Skylanders: Trap Team Review

Three years after Skylanders’ milestone debut, the popular “toys to life” franchise is still going strong despite fierce competition from the likes of Nintendo and Disney. What originally started life as a risky Spyro reboot has spiralled into one of gaming’s most popular (and lucrative) icons in recent years.

With that said, when we saw Skylanders: Trap Team for the very first time, it hardly left a lasting impression. Where Giants and Swap Force had over-sized, interchangeable playable figures, this year’s gimmick initially seems like a step back for Activision. A worrying change of direction considering the threat posed by Disney Infinity 2.0 and its new focus on the Marvel universe. However, after exploring Trap Team’s new feature set, it can be argued that this year’s instalment is actually an intuitive step forward for the franchise.

Following the events of the previous game, Trap Team is centred around Skylanders’ returning core cast. As they celebrate yet another victory over Kaos, the scheming antagonist deploys his latest evil plan, freeing the world’s most dangerous villains from Cloudcracker prison. They’re a nasty bunch and it isn’t long before Skylands is thrown into a state of turmoil. Using of mishmash of characters old and new, players must embark on a journey to defeat and capture the escaped crooks before it’s too late.

There are three things that immediately stick out as you unbox the latest Skylanders playset. Firstly, there are the all-new Trap Master figures. Defined by their translucent “Traptanium” weaponry, these new additions can access certain parts of the game that are otherwise cordoned off. Next up there’s the new portal which looks and functions better than those before it. Attached to this portal is a built-in microphone as well as a hexagonal slot meant for Skylanders’ latest addition: trap crystals. These stylish, key-shaped toys can be inserted after dispatching any of the game’s many mini-bosses, capturing and storing them.

In doing so, players can then use that villain themselves, as they would with one of the regular toys. It’s a smart albeit simple system and one that allows you to switch back and forth between characters using a single button press, as opposed to continually moving figures on and off the portal. Furthermore, in between missions, players can select which villains they have stored in each key.


That’s not to say there aren’t caveats. It’s common in Skylanders game to come across sections that require specific characters. As touched on before, Trap Team is no different and even has a spread of “Quests” tied to each of its villains. As for the escapees themselves, though they play like regular characters they lack an experience gauge and, more importantly, upgradeable abilities. On the plus side, trap keys are nowhere near as expensive as previous Skylander gimmicks. Typically priced as £6 with £15 triple packs also on the market, it definitely beats forking out yet more clunky figures.

Bar Trap Team’s marquee feature, the sequel is near enough identical to last year’s Swap Force with a renewed focus on platforming and puzzles. It’s just as meaty too, boasting 18 chapters that each weigh in at twenty to thirty minutes. Arguably, this doesn’t always work in Trap Team’s favour given the complete lack of save points during missions. Still, it’s a fairly wholesome action-platform experience with a few small added refinements here and there. It’s also worth pointing out that alongside the story missions are two arena modes, though these are better suited for co-op play.

The visual gap between the original Skylanders its sequel was barely noticeable. However, as with Swap Force, there’s a clear difference, especially for those playing on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Characters and environments pack in way more detail and all share the same vibrant colour palette. Although both games excel in different areas, it has to be said, Trap Team is easily better looking than its closest rival, Disney Infinity 2.0.

What’s Good:

  • Accessible gameplay
  • Trap keys are well-implemented
  • Hours of re-playable content
  • Great visuals

What’s Bad:

  • No mid-level save points
  • Content still locked to certain characters

With a more intuitive – not to mention, convenient – core gimmick, Skylanders’ fourth instalment is a solid outing for the series, dispelling fears that the Activision power seller is succumbing to fatigue. For fans, it’s yet another all-round improvement, but Trap Team also serves as a perfect entry point for newcomers.

Score: 8/10

Version tested: PlayStation 4

1 Comment

  1. My son is only 10 months old. Do you think my wife will fall for it if I start buying skylanders for him?


    Age 38 1/2

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