For families Skylanders is a
double edged sword. Kids love the collectability and novel toy
interaction but parents are sometimes wary of how much it will all
cost. The game can be finished with just the
Starter Pack but to see everything you do need to purchase more
Skylanders Trap Team, this year’s offering, came with
more incentives to buy its new Trap Master heroes as only these
figures could access the Elemental Zones previously open to any
Skylander of the right element in past games.
Today Activision announced the final piece in the value puzzle
with two new Light and Dark character groupings. Although this
doesn’t sound all that exciting to outsiders, for fans of the game
this is an unusual move. Until now Skylanders has stuck to its
eight Element groupings for figures. As I speculated at the reveal of Trap Team, these new Elements
bring with them new avenues for characters and quest
Two new Trap Masters, Knight Mare and Knight Light come in the
special Light and Dark Elemental Quest Packs. These are out now in
some lucky territories, but seemingly won’t be out in the UK until
26th December. In the US retailers have them
dated as the 21st, but some are reportedly selling them early in
the scramble for Christmas coin.
Each pack contains a Trap Master, a special Trap capable of
capturing either Light or Dark villains, as well as a location
piece that unlocks a special level in the game. The Light and Dark
Elemental Quest Packs will be available at all major retailers
nationwide for a suggested retail price of $29.99 (£19.08).
As highlighted in today’s press release this is a new strategy
from Activision, and carries with it some risk. While it is common
for these toy-game hybrid products to lock away characters and
additional content until the toys are released, these new Elements
work the angle much harder.
Certainly, some families not able to get hold of the new
characters before Christmas may find the existing Skylanders
presents under the tree slightly less exciting on Christmas morning
in light of these upcoming new Elemental heroes and adventures.
The new Light and
Dark packs enable players to access new levels in
Skylanders Trap Team and trap new villains like the
Luminous and Nightshade characters. Also, the new elements reveal
additional backstory of the Skylanders universe.
As is often the case with Skylanders it is the superb
design of the physical toys that saves these products from feeling
too expensive. The level of finesse and finish on each of the
figures (designed by prolific I-Wei Huang and team) is impressive
and extends the existing array of 175 toys into new
Some other good news, buried at the bottom of the press release
was expanded support for the tablet version.
Previously this was not compatible with the original iPad Mini, but
now is confirmed to work with Kindle Fire,
Android tablets, and iPad (3rd
Generation), iPad (4th Generation), iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad
mini, iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 3.
With more figures still to be released for Trap Team next year
expect pester power to continue for some time after Christmas and
remember these figure are optional extras rather than essential to
complete the game.
Andy Robertson is a freelance family gaming expert for the
BBC and runs Family Gamer TV on YouTube.