Review: Skylanders: Trap Team (Mobile)
The “mobile revolution” has come and hasn’t quite yet had the impact that analysts have predicted. After all, do we really want to see another Bejeweled/Candy Crush clone? Is another Angry Birds title really evolving the mobile gaming platform? Sure these titles have their place, there is not a single moment of doubt, but with the current trend of micro transactions and repetitive “addiction” titles most game enthusiasts are quickly giving up on the platform.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a mobile version of Skylanders: Trap Team makes its way onto iOS, Android and Fire OS and takes us all by surprise. It’s a AAA experience title that hits the ball out of the park and comes back for a standing ovation again and again. It has the look and feel of a PS3 or Xbox 360 game and one quickly forgets that a tablet is even involved.
So, what do you get in the starter pack bundle? Two new Skylanders figures, a Portal specifically designed for the tablet experience, two traps, five AAA batteries and a controller. This bundle is compatible with the iPad (3rd & 4th generation), iPad Air, iPad Mini with Retina Display and requires iOS 7 or higher. For the Android users, the Galaxy Note 10.1, Note Pro 12.2, Tab Pro8.4, 10.1, 12.2, Tab S: 8.4 or 10.5, Nexus 7 and Nvidia Shield are all compatible. The Portal has a unique slot to hold your tablet device and the controller is small yet comfortable. Overall this hardware is solid and perfect for the on-the-go gaming for which it is intended. For those with limited internet access be warned; you’ll need a wireless connection to your tablet as well as 3 spare gigs of data for the free download of the game software itself. Also worth noting is that every time you place a new Skylander on the Portal you’ll need a wi-fi connection to download the characters data; best this gets done before a long trip.
As with every new installment to the series, Skylanders: Trap Team has a new twist on a familiar formula. This time around the new Portal allows for Traps. These crystal-like items are used in the game to trap enemies you beat along the way. Once trapped you can access these enemies through the portal and use them to battle by your side. What has always amazed me with the franchise is the creativity behind all the new characters as well as the unique emotion and humour each one exerts. This is overly apparent when trapping bad guys and witnessing the transformation from evil to good.
The gameplay is similar to that of Skylanders: Swap Force and is even compatible with the different Skylander combinations as well as all the older generation Skylanders. The level design is basic enough to play through with relative ease yet vast enough to provide a decent challenge for those wanting to perfect an area. The popular platforming sections are back and are used well in the various boss fights along the way. In addition to the main game there is the Arena and Kaos’ Ultimate Challenge to keep players busy for a substantial amount of time. These extra modes are worth all the while, add tons of enjoyment as well as longevity to the game.
When you consider the hardware that Skylanders: Trap Team runs on one can’t help but be impressed. Just when tablet style gaming got more stale than a hipster with broad brimmed glasses, Trap Team blows the genre out of the water. In years we’ll be looking back thinking about the influence this title, along with its hardware, had on the mobile gaming industry.