[PS4 Christmas Gifts Review] Skylanders: Swap Force

by Ceidz, Owner

Christmas is over, and it’s time to review the games our kids received!

My oldest daughter received Skylanders: Swap Force (I’m pretty sure you already guessed it from the post title!) and we played all of it together. Out of the three first Skylanders game (Spyro’s Adventure, Giants, and this one), this is the one I liked the most!

Bring the Skylanders to Life! Embark on an exciting new adventure with the Skylanders and the SWAP Force. For generations, the SWAP Force protected the volcano that replenishes Skylands’ magic. That is until an epic battle caught them in an eruption that blasted them apart, sent them to Earth and gave them the ability swap powers. Only you can mix and match their tops and bottoms, put them on the new Portal of Power and help save Skylands.

Skylanders: “Just Like SWAP Force” Trailer

First of all, if you never played a Skylanders game, you have to know that the main feature of this franchise is that it comes with a “Portal of Power” and you must place physical toys – the Skylanders- on it and they come to life in the game. Skylanders can be played in couch co-op and has a difficulty level that is accessible to kids.

The first thing which stunned me is how great the main campaign is, and that it includes a good story that is easy for a young audience to follow. Each of the levels in the campaign is very well designed and lasts around 45 minutes. Some of them even offer grinding rail sequences (somewhat like those we’re used to seeing in the Ratchet & Clank series), and those were very fun to play!

A typical level has around 5 bonus zones, and they must be opened by a Skylander of the corresponding element (Air, Dark, Earth, Fire, Life, Light, Magic, Tech, Undead and Water) or a corresponding capability. Since the Starter Pack only comes with three characters (3 elements out of 8), you’ll notice very early in the game that you can’t open all the bonuses. This is what has been the greatest annoyance in every Skylanders game I’ve played, because my oldest daughter wanted to rush to the game shop to purchase the missing (and expensive) characters. It’s a good thing that none of this is mandatory to complete the game, or even to achieve the Platinum trophy!


Outside of the main campaign, you’ll be in a small town/hub in which you can talk to characters, select the next mission, do bonus missions, or challenge the arena. The arena was very fun to play, and it is very diversified and wasn’t too hard to complete. Since it took a few hours to get through, this adds to the total time you can spend in the game. Speaking of which, once the game is completed, the levels can be replayed in Time Attack (getting through as fast as you can) and Score Attack (getting as many points as possible), but since it needed replaying levels we had already completed, we only tried one of each.

And going back to the physical Skylanders, the ones for Swap Force add a new element to the game since they can be mix-and-matched, and they stick together thanks to very effective magnets. The upper and lower part of your Skylanders also level up and upgrade independently, which was very cool. Every earlier Skylander from Spyro’s Adventure or Giants is also compatible with this game, so you’re totally invited to take your older Skylanders and play with them again. The portal is USB-powered and is very responsive. It’s a very nice step forward from the first Skylanders game I had which came with a wireless portal: back then I needed over 3 sets of battery to get through the main campaign!

Final Thoughts
I loved playing Skylanders: Swap Force with my daughter. The level design is impeccable, the campaign has a good length (roughly 10-15 hours long) and it can also be extended with the many things to do outside the main quest. In true Skylander fashion, you won’t be able to complete 100% of the levels with just the Starter Pack as you only get 3 Skylanders out of 8 possible elements, BUT it’s never mandatory to purchase more as the campaign can be completed with only the Starter Pack.

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