Classic Retro Video Game Blog

8 Bit Central - Retro Gaming Blog

November 2014 Retro Gaming Article

November 20, 2014 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

I'd rather not buy a new Starter Pack with every Skylanders game, but Trap Team is worth it

Toys R Us Christmas catalog For the last few years (maybe more) Toys R Us has mailed their Great Big Christmas Book in an envelope that unfolds into a Skylanders' promotional piece and checklist for the latest figures. This year they are promoting the Trap Team figures. I've always enjoyed this delivery at the holidays and feel the Skylanders' envelope/checklist is brilliant!

My local Toys R Us recently split Skylanders and Disney Infinity into separate aisles to accomodate the wide range of products. Each IP has their own way of implementing the RFID scheme for bringing characters into play via a physical action figure. As the Skylanders IP has evolved, they have changed the technology enough to require a new Portal (with Starter Pack) for 3 of the 4 games released (SKylanders Giants was the exception).

The kiosk for each of these games plays a big role in letting customers understand the Portal and how it integrates with the game. I thought it was particularly helpful with the Swap Force game so customers could see how the mix-and-match figures effect game play.

Broken Skylanders Trap Team kiosk at Toys R Us In my opinion, the Portal has been little more than a clever gimmick. I admit it's a slick way to change characters, but that's something we've always been able to do. With the Trap Team release, the Portal handles characters swapping in the same way with the addition of "trapping" enemies for later play. More importantly, is it's use of sound!

The Trap Team Portal has a speaker that comes into play when trapping an enemy and playing with that enemy. From random utterances to the volume fade as the enemy is drawn into the trap. It's a very cool effect and when you have the Portal closer to the players than the TV, you get a nice audio swoosh from the screen to the Portal's dungeon. Well done, Activision.

I was glad to see another facet added to the Portal, because the concept was getting a bit stale. My son loved the Skylanders figures, but with only one game being released for each set of figures, it was becoming an expensive one-trick-pony. The innovation with the Trap Team Portal's use of sound has reinvigorated my interest in the Skylanders.

The Skylanders kiosk at my local Toys R Us has been broken for almost 2 months. It sat in the aisle with a series of screens rotating various error codes. Now it is powered down and dormant. With the holiday season fast approaching, it's hard to understand why the unit has not been replaced. Perhaps Skylanders have reached that magical realm in which they simply sell regardless of marketing promotions.

In my opinion Trap Team offers a lot more than prior versions and the kiosk would help sell to parents who are tired of spending $80 on yet another starter pack.

« Return to the main Retro Gaming Blog 2014