|Developer||Vicarious Visions, Beenox, n-Space|
|Platform||XB1, PS4, 360, PS3, Wii U, 3DS, Wii|
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The third major release in Activision’s biggest-thing-since-sliced-bread gaming franchise Skylanders has been revealed, and this time, 16 new Skylanders join the fun. They’re called the SWAP Force—a name given to them after they had their bodies blasted awart by the eruption of a volcano. Having your body ripped in half might initially seem like a bag thing, but now the SWAP Force can mix and match their body parts to unlock fantastic new powers.
Putting a non-posable toy onto a little platform in order to unlock that character in a videogame isn’t an especially interesting idea to me. Skylanders Swap Force, however, adds a legitimately unique twist to that; mixing and matching the upper and lower halves of characters together in different ways brings about a deeper element of experimentation and creativity. This way, you could, say, take one character’s power of turning into a tornado for better movement, and combine that with another character’s super-powerful punch attacks.
The idea—in a brilliant and terribly devious marketing move—plays into what kids love to do anyhow. “How cool would it be if my favorite character has this other character’s powers?!” “What if these two guys could combine into one super awesome guy!?”
Sure, on one level it’s a ploy to move more games and figures—but what’s being done in Skylanders Swap Force does have some real potential to help keep the series feeling fresh. Letting players come up with their own character combinations will allow for more dynamic gameplay elements and potential challenges in the game. It’ll also make sure that kids want every new Swap Force figure so that they can try out all possible combination.
Smart move, Activision. Smart move.