Review: Skylanders SuperChargers (Xbox One)
How the developers behind the Skylanders franchise haven’t run out of ideas is an impressive feat all by itself. What’s even more impressive is how their concepts integrate with older and future titles. Skylanders SuperChargers is no different. So, what’s new this time around? The new addition to the series are racing vehicles and they bring a whole new aspect of the game to life. The tried-and-tested formula still works yet it manages to provide the most diverse Skylanders experience in a while.
As always the Skylanders figurines are of the quality you’ve come to expect. Some of the newer characters are a lot more flashy and look to be quite delicate. Upon further investigation you’ll notice the different material used for the more intricate molding making those rather sturdy. The vehicles look and feel like they could break through a wall without obtaining a scratch and come in three types. Your primary vehicle, the ‘Hot Streak’, is a land type which is included in the Xbox and PlayStation starter bundles. The other vehicle types are air and sea that unlocks additional side missions throughout the game. With the further acquisition of just two vehicle add-ons, a huge chunk of the game can be unlocked. The Nintendo versions of SuperChargers is packaged with Bowser and Donkey Kong Skylander figurines that double up and become compatible with the regular amiibo standard.
Live to ride… ride to live
If you only play SuperChargers with the base set you have access to the land vehicle sections. These are tunnel-like fast paced tracks filled with boost pads, ramps and collectibles. There are also enemies and boss fights to contend with as your vehicle uses its arsenal. The only issue I found with these sections is that they felt very ‘on-rails’ at specific points in the game, but this is excusable given that this isn’t supposed to be an overly technical racer. To change up the pace there are arena battles which involve you collecting power-ups and solving different puzzles while avoiding enemies. The progression of difficulty is matched by the timeous upgrades that become available for you vehicle as you progress. You can alter your vehicles body, tires, engine and even the hooter to increase the stats of your ride. There is also a basic online multiplayer mode that might not give competitive racers a run but will provide good online fun with friends through a number of challenges.
Tell me a story
Another vast improvement to SuperChargers is the storyline. Generally the plot in Skylanders is loosely based around a new figurine, feature or add-on. It is no different in SuperChargers but this time around there is an initial feeling of despair as the shady yet lovable villian, Kaos, has actually managed to take over the Skylands and capture Master Eon. From the start you are on the back foot and tasked with rescuing primary characters and slowly reclaim the Skylands. The plot also adds to the gameplay mechanics themed around assorted enemies. In one level you navigate around platforms in a gravity-less environment to defeat Count Moneybone. In another the focus shifts to you teleporting into books that are narrated to you when the gameplay changes to a 2D platforming style. The size-changing puzzles were my favourite but there are many more unique little twists based on the differing level environments making this the most diverse Skylanders title to date.
Skylanders SuperChargers provides a good equilibrium between traditional 3D platforming, puzzle solving, toy-to-life unlockables and the new driving mechanic. All the old favourite minigames such as Skystones are back as expected adding to the already profuse value. Yes, every year parents are presented with a new variation of the starter pack they bought twelve months ago. Each time providing a new selling point with an abundance of new figures and utilities. On the surface this sounds like quite a cheek but when taking the content into consideration you realise just how vast the game truly is. SuperChargers is as charming as ever and easily one of the best games aimed towards children… and adults alike.