Latest addition to Skylanders is set to change the face of gaming for families.
There’s an entire generation of young gamers who’ve grown up with the sort of touch-based gaming afforded them by tablets and smartphones. What very nearly none of those games have managed to do though, is provide an experience that’s on par with the sort of games they’d be able to play on consoles or computers.
That changes with Skylanders Trap Team. A new starter pack for mobile devices will be launched alongside console versions of the game, providing a Bluetooth portal that will enable the full set of Skylanders – old and new – to be brought to life on tablets. Utilising what we can only assume to be magic, the portal not only connects to the tablet wirelessly, but also houses a slot to support the tablet. Furthermore, the starter pack comes with its own bespoke controller that, like the portal, connects with the game seamlessly – without user agency or interaction.
Beyond this technical innovation, this new this new Skylanders relies on much the same magic as the previous ones. In the game’s fiction, the physical Skylanders toys aren't just hunks of inanimate plastic; they are characters, frozen, that spring to life within the game when placed upon the portal of power. This year’s version aims to do the opposite; take a character from a game and trap it within a crystal in the real world.
As with the other Skylanders Trap starter packs, the tablet version also comes with two Skylanders characters, two Traptaninum Traps; and a display tray to keep track of the traps they’ve collected and which of the villains they’ve captured.
It’s not a half-baked implementation. Impressively, the tablet version will match the console version in features and levels – and even visuals. Every one of the 175 existing Skylanders will be compatible, along with the 50 or so new Skylanders and 40 new villains coming to the game. While there have been mobile versions of Skylanders games in the past, they’ve been poor approximations. This is the first time we’ll see the full game playable on tablets.
"From what we can tell, no one has dropped a triple-A game on tablet day and date with consoles," said Karthik Bala, chief creative officer at developer Vicarious Visions. "It's one thing to take an older game and bring it over, but to be able to ship it to all of those consoles at the same time takes a lot of planning."
It’s the full game, an uncompromised experience. It’s one that children, and parents, may prefer over the traditional console game. For one, it frees up the TV for important things like the rugby or 7de Laan without squabbles over who gets to use it.
And if, for whatever reason, the controller can’t be lugged about, the game can be played as a touch-based game on the tablet alone. Can’t bring any of the figurines? No problem; you can play as one of two digital characters without need for the portal.
Since its inception in 2011, Skylanders has gone on to become one of the most prolific names in gaming. It’s second only to Call of Duty, and has sold-through over 175 million toys, generating over $2 billion in lifetime sales.
People, it seems, still have the capacity to believe in magic. Skylanders Trap Team is coming to consoles and tablets in October this year. Here's a sneak peek, via Official Skylanders Trap Team/YouTube: