All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Skylanders: Trap Team

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Beenox
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Family/ RPG/ Platformer (3D)

Graphics & Sound:

As has always been the case with the Nintendo 3DS versions of Skylanders games, Trap Team isn't the same game that you would find on the consoles (or the iPad this time around). Instead, the 3DS' Skylanders: Trap Team takes the villain-trapping mechanic in a different direction while also building heavily on the framework of the previous 3DS titles.

From a presentation point of view, Trap Team looks and sounds good. Obviously, you aren't going to get the kind of graphics and fidelity that you will see on the consoles, but what this game offers is solid. Everything from the levels to the Skylanders to the enemies on the screen are detailed enough so that you can tell exactly what you are looking at. Even Skylanders that have minimal differences (like the pallet swaps between Legendary and non-Legendary versions) are noticeable enough to make you feel like the toy you can physically hold was sent into the game.

From an audio perspective, Trap Team's music sets the setting for each level rather well, and each of the NPC or trapped-villain's voices do their jobs. While the 3DS' trapped villain isn't as chatty as the console version's, it does make the occasional remark and will react to tapping it, spinning it or even tickling it on the touch screen. The Skylanders themselves also have voices, but their range of comments tend to be small and infrequent.


Skylanders: Trap Team's adventure has you helping Eon in the Eternal Archives. It seems one of his helpers has read the wrong book and accidentally cast a spell on Skylands. Now everybody is falling asleep and their nightmares are coming out into the real world. Eon has called upon you and your Skylanders to help wake everyone up and end the spell.

The Eternal Archives is broken up into five sections, and each of the levels ends in a boss fight that, when won, puts a new trapped villain in your collection. You will not need the Trap Crystals used in the console versions in order to capture these enemies. Instead, you just need to perform the necessary swirling motion on the touch screen and the captured enemy falls into the lower screen of the 3DS, ready to be called upon to perform its attack.

The use of the trapped villains is actually another difference between this version of the game and the others. Where the consoles swap your Skylander out for the converted villain, when you summon your defeated foe in this game, they appear and perform some kind of devastating attack. Afterwards, they return to their crystal (the 3DS' lower screen) and a counter starts denoting their cool-down time.

Like Skylanders: Swap Force, you aren't relegated to a select few Skylanders. Once again, you can load up as many characters as you like (provided you have the patience to keep the portal synced with the 3DS). This, of course, means that you aren't relegated to the Trap Team characters as the game easily accepts all previous toys, but you do get a bit of a bonus if you use the Trap Masters. If you are fighting with one of the new big characters, then an extra bar appears on the HUD. This one slowly fills as you collect enemy drops that look like trap crystals. Once full, you can activate a powerful attack that will damage, if not destroy, all of the enemies on the screen. Between this attack and the ability to call upon trapped villains, you will have quite a few options when taking on some of the game's bosses, though you will probably not really find a use for these powerful attacks while running through the rest of the level, but more on that later.

Skylanders: Trap Team also brings back the Skystones mini-game. Like before, this tile-game has you and an opponent battle for control over a board. When you place a tile down, the number of teeth on each side of the tile is compared to the number of teeth on an adjacent tile, and if you have more, the enemy tile flips to your color. While there are plenty of times when you have to play this game in order to progress the story, a new feature with Trap Team is the ability to look for opponents online.


As I hinted above, Skylanders: Trap Team isn't a very difficult game. The levels themselves throw a steady stream of enemies at you, but never anything that truly overwhelms your character. There are three difficulty settings, and while the Hard Mode does seem to take a bit more effort, with a properly leveled set of characters, or simply with enough characters stored in your game system, there really isn't anything keeping a player from making their way through the story with any kind of challenge.

Of course, a lot of that has to do with the aforementioned condition of "enough characters," and that has been an odd aspect of the series since the beginning. Short of trying to get goals like not losing any characters, Skylanders becomes increasingly easier to get through, the more characters you have at the ready. The only real difference here is that those characters need to be pre-loaded onto the 3DS where the console versions will wait for you to dig up a character you didn't expect you would need.

Game Mechanics:

While the 3DS version of Skylanders: Trap Team uses the same figures and accessories as the console version, this game doesn't really see the Skylanders in the same way as the other versions. Since the characters don't stay on a portal and the game doesn't constantly update the information on the figure itself (like the other versions do), then the figure doesn't "know" when it levels up or when it gets money. This has been the case since the first game, and because of that, the characters have similar looking attacks, but the game doesn't try to stick to the same ability tree. Actually, with Swap Force's added ability to import more than just a couple of characters, the need to try to keep the figures synced up felt far less important. With the first couple of games, you could only keep two characters at a time, so you needed to keep swapping them with other elements in order to see all the game had to offer. That feeling of not having to keep your characters synced continues to go away with Trap Team, and quite frankly, that's fine. It keeps the two game separated, but still tied together by shared characters and a shared collection of figures.

The 3DS version of Skylanders never really has the same big-feel as its console brothers, but it is still typically a fun game, and ever since the 3DS starter packs have been packaged with different figures than the console versions, there is even more incentive for fans of the series, especially those who are bitten by the collector's bug, to pick up the 3DS version. Where the console releases of Skylanders: Trap Team come with Snapshot and Food Fight, the 3DS version contains the air element Trap Master, Gusto, as well as the life mini, Barkley, a figure you can't get elsewhere during the launch release.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Related Links:

Sony PlayStation4 NAtURAL DOCtRINE Sony PlayStation4 Skylanders: Trap Team

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated