Skylanders: Trap Team Review

Lee Abrahams

Skylanders is basically Call of Duty for kids in that, no matter what the game includes, it’ll sell a ton of copies and leave parents wondering where all of their money went come Christmas. In fact, the bodycount in Skylanders is probably way higher than in Call of Duty, as the violence against chompers and their ilk is truly off the charts. But hey, if it means our collection of sweet figurines can continue to grow, then I’m all for it.

As someone that has been Skylanding (is that a word? It is now) on the Xbox 360, it is nice to see that my figures stats and abilities carry over to the Xbox One version of Skylanders: Trap Team. I’m sure that was obvious for everyone else, but it came as a huge relief to me. Mainly because the new Starter Pack only contains two figures and a couple of traps – so it can be tough going for newbies. Still with a small army of older figures at my command I was ready to go on another romp through the Skylands.

Kaos doing his thing: being villainous.

The game is essentially laid out in the same way as its forebears, both in terms of plot and gameplay. Kaos has sprung a load of nefarious villains from prison (I had Thin Lizzy’s song, 'Jailbreak', rattling around my head every time it was mentioned) and they're scheming to take over the world as ever. Kaos is his usual spluttering self as he tries to prove his worth to the new evildoers while simultaneously trying to undermine and usurp them. So it's down to the Skylanders to round up the escapees and restore order.

To be honest the story is the usual fluff, with Kaos and his goons bumbling around while the Skylanders do heroic stuff in the foreground. What saves it is the pretty great voice work, yet again, that helps to flesh out all of the characters and make them fun to be around. Plus, the sight gags and humorous asides are perfect for the target audience rather than grumpy old adults like me (who am I kidding? I laughed along – I regret nothing).

So with the plot being little more than “save Skylands again” what is actually fresh in the game? Well the obvious addition comes in the form of traps. As you progress through the game you will stumble across specific enemies that you can snag by putting the relevant trap into your portal (one trap for each type: magic, life, tech etc). If you find an enemy, and have the right trap, you can grab them after beating them up and then use them yourself. You have a shiny new portal of power this time that lights up AND talks to you as well, so each time you grab an enemy there is a clever transition as they seemingly fly from the screen into your portal. They’ll then proceed to grumble and chat along from the portal as you play, which is a superb touch.

Old friends beating up old enemies.

Each trapped foe also has their own little quest hidden in the game somewhere, and you can quickly switch between them at the touch of a button. It helps to flesh out your roster while also giving you a reason to find and defeat certain foes. Plus, you can evolve your motley crew of reprobates as the game progresses and switch between them at will back at your base of operations. Obviously if you want to catch them all then you’ll need way more than the two traps you get with the set and here is where the usual gripes come in.

Yet again you will be expected to dig deep to see everything the game has to offer. To trap every enemy will require a plethora of different traps, but most disappointing is that locked portals in this game can only be opened by a trap master of that class. So you’ll need to buy a Life Trap Master figure to get into any Life portals, as your pre-existing Life styled figures won’t cut it. It’s a shame as it locks out a bunch of content for people that should meet those requirements already if they've been dedicated enough to follow the past games.

Taking care of business - mech style.

While the gameplay is the usual fun mix of puzzles, combat and set-pieces it still feels almost identical to the older games and, traps aside, there isn’t much new here to really pull you in and make it a different experience. Skylanders: Trap Team is still fun to play, and you can jump into arena battles or the Kaos mode with its riff on a very basic tower defence system, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary. The only reason you’ll really have to go back into levels is if you want to grab all of the stars and items, or tidy up the achievements for doing so.

Skylanders: Trap Team is still good value for money, as even with the usual locked away content there are still a large range of levels and bosses to wade through and hours of content even with the basic Starter Pack. So fans will find plenty to keep them happy. It’s just a shame that there's very little in the way of truly new ideas other than the trap mechanic, and yet again you're being asked to splash out on a new range of suspiciously similar characters to see it all. On the plus side though, Trap Team should make for a number of predictable Christmas lists so Santa and his elves can get cracking on churning these out.


The musical score is a tad bland but the voicework is pretty funny and on point as ever, though it would be nice to be able to skip some of the segments when you want to.

A lovely, vivid world full of hidden nooks and crannies to explore. Some of the animations are choppy outside of the better cut-scenes but it’s a minor gripe.

Easy to pick up and play, and the trap mechanic adds a touch of fun to beating up foes. Obviously you’ll need to splash out to see it all which is a pain but there is still a sizable chunk of game to enjoy from the get go.

The few new ideas here add a touch of fun, but to be honest you’ve seen most of this game before. Still a great title for the kids but older players may find it covers too much familiar ground.

A better list than last time, primarily because you don’t need to complete the game four times over. I also like the fact that nearly every level has a fun little sub-objective to keep you interested. You then have to grind through Kaos mode and the arenas but they help to mix things up. Good work.

Skylanders: Trap Team is still a fun game, it’s bright and breezy and easy to get the kids into. But so much is locked away and what is left is pretty familiar to be honest. The few new ideas are welcome but not enough to differentiate it from its predecessors.

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