The next game in The Harried Mom’s Family Friendly Video Games Review series is Skylanders SWAP Force from Activision. When this game arrived at the house Tyler aka The Hubs (@DadandMarried) got excited and quickly volunteered to try this game out with our son. I’m always happy to have The Hubs help this gal out with a guest post and today I’m sharing his review and thoughts on the game with you, take it away Tyler….
I grew up with the first video games ever. I can remember being in a hotel in California on vacation in the mid 70s playing Pong with my brother. I saved up my paper route money for months to buy the very first Atari — it was $189, and that’s in 1978 money! I also spent hours playing Pac-Man at my local 7-11, and think back fondly on such forgotten games as Moon Cresta, Wizard of Wor and Mr. Do.
You name it, I’ve played games on practically every gaming platform ever created – Atari, ColecoVision, Nintendo, Genesis, Dreamcast, PlayStation, Wii, X-Box. So naturally, I wasn’t surprised when my son wanted to start playing video games. In the two years he’s been gaming, his favorite by far is the Skylanders series. So when my better half, AKA The Harried Mom, scored us the brand new Skylanders SWAP Force to review, I graciously volunteered to take valuable time out of my busy day to try the game out with our son. Ok, I’ll admit it, I love playing Skylanders as well!
In case you don’t know, Skylanders is a fun fantasy/adventure game. What makes it unique is that the characters you play with are actual figures that you buy, collect and can swap with other players. The interactive toy-and-game market is red hot and the Skylanders series is definitely leading the way!
To play Skylanders SWAP Force, you place the figures on a round illuminated “Portal of Power,” which attaches to your X-Box, Wii or PlayStation, etc., and that character will come to life in the video game on-screen. You can change your character at any time in the game, and each has its own distinct personality, set of powers and catchphrase.
They can be animals, monsters, sprites, or creatures I can’t really quite describe. My character of choice is named Eye-Brawl, to give you some idea.
Some characters are fast, some are clunky, but I think my son says it best: “they’re all COOL!” In fact, he was so excited when he first saw the display for the new game in the toy store, he ran home and immediately started drawing pictures of what he imagined the new Skylanders would look like! I guess he’s a little obsessed…
Skylanders SWAP Force is the third in this gaming series, and I think it’s easily the best one yet. Not only are there 16 brand new figures for the game — don’t worry, all the old figures from the earlier Skylanders games (Spyro’s Adventure and Giants) will work in SWAP Force – but these new figures have a very clever detail. A magnet in the middle holds them together, which means you can swap the tops and bottoms of the characters to create a total of 256 unique characters! The Skylander SWAP Force starter pack comes pre-packaged with two swappables and one standard character so if you buy even just two or three of the extra characters, you can make enough variations to keep it constantly interesting for your gamer.
The goal of the game is to go on several adventures through various levels to ultimately defeat the evil Kaos. Along the way you’ll have to open a lot of doors, fly a lot of planes, solve a lot of puzzles, collect a lot of gold coins and best of all, smash a lot of things!
Be warned: it’s not a game you and your child will complete in an afternoon, which is just as well, because it’s so much fun to explore and play! Also, the game is rated E10, meaning it’s suggested for kids 10 and up. I suspect that is because there is a lot of smashing things and firing flame shooters, harpoons, etc.-I always supervise my son when he plays, but frankly, I find the level of cartoon mayhem is safely below that of a Looney Toons’ Roadrunner cartoon. I like that the game helps him with his problem solving skills-he is actually much better at solving a lot of the puzzles than I am! He is also learning that it’s a lot better to team up with someone to defeat the bad guys than to go it alone!
Skylanders SWAP Force is not just a rehash of the previous two games. There is a lot more depth and variation in the play, and I doubt anyone could ever find all the unlockables! The gameplay is much smoother than other versions and the upgrade in the graphics alone make this game worth getting. It’s a lot more like real animation. I’m amazed at how good it looks – how vibrant, vivid and detailed the characters are, and for someone who grew up on Pac-Man, and I love him, as clunky as he was, it’s quite impressive!
Prices of Skylanders SWAP Force starter pack vary depending upon what platform your buying for. We have an Xbox 360 – so our kit retails for $74.99 – but I’m sure with the holiday season upon us, I’m sure you can find a good deal with Amazon, Toys R Us or even Game Stop to give or get as a gift!
With cold days and sloppy weather looming out here, I am happy my son and I will have a game we both enjoy playing to keep us busy and having fun throughout the long winter ahead!
— Thanks to Tyler for his review. I guess he’s given me fair warning as to what he & my son will be playing this winter!
Now it’s your turn to share. What’s your favorite video game to play?
For Full Disclosure: The Harried Mom was not compensated for this post, but did receive a complimentary copy of Skylanders SWAP Force Starter Pack for Xbox360 to review. As always, the opinions expressed in this post and on The Harried Mom blog are all my very own and are not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing any products as your opinion may differ.
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