to the shorter missions, SuperChargers is the perfect game to play from time to time.

Skylanders Kart

The main story isn’t the only big mode in SuperChargers, since the game is based on vehicles; it makes a lot of sense that Activision included a racer in the game. You can use cars, planes and water vehicles in the races. At first sight it looks a lot like Mario Kart but Activision really did their own thing with it. Just like in Mario Kart, you’ll race on interactive and colourful tracks with a lot of things happen in the background. The biggest difference are the constant attacks and way the power-ups work.

Unlike Mario Kart, you can constantly attack your opponents with little attacks. This means you can push away your enemies with small bumps against them. It’s a fun little extra and it transforms the Skylander racer into a more action-packed racer. Aside of this, you also use the item you get instantly. You can’t keep it and save it to use at the ‘right’ time. The moment you drive over it, you use it, and this results in a very unpredictable and yet fun race experience.

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The best thing about it all is that you can go online and race against other Skylanders players. Going online works great and there’s no mentionable lag or long loading times to find matches. Of course it’s important to know that this might happen once the game gets a little older than it is today.

Small issues

Everything you’ve read until now is very positive and that’s not a coincidence. SuperChargers is a great new entry in the franchise but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any issues. The biggest issue is by far the strange saving system. As said before, the levels are smaller and easier to complete but the game doesn’t always save once you complete a level. It happens sometimes that the auto-save only activates after completing several levels. Without the option to save manually, you really need to keep a close eye on the save animation while playing. It would be a shame you lost progress just because you thought the game saved it for you.

Besides this there are some smaller issues like some dialogues you can’t skip and some invisible walls on the racing tracks. SuperChargers isn’t a bad game filled with bugs but it’s important to know that not everything is as perfect as it might seem.

Awesome new figurines 

This brings us to the last part of the review, the figurines. The vehicles all look very impressive and original. The creators really thought out of the box and came up with some very interesting vehicles. The Skylanders themselves are losing their creativity on the other hand. Don’t get us wrong, the new figurines look good and are produced with a lot of care but they aren’t as original and creative as the first waves of figurines. You can best compare this with Pokémon, the original Pokémon were great but the later waves often lacked creativity. It seems like the Skylanders are suffering the same fate.

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The best figurines in this wave are the Nintendo related Skylanders Donkey Kong and Bowser. Those look incredible and even better than the Amiibo figurines. The good news is that you can use the Nintendo Skylanders as Amiibo by turning on the switch at the base. The downside about it is the fact you can’t buy the Nintendo Skylanders separately. If you want to get all Nintendo Skylanders you need to get four starter packs, insane right?

Conclusion:

Skylanders SuperChargers is a great new entry in the impressive franchise. Activision did it again and managed to innovate the franchise even more. Vehicles are a great bonus for the main story but really shine in the new racing mode. Skylanders took the best of Mario Kart but came up with some innovations to create a different experience. It’s amazing to see that such a successful franchise can still come up with great ideas and actually make them work.

 

8.5/10

 

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.