Skylanders Imaginators (Switch) Hands-on Preview

by Daan Koopman - January 15, 2017, 12:56 pm PST
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The latest Skylanders is coming to Nintendo Switch, with the first appearance of an important feature on a console.

Skylanders Imaginators came out a couple of months ago, and I was honestly disappointed with the game as a whole. It wasn't a bad game, but elements that I enjoyed previously were nowhere to be found. Next to that, the game didn't play well on the Wii U in the slightest. The framerate was a hot mess and owners of multiple platforms were better off on Xbox One or PlayStation 4. Fastforward to January and Activision announced a brand new version for the Nintendo Switch. Has it been improved? In some ways, without a doubt.

The main thing is that the same content as the other versions can be found here. You cruise around with your Skylanders to fight the evil Kaos and make sure he pays for these wrongdoings. You do this by doing some platforming, defeating enemies and solving puzzles in large scaled 3D environments. It mixes and matches various genres together in a way that is desirable. One aspect that I've always enjoyed about the Skylanders games are the characters. A figurine that I've used every game is Stealth Elf as deceiving enemies is always fun.

With this specific version of Imaginators however, things are a little different. I can now bring my personal version of Stealth Elf wherever I go without the need for a Portal of Power. The portal, which usually connects to a USB port, has been an element in every entry of the game. Even with the Nintendo 3DS, you still needed it initially to connect with your game. Now, for the first time, the starter pack doesn't include in the slightest. Instead, you will scan in figurines on the Joy-Con's NFC Reader/Writer, which can be found on top of the right Joy-Con’s stick.

While that is crazy in itself, you might be wondering if you still need to bring that figurine with you. According to an Activision representative, you will only need to rescan the figurine if you want to save progress to it. In other instances, you can save up figurines in a digital library, where up to 300 files of characters can be kept. This is huge news for Skylanders fans who want to play their game on the go without the need of the portal or their figurines. It is going to be a gamechanger as swapping and placing items is no longer a requirement.

For the rest, I can say that the game runs wonderfully on the Nintendo Switch. There is a solid framerate and performance is silky smooth. I adore playing it solely on the tablet as it remains a beefy adventurous game that you can spend dozens of hours with. With its new digital library, it is made for the road, with precise movements on the sticks and buttons. Where I am unsure is how this game will function in local multiplayer. Previous iterations would let you play with two players on the same screen, so it is hard to say how the company will pull this off. Do you need two Joy-Cons each or will one suffice? I sadly wasn't able to try this aspect of the game.

I am, at the very least, intrigued to give Skylanders Imaginators another shot on the Nintendo Switch. The changes that they are making seem good and I loved how it ran on both the console and tablet. The local multiplayer remains a huge question mark, but time will tell how it all comes together. A chance is what it deserves in my book!

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Genre Action
Developer Toys for Bob

Worldwide Releases

na: Skylanders Imaginators
Release Mar 03, 2017
RatingEveryone 10+
eu: Skylanders Imaginators
Release Mar 03, 2017
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