Skylanders: Trap Team

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Skylanders: Trap Team Game Poster Image
Awesome toy-driven adventure lets you turn villains good.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn a bit about strategy and puzzle solving while practicing cooperation and teamwork in this engaging action/adventure game. Combat encourages players to experiment with their Skylanders' various abilities and learn to recognize and use patterns in enemy behavior. If kids play with a friend, they'll need to coordinate tactics to succeed. Outside of combat, players will encounter a card game that demands keen observation and wise decision making in order to defeat computer controlled opponents. Lock puzzles, meanwhile, require kids to examine boards filled with hazards in order to work out how to move characters to a goal area. Skylanders: Trap Team is clearly intended simply to entertain, but kids need to think a bit to earn their fun. 

Positive Messages

The story (locate and capture dozens of escape villains) is a pretty standard good-versus-evil plot, without much in the way of moral gray areas, but it does suggest that fighting is often the best or only way to solve problems.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Skylanders are basically just fighters. They don't say much beyond their signature catch phrases. A variety of non-player characters -- including series regular Flynn -- drive the story forward with honorable motives, which include protecting Skylands and capturing escaped villains. Captured villains become playable characters and sometimes talk about how they're adapting to becoming a force for good.

Ease of Play

Standard action game controls and multiple difficulty levels make this an easy game for kids of all skill and ability levels to start playing. Some parts of the game -- such as boss fights – are a little harder than others, but the more Skylanders characters kids have, the easier it is to make it through these slightly trickier spots. The new ability to swap to a captured villain with the tap of a button gives players another way to avoid defeat.

Violence & Scariness

Player-controlled Skylanders use swords, bows, guns, hammers, punches, kicks, and magic to attack a variety of fantastical creatures. Defeated enemies fall to the ground and quickly disappear. Skylanders never die but do need to rest until recovered. The highly cartoonish action is viewed from a raised, third-person perspective, and isn't particularly intense. No blood or gore.  

Language
Consumerism

The game encourages players to purchase toys, including Skylanders figurines and Trap crystals, to enhance the experience. They aren't required to complete the game, and all characters from previous Skylanders games are supported, but special Trap Master characters and Trap crystals are necessary in order to unlock secret areas and use villain characters to complete special quests. Purchasing one Trap Master character and Trap crystal for each element (so that you can access all locked content) costs around $125 at suggested retail prices. Collecting all associated toys costs hundreds of dollars more.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Skylanders: Trap Team is an action/adventure game in which kids control fantastical creatures, each of which has its own real-world toy counterpart. Players fight a variety of non-human enemies as they try to protect Skylands from a group of escaped villains. The shtick this time around is that kids can pull these villains out of the game and "trap" them in plastic crystals, then summon them as playable characters when needed. Like other Skylanders games, the cartoon violence is frequent but relatively mild. Characters use weapons including swords, guns, and magic in their attacks, but defeated enemies simply fall to the ground and disappear. Keep in mind that Skylanders: Trap Team will tempt kids to buy additional toys to enhance the game experience. Kids can use their existing collection of Skylanders toys from previous games to help limit costs, but they'll need to spend at least $125 beyond the price of the starter pack to be able to unlock all of the game's secret areas and special quests.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 year old Written bymaguys May 23, 2015

children love this

i just find it very annoying that it is so blatantly money grabbing. The toys themselves are beautiful but these guys know what they are doing in influencing ki... Continue reading
Adult Written bygeorge_anghel September 6, 2015

Skylanders bad investment. low replayability.

Bought the game for my 8yrs old plus a 10+ toys. that burned my pocket as it was 5 games (!) Bad choice! 2 wks and he's bored as hell. Finished the game.... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 27, 2014

Good Game but will suck the money out of you

I've played all of the Skylanders games & there isn't any real blood & its cartoon violence. It actually has puzzles which you make yo... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 3, 2015

Good game but expensive

It is a really good game but it is also very expensive. I mean the starter pack is 75$! Can you believe it? The storyline is good and it is funny there are some... Continue reading

What's it about?

Skylands is teeming with even more bad guys than usual in SKYLANDERS: TRAP TEAM, another addition to the series that popularized the concept of teleporting collectible toy figurines into a game where they become playable characters. This time around, players quickly learn that a prison made of "traptanium" has been breached, flooding the land with villains. Dispatched to recapture these criminals are the Trap Masters, the primary new collectible Skylanders figures for this edition. There are dozens of other collectible figures as well -- including both original and returning characters, some of whom come in new "mini" forms -- but Trap Masters of specific elements are required to access secret areas in each level. When a villain is defeated, players can trap him or her in a special toy crystal that corresponds to the villain's element by placing the crystal in a slot on the portal. The crystal will light up, and the imprisoned baddie's voice will begin emanating from the portal, creating a convincing illusion that he or she has been brought into the real world. Once trapped, villains become playable and begin fighting for good rather than evil. Specific villains are required to unlock and play certain quests found in each level. Players also get to explore a constantly expanding hub world called Skylanders Academy, with a host of activities ranging from a music rhythm game to a tower defense-like series of challenges that pit the Skylanders against long-time series antagonist Kaos. They'll also solve lock puzzles, play a card-like game called Skystones Smash, and collect and equip a range of stat-altering hats and new trinkets. 

Is it any good?

You could argue that trapping villains in real-world crystal traps is just a gimmick to create even more toys for parents to buy their kids, but if it is, then it's a compelling one. Encountering a new villain in Skylanders: Trap Team is exciting for plenty of reasons. For starters, it signals the start of a fun new boss battle, and there are dozens of them in the game. More than that, it means you're about to get a new playable character with original moves and often a truly witty personality (villains talk and joke much more than Skylanders). Since one (relatively) cheap crystal is all you need to capture all villains of a specific element -- and some elements have as many as six associated villains -- it feels like these characters are almost free compared to the relatively expensive Skylanders characters. The "enemy quests" available to specific villains are just gravy.

Trap Team raises the series' bar in other ways, too. The controls feel smoother than ever, thanks largely to the new and long-awaited ability to attack while jumping. Visually, the series has never looked better. Characters' bodies are nicely textured and gleam in the light, and the environments -- filled with blooming flowers and icky swamps -- are vivid with detail. And with around 15 playable female characters -- including three tough female Trap Masters -- girls shouldn’t feel left out the way they did with 2013's Skylanders: Swap Force. Unlikely as it may be, Skylanders is one annual franchise that just seems to get better with each new game. So long as you're willing to endure its demands on your pocketbook, Skylanders: Trap Team is an easy recommendation for any family.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about being responsible consumers. Budgets are finite, and a game like this one can prove costly. Chat with your parents to figure out how much you can afford to spend, research the characters you're interested in purchasing and how they will affect your play experience, and then shop accordingly.

  • Discuss cooperative play. Do you enjoy playing games alone or with friends? What advantages are associated with each? Is there anything about Skylanders games in particular that makes them better or worse to play with friends?

Game details

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