Ah October, the time where things get a little spookier, including my bank account after the latest Skylanders game releases. It’s been 5 years since the Spyro spin-off first came out and I scoffed at how stupid it is, that’ll never catch on. Boy was I wrong. This is the 11th game I have played, so I was a little burnt out on ‘Saving Skylands’, but to my surprise this was the most refreshing entry to the series since it’s inception, and this is after the series was redesigned to be a racing game.
As soon as I started the game, the game started with a new direction. Sure, Kaos is still a brat trying to rule the world or whatever, but this is the first game to not start off with Callie, Hugo or Flynn. Instead, and probably due to the new Netflix series being released at the end of the month, Spyro & Stealth Elf replace those roles & the humour is a lot more in tone with the new series too. If you miss Patrick Warburton’s voice, don’t worry they are still part of the game, but the advisor roles have switched to the fan favourite Skylanders like Eruptor, Jet-Vac & Pop-Fizz.
The main new addition to the game is the Imaginators; these are Skylanders you can create yourself (of course you do need to purchase Creation Crystals of various elements, $10.95RRP). This system is surprisingly deep. Throughout the whole game you are collecting Imaginte Chests, which gives you new parts, voices, styles, weapons to build your own Skylander. At any time in the game you can open these chests and customise your creation mid-level.
While you don’t have complete freedom in creation, as you are selecting pre-defined parts, you can change their voice, pitch, style, sound effects, catchphrase and so much more. For example, I made a robotic Light Sorceress, with a female angelic voice style. Videogame sound effects play during jumping and attacking, and her catchphrase is “You can’t handle my sarcasm”. Art truly imitates life.
The only negative thing about Creation Crystals and Imaginators is that Skylanders Imaginators also introduces 10 Battle Classes (like Swap Force, these are secondary). Once you have selected your battle class on the Creation Crystal, you are locked into that forever. You can fully reset & customise your imaginator however you want, but you will never be able to choose a different class – without buying a new one of course! I don’t know what Activision were thinking, dollar signs in their eyes aside. If you’re a true portal master, you may be able to find a way around that limitation.
There are over 1000 Imaginator parts to unlock and find. Twenty weapons are locked behind Sensei Figures (these are the new Skylanders this year) and are based around that Skylanders signature attacking style. There are also 10 sets locked behind Creation Crystal elements. Aside from those, you can unlock everything in game using the starter pack, but it’s a grind. After 15 hours of gameplay, I have 24% of the imaginator gear, and have opened hundreds of chests. You can always replay levels, as they will give you new items (I haven’t ran into a duplicate either), but if you so desire, you can always fork out your hard earned cash. There are two ways to buy Imaginte Chests: You can buy a physical chest toy ($6.95 RRP) which is a one time use item, or good ol’ fashion microtransactions.
There are 10 main story levels, which is the shortest in the series thus far. However in the new hub world, M.A.P, there are 10 Elemental Realms which senseis of that respective element can enter. These replace elemental gates from previous games and while are shorter than a normal level, are essentially the length of all the elemental gates from say, Trap Team, combined into one. Also between the main story levels are smaller 10-15 minute side missions. All this makes the game more or less on par with the lengths of the others, and there are always Adventure Packs to buy including Crash Bandicoot that will give you an extra hour or so of gameplay.
If you really loved Superchargers online racing mode, never fear, you can play on all the tracks from Superchargers using the vehicles you have laying around, or by using the instant versions. Not the same can be said for Traps, they just give you money, and unfortunately only give that cash bonus once. Of Course like any Skylanders game, all your previous Skylanders will work, including Bowser & Donkey Kong, but the focus really is on the new figures and Imaginators.