Skylanders: SuperChargers review
After binge-playing Skylanders: SuperChargers with my family, I have to admit that the game is full of interesting content for kids and parents alike.
For those of you that don't know, the Skylanders franchise is built on the idea that you buy real-life Skylander toys that communicate with the video game system. They each have their own traits, and each figurine itself saves your progress and choices over time.
The concept is actually so cool that I'm a little upset it wasn't around when I was a kid. It's like collecting Pokémon, and the characters carry over from game to game.
In the end, Skylanders is a game for entertaining children, and I judge it with that in mind.
The Good Things About Skylanders: SuperChargers
The game is story-driven.
No single piece of the story is dragged out through repetitive fights or boring maps. There are new plot points, characters, scenes, and enemies every hour of gameplay, and it all fits together somehow. The story is also surprisingly long, so you have time to get involved.
It may be arbitrary and silly, but it's still a story.
Each level ends with a cool boss fight.
Being centered around the story, the boss fights bring a satisfying, unique sense of completion in every act. While sprawling open-world games are cool, they lack the type of fulfillment you get from taking down a main character that just trash-talked you for the last half hour.
It's an action game and a racing game combined.
Neither part of the game gets overwhelmed by the other. The driving part is fun, and the walking part is fun. I applaud any game that can break up monotony while still making each distraction excellent.
Oh, and did I mention that both the cars and the characters can be upgraded just like a role-playing game? You basically get to have it all in terms of genre.
Despite the terrible dialogue writing at some points, the voice acting is great overall.
You can hear everything that any character says to you, because how close you are to the character doesn't matter. The real key to the dialogue: my kids understood what the conflict was.
There's even a smooth-talking villain voiceover at one point that makes a scandalous joke that I can't believe the producers squeezed in, but I'm glad they did. So parents get a little something too.
The Bad Things About Skylanders: SuperChargers
There were quite a few bugs.
I ran into a couple of bugs where the voiceovers disappeared or the missions could not progress without resetting the level. Hopefully later patches of the game fix that stuff. It was frustrating, but not a deal-breaker.
The real bummer: you can't play some levels without certain figurines.
Most gamers hesitate about a game you pay for up front, but some of content requires extra purchases. You wouldn't buy a movie ticket, then pay extra to watch some of the less-important scenes.
The truth is, there's more than enough content to enjoy with just the Skylanders: SuperChargers Starter Set. If you want to go deeper, the option is always there to buy more of the toys. It's only a disadvantage in the game if your children demand to have all the toys.
Some Other Things To Note About Skylanders: SuperChargers
It might be too difficult for kids under 6 years old.
Even though there's an incredibly easy difficulty setting, and hardly any reading is required, the game is still too complex for my son to finish without my help, and he's 5 years old. He loves the action figures, but he can't drive a video-game car.
The musical score isn't very remarkable.
Having played other games with my kids, they often have a fun, memorable group of songs playing in the background. This game was very light and generic on the music, which might be a positive or negative thing depending on how you spin it.
My kids chose all the car and character skins based on looks, not function.
The car's best wheels were the boring, stony, armored ones, but my son wanted the tires that left flame streaks as we drove by. He wanted the character to shoot fire tornadoes and I wanted him to just move faster. I was surprised that looks were directly tied to what each modification does.
There's a lot of replay value, but a lot of it is tied to getting more figurines.
I can't say how unique every car or character is, but you can play a huge chunk of the content over again with new heroes, and it will feel different. If anything, you can play it just for the sake of exploring the different characters; that is, if you're ready to buy them.
Essentially, parents can enjoy playing through the hard parts of the adventure while the kids punch, shoot, and drive across the exotic game locales. Despite any misgivings I had before, my kids and I played for many hours of goofy fun.