Skylanders Imaginators review – The power of Imagination

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The Toys to Life landscape has changed immensely over the last year. Disney Infinity has been discontinued and Nintendo hasn’t focused on releasing many amiibo compared to how many we saw in late 2014 to late 2015. While both Lego Dimensions and Skylanders, the series that first brought us the concepts of Toys to Life, continue to go strong.

Since the initial release of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure back in 2011, Activision has released a new installment of the series every year since then. The development of the series has been split between two different studios (Toys for Bob and Beenox). While this gives each studio a chance to come up with a new concept for the series, it has led to a few of the releases feeling more like a gimmick to sell more toys rather than a way to create and expand such a wonderful franchise. Luckily, the latest installment of the series Skylanders Imaginators stands out as one of the best releases right behind the original Spyro’s Adventure.

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The game brings the most powerful tool to players, the ability to create your very own Skylander character to life by using the brand new Creation Crystal. It’s a fun concept being able to bring a character to life from the ground up and something I spent a lot of time playing with since you are able to control pretty much every aspect of a character from their body, head, size, color, aura, voice, music and sound effects, catchphrase, weapons and special abilities. While there are various battle classes you can select from including Brawlers, Mages, Ninjas, Swashbucklers and more, it’s also important to know that once you select a battle class, it’s permanently set to your creation crystal. While you are able to completely change your created Skylander, you won’t be able to change their class again.

Aside from the Imaginators, another new line of characters added the game are Senseis. Many of the Senseis are reformed villains who appeared in previous Skylander games such as Golden Queen and Wolfgang from Trap Team. A few others are returning characters or even new faces that are much stronger than your average Skylander. Senseis serve a few different purposes. The first one is that each Sensei you play as, you upgrade the level cap of your characters by 1. Playing more Senseis will let you reach higher levels. You also unlock special loot for each Sensei you play, as well as a new special technique for characters in the same class as your Sensei.

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The story for the series isn’t that impressive. Kaos is trying to destroy the Skylanders once again and tries to create the perfect Doomlander after stealing a book with a powerful spell. It’s more of the same but with a few new twists. It’s the character interactions and silly lines by some great voice actors that really make this enjoyable. The game focuses more on exploration and combat, similar to the original series which I really enjoyed. It has a role-playing feel to it since you collect experience orbs to level up, unlock new ability to equip and collect stronger equipment to improve your characters stats.

Overall, Activision and Toys for Bob did a great job with Skylanders Imaginiators. It’s a game that players of all ages can easily enjoy. It does have a bit of a pay-to-play wall to unlocking certain areas, so you may need to spend a little more money outside of the starter pack to really take advantage. Even if you only pick up a few extra Senseis ($14.99 each) and creation crystals ($9.99 each), you still have a full adventure to enjoy together with friends or even by yourself. Of course, any of the previous Skylanders you’ve acquired over the years will work with Skylanders Imaginators. It’s something I’ve really come to enjoy about the Skylander series, because the toy you first bought five years ago is still usable and playable rather than being stored away to never be used again.

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If you aren’t sure what starter pack to get, I’d recommend the Crash Bandicoot set. It is a bit more expensive compared to the standard starter pack but includes the Crash Bandicoot and Dr. Neo Cortex Sensei figure with a special Wompa Island stage, or the Dark Edition starter pack which includes on extra sensei and two extra creation crystals. Since I reviewed the Dark Edition starter pack, it will be a while before I can get a hold of Crash if he is ever released outside of the Crash Edition starter pack.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B(1)

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