Skylanders’ most magical element has always been the imagination of its players. The game?s figurines might appear as hunks of plastic to humdrum individuals, but using the age-old power of imagination, players can turn those toys into playful and strong characters with the help of the Portal of Power. Now, with Skylanders Imaginators, Toys for Bob plans to harness the imaginative power of players.
The biggest twist that the latest entry in the toys-to-life series brings is allowing players to make their own characters called Imaginators. Imaginators are represented in the physical realm by Creation Crystals, with each falling under one of the game’s 10 elements. The crystals themselves bring their own aura to the Skylanders universe, looking like mystical rocks suspended within a tube that glow with a color matching their assigned elements while in use.
Players building their own Imaginators from scratch will use a variety of body parts ranging from goofy heads to horns and ornaments inspired by Skylanders creatures. The character showcased in the hands-off demo had stubby legs, burly arms that almost touched the ground, and a biker’s head?but the character creation screen had dozens of options for heads, eyes, ears, arms, legs, and tails. He also had an auto-assigned coat of red paint, matching his connection to the element of fire, but the developers promised that colors can also be altered on individual pieces for anyone looking to fine tune their Imaginator’s look. The huge amount of visual options on offer with Skylanders Imaginators combined with a multitude of customizable voices, catch phrases, and equipment make it unlikely that any two Imaginators will look or sound exactly the same.
When it comes down to bashing bad guys, Imaginators also have 10 different fighting styles to choose from that dictate their weaponry and abilities. For example, the firepowered brawler wielded a fireman’s axe?which the developer playing the game later swapped for a more powerful guitar?and had dashing abilities that left a trail of flames behind him. Factoring in all of the battle classes and elements offered, there are 100 different combinations you can choose from in order to build your perfect Imaginator. On top of this base layer of elements and battle classes that decide your primary and secondary attacks, players can select a third ability, called a secret technique, that they earn as they level up.
Customizing your character is far from over once you’ve decided what you want your character to look like. Players can collect gear of varying quality as they adventure through Skylands which alters their stats. These pieces of armor and weaponry, which are completely separate from the base body parts, can beef up your character while also altering their appearance. Weapons, shoulder guards, arm guards, leg guards, and backpacks all automatically adhere to your chosen color scheme, so you won’t have to worry about turning your Imaginator into a garish creature of mismatched equipment when trying to make them as powerful as possible, although they can be customized however you want if you’re going for a specific aesthetic.
Many villains from past Skylanders titles will reappear in Imaginators, but this time they’ll be serving the player as Senseis. Former foes like Golden Queen have been readjusted and released from Cloudcracker Prison and will now train Imaginators, unlocking new moves and raising the apprentice Skylanders’ maximum levels. Players can also control the Senseis, who represent beefier versions of their assigned battle classes. As masters of Sky Chi, Senseis can use devastating abilities that can wipe the field of enemies. The two shown off in the demo were from the Golden Queen, who let loose an onslaught of golden scarabs on enemies, and Tri Tip, who spun in circles, swinging a club at foes in his path. The game will launch with 31 Senseis, 11 of which are returning villains.
Also, it’s worth noting that every past Skylanders figure will be compatible with Imaginators, including less traditional figures like traps and vehicles found in Trap Team and SuperChargers. All of the multiplayer racing content that was in SuperChargers has been ported over to Imaginators, which will use traps as elemental boosts.
At its core, Skylanders Imaginators is a game about allowing players’ imaginations to run free. With an obscene amount of options from which players can choose, both in and out of battle, Imaginators is shaping up to be the most personal and epic Skylanders game yet.