[E3 2013] Skylanders: Swap Force Preview

In 360, 3DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Wii, Wii-U, Xbox One by Paul Arroyo

I used to love playing Spyro games, so being able to play as characters in the same universe is always interesting. Skylanders: Swap Force is an adventure game in which players summon characters by placing them on a “Portal of Power,” a circular platform device that comes with starter packs of Skylanders: Swap Force. The “Portal of Power” works through NFC or near field connectivity. Figurines from Skylanders have become increasingly popular as I’ve been made aware of many instances that they’ve sold out from stores. I can definitely see the appeal as having a figurine along with an in-game character can be somewhat of a hobby and entertaining. Skylanders: Swap Force aims to add a different element (pun intended) to the Skylanders franchise, so I wanted to check it out.


The biggest alteration in Skylanders: Swap Force is that figurines’ top and lower halves may be separated to mix and match entirely different heroes, changing their mobility and creating power combinations. Skylanders have always had skill trees to make for unique heroes, but now that there are two different halves, both halves have their own set to make the heroes even more unique.

The game takes place in the Cloudbreak Islands. The main storyline has you working your way up to defeat Kaos, an evil Portal Master that seeks to do evil to all things in the world by raising a volcano that gave the Skylanders their powers. Along the way, optional paths may be opened only if you have the respective power. Some paths require water while others require air. Some doors to optional areas need two elements. Let’s say a door needs fire and water: if your friend is water and you are fire, that’s enough to advance through the optional door.


Certain areas have enemies that are vulnerable to types of attacks. Let’s say there’s an area where enemies are more vulnerable to water, if you swap your Skylander with a water elemental Skylander, it will do more damage. An alternative to this would be just swapping one half of the water elemental Skylander’s body onto your current non-water elemental Skylander; the resulting effect would be the same as the former. Swapping Skylanders not only changes their abilities and mobility but also their names. Swapping Wash Buckler with Blast Zone can create Wash Zone or Blast Buckler, all depending on which halves are swapped.

Just because it’s a new Skylanders game doesn’t mean your past figurines are completely obsolete. Both Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders: Giants figurings are compatible with Skylanders: Swap Force. If you have friends that plays Skylanders but play on a different console, their figures retain points, experience, and abilities and can be used on a different console as well.

Skylanders: Swap Force has a cutesy and colorful art style that kids can appreciate. However, due to having to use a figurine to play the game, Skylanders: Swap Force can become a suitable hobby for collectors and fans of all ages, akin to collecting Yu-Gi-Oh! or Magic: The Gathering cards. Skylanders: Swap Force will be available on Wii, Wii-U, Xbox 360, 3DS, PS4, and Xbox One on October 13, 2013.

Paul Arroyo[E3 2013] Skylanders: Swap Force Preview