Fans seem to look at yearly games as lazy or sometimes lackluster. Games like the Skylanders series come under even more scrutiny, because they release new figures and often revamped characters to coincide with a new release. Skylanders: Superchargers manages to combat that perception and innovates on the genre with a simple addition, vehicles.
Skylanders: Superchargers not only brings back fan favorite Skylanders figures such as TerraFin, with revamped weapons and a new look. It also introduces vehicles, which invigorates the franchise by including not only new gameplay element, but new facets to the collector’s side of Skylanders series as well. Every vehicle was made to play well by itself. If you are like me and have a child who loves Skylanders, but maybe isn’t quite old enough to grasp on to the gameplay mechanics and just likes to play with the figures, this is the Skylanders for you. The vehicles have movable parts and work as cars, mini aircrafts and nautical toys respectively.
We were shown an early level of Skylanders: Superchargers, which featured the Skylanders hunting for the Cloudbearer Dragon so that he can help them defeat Emperor Kaos. The demo showcased every vehicle type and several different scenarios they could be utilized in as well as new gameplay elements. It should be noted that during the game though, only one Skylander and one vehicle can be on the portal at a time. Each time you introduce a new vehicle onto the portal, you are shown a showcase of various aspects of the vehicle that can be customized and upgraded as you unlock the parts through finding them in the new loot system which allows every chest to contain different rewards within them.
A new currency in the form of gears has been introduced to customize vehicles and upgrade stats, which you can use at any time during the game via a pause menu. No more returning the game’s central hub to upgrade your vehicle or character. Land vehicles appear to play pretty well and air vehicles reminded me a lot of Star Fox which is a good thing. The only lackluster vehicle section we were shown was the sea vehicle, Reef Ripper. It felt very linear in a way, but we were promised that the full game will offer a lot of variety. Each vehicle has a specific Skylander that pairs with it to create a ‘supercharged’ effect that allows for increased damage against enemies. There are a total of twenty new vehicle toys, so expect a lot of new Skylanders to pair with them as well. The great part is that fans who don’t want to shell out for other sets can still enjoy the boxed in Hot Streak land vehicle with any of the over 300 legacy characters available.
Fans can even playthrough the entire game with only the starter kit without purchasing a single other vehicle or Skylander. There is a slight in-game benefit to doing so though, as it allows for a different experience. One example was an area that was flooded with water and if a player does not have a sea faring vehicle, they could just go through a platforming section to progress. Alternatively they could have used a water-based vehicle to empty the body of water and see a the level in a completely new way.
Skylanders Superchargers manages to pique my interest once again and I hope they continue to build on what they have shown. Many of the levels appear to have variety in gameplay, not just appearance. It seems that Skylanders: Superchargers has managed to deliver and stave off fan fatigue for a little while longer. Skylanders fans should prepare to get Supercharged this fall.