Everything Trap Team

Given the fact that the past three years have resulted in a new Skylanders title like clockwork, it wasnít much of a surprise a couple of months ago when Activision and Toys for Bob announced another installment and another twist to the game that created the Toys to Life genre. We decided to take the time to talk about everything we know about Skylanders: Trap Team.

For the most part, Trap Team will be the same as past offerings. Of course, all of your past characters and magic items will be playable in the newest game, and the gameplay itself appears to be the tried and true action-RPG style that has worked for the series from the beginning. Of course, each Skylanders title tries to add just a little more to the gameplay and this release is no different. Where Skylanders: Swap Force gave all characters the ability to jump, Trap Team adds a ground pound attack to the mix.

While the aerial attack is nice, thatís not the biggest innovation Trap Team brings to the franchise. This time, you will be able to capture select villains and bring them into the real world as sort of a reverse of what you do with your figures. There are select bosses in the game that will give you the opportunity to capture them once you defeat them. In order to do so, you must have a Trap empty and ready for use. When prompted, you put the Trap in a special slot on the new Traptanium Ring portal (yes, another new portal) and suck the bad guy into it. Once properly captured, you will hear the bossís voice come from a speaker on the portal complaining about being caught, but it isnít long before something else happens - that bad guy turns good. Once captured, the former villain can be called on to fight for you.

So now, you will not only be able to have two Skylanders on your portal for 2-player mode, but with a filled Trap in the portal, you can switch one of those characters out for the character in the Trap. Supposedly, you donít need an empty Trap for each of the villains, just a elementally compatible one. Between levels in whatever this gameís hub world will be, you can visit the vault and swap out which characters are loaded into which Traps.

From what weíve been able to gather, there are 32 different enemies that you can capture, and it looks like Kaos himself will be one of them, though it looks like he gets a special Trap and I bet that is one that wonít be released until one of the later waves. Each villain has an associated element and only the correct type of Trap can grab him or her. For instance, Chompy Mage (a character weíve seen before), requires a Life type Trap to grab. Other enemies apparently include: Outlaw Brawl and Chain (Water), Broccoli Guy (Life), Buzzer Beak (Air Element), Chill Bill (Water), Krankcase (Tech), Riot Shield Shredder (Life) and Shrednaught (Tech).

Of course, Skylanders: Trap Team isnít all about the Traps. Since the gameís story has Kaos breaking the evil-doers out of a major prison, it seems only fitting that the new non-core characters be a type of Skylander bounty hunter group that this particular title is named after. We donít know about most of the Trap Team members yet, but we do know of four of the expected 16 characters. The most recently announced character is Gear Shift, a tech-based robotic female character that uses a giant Traptanium Gear as her weapon. Krypt King is an undead character that looks to be of Arkeyan design and he seems to wield a sword. Wallop is an earth type with two massive mallets, while the water type Snap Shot uses a bow and... sword. Yup, instead of shooting arrows with his bow, he fires his crystal sword at them. Thatís bound to do some extra damage.

Of the 18 new non Trap Team characters, we currently only know about three. Food Fight is a life type who appears to be an artichoke with legs, hands and a gun that shoots tomatoes. Chopper is a tech-savy T-Rex with a helicopter pack on his back, while Torch is a fire type who apparently fancies a flamethrower weapon.

So now for some speculation and conjecture, not really about Trap Team itself, but about where Skylanders will go with the game after this one. I wonít try and guess what the next major twist will be. I didnít see Giants coming and I surely didnít see either swappable characters or capturing enemies. Instead, I have to wonder how the traps will play into future games. For one, so far every toy or figure released has been usable in the later games. The only times when the purpose of the figure hasnít stayed the same has been with the Adventure Pack level model. In Giants, these didnít unlock the levels for you to play, instead they became magic items. Swap Force also used these toys as magic items, but it also brought back the ability to play those levels.

Now we have a new set of toys, Traps. Does this mean that every portal going forward will have to support a slot for the Trap to slip into? Will the idea of the Trap containing villains still hold after this game? I can see the Traps simply becoming magic items, but I wonder if future players will be a little disappointed that they wonít be able to play as the Chompy Mage or, of course, Kaos. If the Traps remain Traps, will you be able to capture more enemies in a future game? I actually doubt that last bit. Traps are firmly entwined with the idea of the Trap Team, and like Swap Force and the Giants before them, once the Skylander license moves on, you shouldnít expect new gameplay for those characters. For instance, itís already been confirmed that there wonít be any Swap Zones in Trap Team. So I wouldnít expect any more trapping in whatever comes afterwards, but if the Traps are still Traps, maybe all of the villains will be unlocked in whatever the future version of the Vault will be. After all, you donít have to find the Soul Gems of old characters in a new game, they are available to buy as soon as you can afford the upgrade.

The other bit of prediction I have is that Kaos wonít be the main enemy after Trap Team. Since the result of trapping an enemy is that you turn them good, the same should apply to Kaos once you finally shove him in his black Trap. If thatís the case and if the story doesnít simply have him somehow breaking free and turning evil again, I would expect this marks a turning point in the gameís overall story and some new bad guy will make his debut.

Like I said though, thatís a lot of guessing and predictions on my part. While I canít wait to start throwing money at the latest Skylanders title again, Iím also very curious as to where the series will go from here.

Skylanders: Trap Team is scheduled to come out this Fall for the Wii, Wii U, 3DS, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4. There is currently no word about how the portable version will differ from the consoles, but the past has showed us that it will be a completely different game. The Starter Packs will come with two figures (a Trap Team and a core), as well as the new portal, two traps and the standard set of stickers, cards and character poster. Hopefully, Activision will follow suit from last year and the figures that are included in the 3DS release will all be different from those with the console. That really made things handy for collectors.