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Skylanders Swap Force Creates New Play Potential

Andy Robertson is a freelance journalists who runs Family Gamer TV and his Family Gaming website.

Skylanders Giants was a great follow-up to Spyro’s Adventure. It managed to broaden the appeal and bring the game to a wider audience. It wasn’t just families who enjoyed the combination of collecting toy figures and co-operative play but many core gamers as well.

Skylanders Swap Force aims to do the same again by introducing new toys that can be split at the waist and mixed and matched with each other to create new character combinations. This lets players invent their own characters to play with on the living room floor and in the game.

I spoke to Guha Bala, Studio Head at Vicarious Visions, and asked him to introduce us to the new Skylanders, the story and new features. Is it really worth upgrading to the new game this year?

The big draw here is the new Swap Force figures. Each has a double-barreled name (like all well-to-do toys) so when you match them up the result has a specific name. Initially we will see the following three characters:

  • Magna Charge: Tech Character that can pick up destructible objects (like the Giants) and enemies as well as use a Gatling Gun and a speed wheel.
  • Wash Buckler: Water Octopus Pirate with a Cutlass and Bubble-gun to encase enemies. Tentacle attacks on the base.
  • Blast Zone: Fire Character with rocket boots to move and attack as well as other fire missile attacks.

These three create the following Swap Force combinations: Magna Charge, Magna Buckler, Magna Zone, Wash Charge, Wash Buckler, Wash Zone, Blast Charge,
Blast Zone, and Blast Buckler.

There will be 16 Swap Force characters, 8 new Lightcore, 16 Series 3 returning characters from Giants and Spyro’s Adventure, and 16 new core Skylanders. Quite a haul! The downside here is that this year you can’t reuse your old Portal. You will need to buy a Swap Force Starter Pack. This may put some off (as older Skylanders games let you save money by reusing your Portal).

At the launch event in New York I took the chance to record the first public airing gameplay and figures. You can watch the first 12 minutes of Swap Force gameplay in the following video:

It is already looking pretty sharp and they still have a few months of development left to go. The game hasn’t been dated or priced yet but is anticipated to be available towards the end of the year.

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Andy Robertson is a freelance gaming expert for the BBC and runs Family Gamer TV.

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