Game review: Skylanders Superchargers
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4 / Wii U / Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 / 3DS
IT is hard to believe that Superchargers is the fifth entry in the innovative Skylanders series that laid the foundations for the toys to life genre. With Disney and Lego franchises now in on the act, not to mention Nintendo’s use of Amiibos, the use of figurines and portals has become a mainstay of family friendly gaming. At a time when the competition is fierce, however, Activision has shown the imagination to stay ahead of the pack.
While racing has been an element of previous entries in the series, it is at the forefront of Superchargers and the game is all the better for it. Along with the portal, two characters and the game disc, the starter pack includes a bright and robust vehicle that looks like a science fiction version of Fred Flintstone’s trusty charge. As a toy in its own right, it will provide fun for children, but transport into the game world and the entertainment really begins.
Races are fast paced arcade affairs
The races are fast paced arcade affairs that benefit from well thought out handling. Similar in theme and feel to Nintendo’s Mario Kart series, you have to battle opposition vehicles, not just overtake them. This is especially entertaining in local and online co-operative play, where one player takes charge of the steering wheel and their teammate controls the weaponry. Factor in the ability to mop up various collectibles as you tear around the tracks and the races have great replay value.
Elsewhere, the game continue the endearing mix of styles, with the action adventure sections taking in light puzzling, cartoon combat and platforming, but the best thing about Supercharger remains the way you can customise and tinker with your character over the course of the campaign, focusing on certain abilities and combining them with vehicles to often dazzling effect. It is a game that may be entertainment first and foremost, but parents should know that it invites an imaginative response.
Swaths of content is blocked off in the starter pack
A few familiar foibles present themselves. Swaths of content are effectively blocked off unless you get your wallet and invest, which can be frustrating. Some races - which cover not just land, but sea and air - will require you buy for other vehicles on top of the one included in the starter pack. The camera, meanwhile, remains an intermittent annoyance, especially when you are trying to navigate a tricky area.
All in, however, Superchargers is the best Skylanders game yet. It not only looks charming but it plays very well indeed. The inclusion of vehicles is a natural and thrilling way for the series to evolve and, combined with the lighthearted gameplay, there are few better game for the entire family to enjoy.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Pairing a certain Skylander with a vehicle can result in it becoming supercharged - with increased stats and abilities.
Previous characters in the Skylanders series can be used in Superchargers.
Look out for collectables that allow you to play as villains.