There are two types of schools of people who play the Skylanders games – those who just play through and don’t really care about what all characters they have, as long as they have at least the bare minimum to unlock every path through the levels, and then the ones who enjoy the collecting thing – getting all of the various characters, accessories, and random power-ups that come along with the packs that are being sold by the metric ton.
I used to be of the latter school. In recent times, it’s become a bit of a frustrating, tiresome mess.
“But why, Midnight?” you might ask. Well………sit back by the fire and let me tell you a story about how this game empire has rendered people from normal humans into slobbering trolls.
Skylanders has a simple premise – collect figures of various elements to get into various parts of levels in order to complete quests and liberate Skylands from the forces of the evil Kaos – the main antagonist of every single game to date. How he manages to get away each and every time to come back and haunt Skylands and other enchanted lands is beyond me. Their prisons must seriously suck. There are eight elements in total for the first 3 games of the series, which are life, water, air, fire, earth, tech, undead, and magic – the new game bringing an additional two – light and dark, bringing the total to 10 elements. Each element has a cadre of characters to choose from that you can make your army out of in order to beat back the bad guys.
The main problem is that the characters are just too darn cool looking. The people at Toys For Bob are very artistic craftsmen, who make superb figures that appeal to a wide audience. The funny part is that the part of the figure that actually matters is not that big. On the whole, it’s a silicon RFID wafer that sits on top of the base, and it holds all of the information for that character – powers, stats, upgrades, accessories, loot……..everything that makes that character unique is stored on this wafer of information – the rest is just window dressing (the exception being the “Swap Force” characters, which are two-piece characters that have this information in each half, which allows them to be combined in up to 256 different combinations).
How is this maddening? I can sum it up in one term: short-supply
When stores get shipments of characters (and in the latest game – traps), they purposely proportion them to where some figures and traps are widely available, and some are so hard to find, you spend days driving all about town and looking online just to find ONE, and often times, the only place you can find it is somewhere like eBay where some scalper has already scoped them out, scooped them all up, and are selling them for a profit.
These people suck, and they know they suck…………they want your money though, and people will give it to them willingly.
Sometimes, the company doesn’t even release the last figures or accessories until the next game comes out, which is even worse for those who collect. For example, the “LightCore Hex” figure from the Skylanders Giants game was not even released until Skylanders SwapForce came out! How much you want to bet the last traps for Trap Team won’t even come out until after SuperChargers comes out? Yes, I know……….”why do you still collect them then? Why not just play something else?”
That……is a valid point.
The other part that I really don’t get is why they re-release a few figures in a new pose every single game, yet some characters that people would want to see a re-pose or re-issue of will never get their wish! Are they that much in love with Stealth Elf and Gill Grunt? Seriously??
Another fun topic – exclusives! You can find some figures only by pre-ordering at certain stores, or they are only sold through certain stores when they come out regularly. The most absurd example of this is when Swap Force came out, there was a “UFO Hat” that was only available if you pre-ordered it at Target – and it wasn’t even a plastic figure – it was a chip on a card!! Seriously???
So now we come to the new game – SuperChargers, and they introduce a new wrinkle – console-exclusive characters! Yes! Now you can get Donkey Kong and Bowser – each can be combined with their own vehicle, but……you can only play these two characters/vehicles on the Wii U! They will not work on any other platform! They also have a switch on the base that switches them from being a Skylander to an Amiibo, so there’s another nail Nintendo threw into that coffin. So if you have any other platform than Wii U, then do not get these two characters, because they will not work on anything other than Wii U!
So will I even bother getting this new game? I have no idea just yet – probably, but will need to find space for the figures if I do. Will this be the last game? I’m starting to really hope it is, because one of the things that sucked when they announced SuperChargers is that the traps from Trap Team will not be used with villains – in fact, the portal doesn’t have a slot for them. You can use them to buff up vehicles, but that’s it – those traps were pretty much for one game only, and there was a buttload of them made!
For one game?? Really? That was a pretty pathetic game mechanic.
Let’s hope that they do better with SuperChargers than they did with Trap Team……although I’m not holding my breath.