Skylanders Trap Team for iPad, Android and Fire OS: Hands-on with the full console game on tablet
Skylanders has appeared on mobile platforms a couple of times in the past, but always in tie-in titles that featured the characters but not the gameplay of the hugely successful console game and toy franchise.
The technology has never really been up to scratch previously, and that's why Activision and Vicarious Visions have waited to attempt a full Skylanders experience for tablets.
Now the planets have finally aligned though and Skylanders Trap Team will be the first to be released on iPad, Android and Fire OS as well as on console. And it is an uncompromised version of the game, Pocket-lint was told during a briefing a day before the Gamescom madness begins. It looks like the full Trap Team, plays like the full Trap Team and, in fact, you'll get even more for your money with the tablet edition.
Although the game will be a free download for the different tablet platforms, with some initial levels being playable without spending a single penny, it comes into life when paired with a new Bluetooth LE portal. It will be available as part of a Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack, in much the same way as the console editions. Even the same two new Skylanders will be included - Snap Shot and Food Fight - and two of the new traps.
What is different is that the Traptanium Portal is compatible with iOS, Android and Fire OS, wireless and comes with a free controller that can be stored in the bottom.
The controller itself is also Bluetooth operated (and battery, with all five AAA batteries required for the controller and the portal included in the box). It is designed around a traditional console controller too, if a fair bit smaller, so effectively gives the mobile player the same tools as the console version.
In addition, the portal has been designed to include a slot in the side to house a tablet up to 12.2-inches in size. This means that a separate rest is not required and will all elements in place the entire unit becomes a complete Skylanders gaming machine.
In terms of gameplay, everything and everywhere in the console Skylanders Trap Team is included, but yet another bonus addition for the tablet version is that if the controller is not able to be used for any reason (on the move, for example) it can also be played through intuitive touchscreen controls.
And even if the portal is not available, and therefore no toy is synced to it, the game has two new "instant" versions of the Starter Pack characters that can be played digitally. Like normal Skylanders, they can be levelled up and assigned new skills, they just don't have physical counterparts. It means a kid can take Skylanders on the move with them without having to bring a backpack full of the figures.
In all other aspects, it's the full experience and Portal Masters can power up their toys through the mobile portal in just the same way as usual. And the tablet version is backwards compatible with all Skylanders figures that have appeared in the past.
Having played a bit of the game, we can confirm that it plays just like the console product. It also looks just as good (on the iPad mini with Retina display used during the test). The controller feels a bit light, perhaps, but that comes as no surprise considering. However, it does have all the buttons required, including two thumbsticks and R1, R2, L1 and L2 buttons.
The graphics are very impressive, looking much like the current generation consoles - just as colourful and detailed. And the cut scenes are exactly the same.
Vicarious Visions told us that kids play more on tablets these days than they do on regular games machines and if true we can only see that the developer and Activision have a sure hit on their hands.
Indeed, with many households already graced by a tablet device, it might help stave off that console purchase completely. And if that's the case, the £64.99 cover price for the tablet Starter Pack seems a bargain in comparison.
You can, after all, cable or mirror a tablet to a big screen anyway.
Skylanders Trap Team will be released on 10 October in the UK for iPad, Android, Fire OS, Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U and 3DS. A Starter Pack for each version costs £64.99.