This E3, Activision and Vicarious Visions invited us to stop on by to check out the new Skylanders Superchargers , the latest entrant into the Toys to Life genre. This time around, the brand new mechanic is vehicles! We got a chance to see these new vehicles in action and check out a never before seen portion of the game.
The story of Skylanders Superchargers goes like this. Chaos has returned (again) and this time he has his very own machine of destruction, called the Doomstation of Ultimate Doomstruction. This monstrosity actually eats the sky out of the Skylands. It’s up to you, as a Skylander, to find a way to take this monster machine down.
Skylanders Superchargers will introduce 20 new Skylanders figures with 20 new vehicles to choose from. These vehicles will be sorted into three main categories, land, air, and sea, but will take many different forms, from cars to construction equipment, motorcycles, planes, helicopters, space ships, boats, submarines, and more. Each vehicle has its own elemental affinity, along with an affinity for one particular Skylanders figure. If you put this Skylanders figure together with the vehicle on the portal, both will become supercharged. This changes the appearance and increases the stats and abilities of rider and vehicle alike. Eight of the new Skylanders figures will be re-imaginings of old favorite characters, and each one will have a vehicle they will have an affinity with.
The platforming sections of Skylanders Superchargers are basically what you would expect. You’ll have many arena sections, simple sliding block puzzles, a couple jumping puzzles, but nothing too crazy complicated. What’s interesting is that the way that you complete some of these puzzles can effect the way the rest of the stage plays out. For example, we were shown a boss battle where a boss sounds a huge alarm. You can complete the boss battle without destroying the alarm, but doing so causes you to be harassed by small mobs of enemies for the rest of the stage.
The vehicle sections are incredibly different, usually with 2 or 3 different game types for each vehicle. The land vehicles, for example, had sections that were both reminiscent of Twisted Metal style vehicular combat, and straightforward racing sections where you rocket toward a goal. We even saw a particularly interesting racing section where we raced across a flying dragon’s back.
Air sections are split up between rail style shooters and 3D dogfighting sections, both of which feel very much like Star Fox . Apparently there is also the possibility of 2D Gradius style sections too, though nothing was confirmed at this time.
Underwater sections are both 2D and 3D and involve both naval battles and “treasure hunt” style gameplay where you find several objects tucked away in corners of the map. Activision said that there are several more types of gameplay to come and you will see multiple types throughout a stage.
That being said, you don’t need to use vehicles to complete the game. Every vehicle section is optional. So if you just want a traditional Skylanders experience, you can have that too.
Vehicles are also completely customizable. As you play through the game you will pick up gear bits that can be used to swap in and out parts on your vehicle. This will affect the vehicles’ handling, weight, power, armor, speed, and more. It will also change up the vehicles primary and secondary attack (usually some form of gun attack and homing attack). Each vehicle will have 12 different mods.
Note this part swapping takes place wholly within the game, and not with the physical toy. However, it is worth noting that Skylanders vehicle figures don’t have bases and do have moving parts, like propellers and wheels, so they can be played with just like normal action figures. Just don’t put any of the boats in water.
We were shown two Skylander/vehicle combinations in our demo. Deep Dive Gill Grunt is a fish diver who has affinity with the Reef Ripper, a steampunk style submarine. Spit Fire is an older Skylander who has affinity with Hot Streak, a hot rod car that uses a flame thrower. However, as is always the case with Skylanders , you can use your entire Skylanders collection with Superchargers, and they can all drive whatever vehicle they want. You can also use your trapped baddies from Skylanders Trap Team , and while you can’t actually trap he baddies from this game, or summon your trapped baddies into the world, you can convert them into special mods and bonuses for your vehicles, or even special collectible cards.
The game once again has a full co-op mode, but you only ever get to play with one vehicle. When two players are playing, one will hop into the vehicle as the driver and another will hop in as a gunner. If either is the Skylander who has an affinity for the vehicle, the vehicle will be supercharged.
But what is most cool about Skylanders Superchargers , is that you don’t need a new portal to play it. You can actually download a digital copy of the game, and play with whatever portal you have lying around. Note, that some portals may be too small for both vehicles and cars, but Activision assured us that unless you are using two of the biggest figures and the biggest vehicle on the smallest portal around, it will likely fit.
Skylanders Superchargers will release on September 20.