By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on October 25, 2016
I was literally as happy as a kid at Christmas time last week, when a package arrived at my house. Presents?! I love presents! Especially if I don't know what's in them. I carefully opened the package (read: ripped the packing paper to shreds) and beheld a most majestical sight: the Skylanders: Imaginators Starters pack. I think I probably jumped up and down out of sheer joy for about ten minutes before calming down. We had already had our first taste of this all-new Skylanders adventure during Gamescom 2016, after which I just couldn't wait to finally be able to get my hands on the full version!
In Skylanders: Imaginators, everybody's favorite villain has returned. Yes boys and girls, Kaos is back! And, what's more, he has another evil plan to destroy Skylands once and for all. This time, he has discovered an ancient magic, called Mind Magic. By using this Mind Magic, Kaos is able to create an army of evil Doomlanders that will do his bidding. Luckily, Master Eon has has taken appropriate action; He has summoned Sensei Skylanders to protect the Skylands. (Two of which are included in the Starters pack) After that, he calls on every Portal Master (that's you guys and girls out there!) he could find to help the Skylanders defeat Kaos and his Doomlander army.
And with success! The Doomlanders put up a good fight, but Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams and myself were just better. This was very annoying for Kaos, so he set his mind on finding the Helm of Ultimate Wisdom, which gives its user awesome powers and would enable Kaos to create the most undefeatable creatures in the world. As you can probably imagine, that would be a bad thing! So, it's up to us, brave Portal Masters to stop Kaos from getting his greedy little hands on this legendary Helm. Sadly, our efforts are thwarted by Kaos' evil army, and he steals the helm and takes its power for his own. This power, however, is divided among all Portal Masters. From that moment on, you are able to create your own Skylander.
As opposed to previous Skylanders games, Imaginators lets you create your very own Skylander. This is done by using Imaginate Crystals. These magical Crystals each have the power to hold one tailor-made Skylander for you to play with and to level-up. The only down-side to this is that, after you create your character, it's permanently tied to that specific Crystal. So be as creative as you like when putting together your own Skylander, but choose your Battle Class wisely. If you're not really at home with playing a brawler character, don't create one, thinking you can just reset it if it doesn't work the way you'd hoped, because you simply can't. Is this a bad thing? Well, some people might think so, but I'm not one of those people. Seeing as how Skylanders have always been aimed at a young audience, I think it isn't bad at all when kids learn that their decisions have consequences. Sure, it's much easier to keep a kid quiet by giving it everything it wants, but the result of taking that road will inevitably be a spoiled little brat. And let's be honest, we already have enough of those, don't we?
Let's get back to the Imaginators! As I've mentioned earlier, every Imaginate Crystal can hold one Imaginator Skylander. You can build your character from scratch or, if you're a bit on the lazy side, let the game randomly generate one for you. We chose to build a Skylander from scratch and I must say, it's really part of the fun of playing Imaginators. You can choose from a wide array of parts to build your own Skylander; Heads, shoulders, torso, legs, tail; even your catchphrase is customizable. As you play through the Imaginatos campaign, you will discover additional parts that let you further customize your personal Skylander.
So what about the Sensei Skylanders you mentioned at the start of the game? Oh yes, I almost forgot about them! Every new sensei that is brought into the game, increases the level cap of your Skylanders. The first Sensi you place on you very cool-looking Portal of Power sets the level-cap at level 16. Every subsequent Sensei you bring into the game, increases this level –cap by one, effectively enabling you to make your Skylanders stronger than ever before! Each Sensei comes equipped with a special attack that you can learn and use. The cool thing about the Senseis is that they are optional. If you don't want to bother with too much leveling up, you could also finish the game without them. But, seeing as how they are FREAKING AWESOME, I can't think of a single reason why anyone would want to!
I absolutely love that the idea of creating your own Skylander is added to the game, because of all the letters and drawings the developers received from kids, containing all kinds of ideas for new Skylanders. Instead of making all of them, they came up with a system that lets players create their own Skylanders. It's great that developers listen to their fans and give them what they want, don't you agree? Big thumbs up for Toys for Bob! The system itself is easy to use and works like a charm! It lets you create a Skylander in no time flat and it is even really fun to do, so that's another plus.
Besides creating your own Skylander there is a whole new world to discover and a new story to play. I love that Kaos is involved again. Spyro and Stealth Elf are guiding you through the cutscenes of the adventure and during the game you'll come across a lot of other familiar Skylanders. And, of course, Skylanders: Imaginators is also equipped with backwards compatibility, which means you can use all the Skylanders figurines that you already own to play this really, really cool game.
Skylanders: Imaginators contain all the great things I loved about the previous games. Specific Skylanders are stronger in some environments, there is a new mini game to learn and it all looks beautiful and colorful as always. A new variation of the sliding puzzles, complete with the cute looking little lock-monster is also present. As opposed to the sliding puzzles is previous games, (where, when you play in coop mode, the first player who enters this game was the one who get to play, and hopefully solve, the puzzle), Imaginators takes a somewhat different approach. This time, you need to work together to solve said puzzles, each player taking alternating turns in which they can make one move.
With everything said and done, Skylanders Imaginators offers a great new adventure which you can enjoy with all your "old" Skylanders and also twenty unique Sensei Skylanders (plus all kinds of variants) including an old friend: Crash Bandicoot! The most awesome addition, however, is definitely being able to create your own Skylander. Skylander fans will be ecstatic about this brand new installment in the series and for people who never played it before; it's an awesome game to start your Skylanders adventure with! Skylander Imaginators is an awesome gift for your kids, especially if you put them in bed early so you can play it yourself!