What you wont like

This is going to hurt

The starter pack (two Swap Force figures, one Series 3 figure, a portal, and the game) will set you back $75, which I think is a great value. When you tack on 14 more Swap Force figures at $16 each, 16 all-new characters at $10 each, eight Light Core variants (which glow when placed on the portal) at $13 each, and 16 updated versions of previous characters (each with a new ability) at $10 each — not to mention several add-on adventure packs at $25 a shot — you’re already close to $800 for a complete set. And that’s not even including the special, retailer-specific color variants.

Check out a gallery of some of the new figures below:

Mommy! Daddy?


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While the inclusion of the jump button certainly makes for more varied gameplay, it also may add more challenge for the younger gamers in your household. Many of these leaps require good timing and placement (lining up at the very edge of a gap), and the bosses have some particularly damaging ground attacks that quickly exhaust the health of your Skylander if you don’t hop over them at just the right time. While more experienced players will appreciate the added challenge, expect more calls for help from the little ones.

A little light on the plot

Guess what? Kaos, the villain from the first two Skylanders games, is back. And he’s causing trouble again.

I realize that people aren’t going to purchase Skylanders: Swap Force because they’re expecting emotionally impactful storytelling. While the cutscenes are well done and often humorous, don’t be surprised by comically inept evildoers and Saturday-morning-cartoon level plot tropes. You’ll be much happier if you just accept the game for what it is and enjoy the lighthearted and somewhat predictable experience.


Despite the slightly higher cost of admission ($75 versus $60), and the addictive yet very wallet-unfriendly collectible aspect, Skylanders Swap Force is still a great game and a great value for the content and replayability you get right out of the box. While it’s not going to change the face of gaming in general, it improves upon the formula established by its predecessors in many appreciable ways and provides untold hours of entertainment.

PS3 Starter Pack

Above: Skylanders Swap Force PS3 Starter Pack

If you don’t mind the kid-friendly setting, it’s actually a very robust and well-constructed game that provides a wide variety of play and challenges for gamers of any skill level. If you’ve written off the series up until now, you may want to give Skylanders Swap Force a try. You may soon find yourself as I am now: caught up in a expertly crafted world, chasing after that next character upgrade or crazy-looking hat at 2 a.m. while my 4-year-old son is asleep and blissfully unaware of his father’s growing addiction.

At least I can pretend and tell his mommy that the next round of figures I buy are for him … .

Score: 90/100

Skylanders Swap Force launches Oct. 13 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, 3DS, Wii, and Wii U. Activision provided GamesBeat with a PS3 version and additional Skylanders Swap Force figures for this review.

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