About Skylanders SuperChargers
Skylanders SuperChargers is the fifth installment in the Skylanders series. Skylanders is a role-playing platform game where toy figures are placed on the Portal of Power and come to life inside the game. The new feature for this year’s Skylanders is the introduction of vehicles. The Portal of Power has therefore been increased in size to accommodate them. Half of the game consists of driving with 3 types of vehicle – ground, water and flying. You can now take on Evil Lord Kaos using Land, Sky & Sea vehicles.
Players must avoid obstacles on the track and defeat a boss before crossing the finish line. Then they must solve a puzzle. Vehicles can be customised and can collect parts to upgrade them or buy them with the in-game currency (Gearbits). If the vehicle is matched with its character then it will become Supercharged – this means that the vehicle with have additional abilities. More than one player can be used at once, but only one vehicle can appear at any one time.
Skylanders Superchargers and Console Types
In the PS4 Starter Pack you get a Supercharger Skylander called “Spitfire” and his Land vehicle, “Hot Streak” and another Supercharger Skylander, “Super Shot Stealth Elf”, but her Sky vehicle “Stealth Stinger”, is a separate purchase. For the first time it makes a difference which Console you purchase Skylanders on (The PS3, XBox 360 & XBox ONE versions all contain the same Starter Pack contents as the PS4 version); The Wii U version contains an exclusive “Turbo Charge Donkey Kong” Skylander and his Land vehicle “Barrel Blaster” in place of Spitfire and Hot Streak. The Wii and 3DS versions come with “Hammer Slam Bowser” and his Sky vehicle “Clown Cruiser” in place of Spitfire/Hot Streak BUT the Wii and 3DS versions only contain the racing portions of the game (compared with Mario Kart games) as it was deemed impossible to port the full game to these platforms. Also the Bowser & Donkey Kong figures also double up as an Amiibo’s for various Nintendo titles.
Starting Skylanders Superchargers
When you first start the game, you will be informed that there is optional Game Chat for the online multiplayer portion of the game, and you are given the option to turn it on or off (this can be changed later in the settings).
You also get asked to choose which difficulty level you want to play from:
Increasing the difficulty level makes enemies harder to kill and they have stronger attacks, and just like the Game Chat, this can be adjusted in the settings later on.
The game begins with a video transmission from Kaos telling you that he has captured Master Eon, Flynn, Cali and Hugo. He tells you that now he has control of the portals and has locked you (“The Portal Master”) out of Skylands, by closing all the portals and relegating the Skylanders to remain as just toys in our world. Once Kaos ends his transmission, you receive another one from Hugo, Flynn & Cali telling you that have been captured and are on their way to a prison and that you are the only one that can save them and Skylands! Hugo instructs you to place a vehicle on the portal along with a Skylander so that you can travel through a rift into Skylands. It turns out that the vehicles have a “Rift Engine” that allows you to hack into the network of portals that connect our world and ones in Skylands. Once in Skylands, players who have played previous titles in the series will be familiar with the gameplay, the main changes come from the use of vehicles. Don’t worry if you are new to the series, it doesn’t take a lot to pick up the controls and get into the action (also after a while of controlling the vehicles the game will display a prompt asking if you’d like to enable easier controls for the vehicles just in case you are finding it a bit hard).
Skylanders Superchargers Vehicles
As previously mentioned there are three vehicle types, Land, Sky and Sea and each level has a Land Challenge, Sky Challenge and a Sea Challenge, which can only be played with a vehicle of the respective type. Land Challenges are a compulsory part of the game and therefore Starter Packs include a Land vehicle. You do not need to do the Sky and Sea Challenges to finish the game. As with previous Skylanders games, in the levels there are plenty of hidden areas, but unlike the previous titles, they aren’t locked to a particular type or element (apart from the aforementioned vehicle challenges). This was usually why our children would say the ‘need’ a new Skylander, so that they could access these new areas. This time round the only “essential purchases” are a Sky vehicle and a Sea vehicle. There are however parts of the Skylanders academy that do require more combinations to gain access to but as they are not part of the main story, it will probably seem a little less frustrating for players that they don’t have the particular Skylanders and their vehicles.
The only other caveats are that to be able to upgrade a vehicle you must use a Supercharger Skylander, but it doesn’t have to be the one specifically linked to the vehicle however. And although any Skylander can use any vehicle in the game, when the a Supecharger Skylander uses their signature vehicle (i.e. Spitfire’s signature vehicle is Hot Streak), they are “Supercharged,” which essentially means that when using the vehicles that they are a little bit faster and their vehicles weapon is a bit more powerful, there is also an exclusive mod that can only be unlocked by the Supercharged pair.
This doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t try to tempt you into buying new characters, whilst playing the game you can upgrade your Skylanders and give them new powers, but their final power is always locked until you find that particular Skylander’s power gem. When you find a power gem it will always ask if you want to see a preview video (read advert) of the Skylander it is for.
Previous Skylanders Characters Compatibility
As always though, Skylanders offers value for money in letting you use any figures you have bought from previous iterations of the game, making you feel a little less like you wasted your money on them: The 117 characters from previous games can be used but obviously will not Supercharge – with only an extra 20 new figurines with 20 vehicles being introduced.
However, the previous Skylanders game, Skylanders Trap Team, offered players the chance to trap villains and then play as them, in Superchargers, this functionality is not available, despite there being a trap slot on the new portal. The traps offer special ammo for a limited time whilst using vehicles, and a Skystone of the villain currently trapped in the trap. Traps from Trap Team can be used in a mini game. There are trophies that allow the characters to race as villains (which can be bought in racing action packs). A Kaos trophy is included in the dark edition of the games starter pack. So five games in, seasonal players will have quite a collection, but for new players the Starter Pack contains everything you need to complete the Story Mode. Towards the end of the game there is a part which appears that you may need to have a Sky vehicle, but you can skip this part by talking to the characters around you.
Conclusions of Skylanders Superchargers
Overall Skylanders Superchargers represents a good addition to the Skylanders lineup and offers a good amount of content (every time I thought I was nearing the end a twist in the story meant that there were more levels to complete). The graphics were good and detailed, and the game was very robust – the only issue I had was with the final game boss where it got a bit glitchy, but my son played it the next day and had no problems what-so-ever. There are 51 chapters in all, and secret areas and extra challenges in the Skylander Academy, as well as being able to play with friends online. And whilst parts of the story feel shoehorned in, it is quite well told and tries to inject lots of humour as well as featuring some famous voices that kids may recognise (such as Patrick Warburton (Flynn the pilot) who voices the Sheriff in Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated, and Klunk in Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove).
I received a Skylanders Superchargers Starter Pack for purposes of review. All words and opinions are my own.