Recently I had the opportunity to fly out to California courtesy of Activision and Toys for Bob to preview the newest game in the Skylanders franchise, Skylanders: Trap Team. However, if this seems familiar for some reason, that’s because I’ve already written a preview article about the game and my trip, noting the opportunities we got to check out how a Skylanders game is made as well as playing around a bit with the game. Something the article lacked however was info on the tablet version of the game, and that’s what I’ll be focusing on this time around.
The story of the game is the same as the console versions. Kaos has discovered a prison made of a material known as Traptanium that houses some of Skylanders worst villains. While trying to create his own army of evil he blows up the prison and the villains escape to Earth. In the process, some shards of Traptanium are also blown to Earth where the Portal Masters must utilize those shards to trap the villains and save the Skylands once again.
You can play the game with any of your existing Skylanders characters or you can use the new Trap Master characters. You’ll also be able to purchase individual trap toys to contain the villains you trap. Each trap can hold one villain of a specific element, but don’t worry if you think you’ll have to spend a fortune to collect every villain in the game. Villains not in use will be sent to the Skylanders Academy where you can swap them out whenever you want, so unless you want to have multiple villains of a certain element at the ready at all times, you’ll really only need one trap of each element to do everything in the game.
Using the villains is as simple as hitting a button to swap them in. At any time while playing, if you have a trap in the portal that contains a villain, simply hitting a button will swap your Skylander for that villain. The villain can’t necessarily be defeated, but is on a timer. Once the timer runs out (or when you hit the swap button again), the villain will automatically go back into the trap to recharge his timer. Getting hit as a villain will also drain the timer a bit. What’s also nice is the new speaker on the portal where you can hear the villain talk every now and then, often reminding you that he’s ready for action when you need him because, you know, it’s not like a villain wants to stay trapped in a tiny little portal all day.
Similar to how you can level up your Skylanders, you can also level up your villains, but it works a bit differently. Each villain that you can trap has a unique challenge somewhere in the game. Completing that challenge will give you a bit of an upgrade to that villain. For instance, the challenge I played in the tablet version had the villain turning on some fans within a time limit. It wasn’t all that difficult and I’m sure that other challenges will be tougher, but it’s nice that they allow the villains to get a bit of an upgrade to spice things up a bit.
In terms of the game itself it’s really no different from its console counterparts. You still have your main game as well as the Kaos Doom Challenges which are kind of like mini-Tower Defense games. Where it differs is how you’ll play. With the tablet version of Skylanders: Trap Team players will have two options on how to play. The first is with touch controls. I didn’t have a chance to check out the touch controls for two reasons: the first is that I completely forgot it had touch controls, and the second I’ll get into in a moment. However, for players wanting to play with touch controls, you’ll be able to utilize two digital Skylanders characters and two digital traps.
The other method of playing is with a new Bluetooth version of the Traptanium Portal and controller, which is what I used when previewing the tablet version of the game. The portal will resemble the other portals in design with a couple of extra features. The first is a little notch in the side of the portal that’s used to prop up the tablet, which is nice because I’m sure your neck would hurt a lot if you had to stare down at the table from laying your tablet flat. The other is the Bluetooth controller which stores on the bottom of the portal. The controller is actually pretty responsive and I had very little issues with it. The only issue I came across was that the shoulder buttons are rather close together…in fact, they’re just about touching each other. Given that the controller is already somewhat small to start with and you can see where this is going. Multiple times I kept hitting the incorrect button to swap out to a villain because I kept hitting both R shoulder buttons when I meant to just hit R2.
Beyond that, Skylanders: Trap Team for tablets is the same game as the console versions outside of how you control the game. The connectivity between the portal, controller, and tablet are seamless, the graphics look great for a tablet game, and the game runs just as good as the console versions. If you’re looking to get your hands on the tablet version, it’ll release side-by-side with its console counterparts on October 5th in the US, October 10th in Europe, and October 2nd in Australia. To play the tablet version you’ll need an iPad 3rd, or 4th generation, iPad Mini Retina, iPad Air, Kindle Fire HDX, Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro, Samsung Galaxy Tab S, or Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. The Start Pack will be $74.99, individual Trap Master toys will be $14.99, Core Skylanders toys will be $9.99, and the trap toys will be $5.99 each.
Editor's Note:Activision paid for airfare, food, and lodging for this trip
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.