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    Skylanders:Trap Team, Gotta catch them all!

    With the Festive Season in full swing (a trip to any mall since the end of October resulted in tons of Christmas decorations on display already) it is hardly surprising that Activision are positioning their milking stool next to their biggest cash-cow once again. But that’s not always a bad thing, particularly if the product that is being “exploited” is one that brings a lot of joy to its target market. Sure, Skylanders may result in lighter wallets for parents around the globe, but the easy-going nature of the title, as well as the family friendly plot, characters and overall dynamics, make it a quick win for keeping the kids happy and out of your hair. And while the release of Skylanders: Trap Team brings a whole new bunch of collectible figurines to store shelves (as well as a new portal) it also provides a new lease on life for the characters from the three major iterations that came before. Every character from Spyro’s Adventure, Giants and Swap Force can be used with Trap Team, meaning that all the money already spent on the Skylanders obsession hasn't been thrown down a bottomless pit.

    That said, Trap Team doesn't bring anything new to the table for characters from previous games. Skill upgrades for older characters simply don’t exist. Added to that is the fact that Trap Team is particularly generous with loot, so upgrading characters is pretty quick. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, particularly when youngsters are playing, but older players may find the progression of characters a touch too quick.

    In addition to a whole new adventure and new characters, Trap Team brings a new idea to the table that can be extremely satisfying (and can expand the list of playable characters without needing to buy a whole lot of figurines. The traps that give the game its name allow the player to capture bad guys and use them within the game. These characters cannot be upgraded, but each has a contrition mission that is unique to them. Some are great, but others feel a little lacklustre.

    What’s great about them is that the player can switch between their main, figurine character and active trapped character instantly, and all trapped characters are stored so that traps can be preloaded with the player’s favourites. You need specific traps for specific bad guys, though, so there is some expenditure involved (the starter kit comes with traps for two of the game’s numerous character-governing elements).

    The game also provides a wave-style survival challenge, which carries a slight, element based tower defence idea with it. And then, of course, there is lots of exploring to do, as well as areas specific to certain character elements and the like.

    In addition, the Skystones mini-game has made a welcome return, and has been revamped.

    All in all, it’s a good addition to the franchise. Aside from straining budgets, Skylanders is a great option for kids, and the cross compatibility of figures makes it an awesome option for youngsters who want a more social gaming experience. Overall, despite a few niggles here and there, Skylanders: Trap Team is a fantastic title for kids of all ages, and although the difficulty level is aimed at younger players, it can be an extremely enjoyable distraction for the whole family. The new elements aren't revolutionary, but they do add fun new twists and turns to the game, and make this into a worthwhile addition to the library for Skylanders fans.

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