Well, well, well.
Skylanders SuperChargers, which comes out on September 20, will be the first Skylanders game with competitive multiplayer. We just learned a lot of new details about Skylanders SuperChargers, thanks to announcements made at Gamescom.
Here’s what’s new:
Racing Mode: Online and Local
SuperChargers is all about the vehicles, and you can’t have vehicles without racing. There will be two-person split-screen races in Skylanders SuperChargers, and you can race up to four players online. At this point it sounds like it has a lot of similarities to Mario Kart—and believe me, that’s not a bad thing. There are three-lap races littered with power-ups and hidden routes.
There are some differences, though. Since your vehicle in Skylanders is a physical toy that you actually own, it stands to reason that those vehicles would be pretty unique in the game. Each one will have two weapons (a light attack and a heavy attack) that you can use to sabotage other players. You build up to these attacks by collecting power cells throughout the course. Don’t confuse these with power ups, which are the closest thing to Mario Kart’s items. Like Mario Kart, you don’t know what you’ll get when you hit one. But unlike Mario Kart, whatever you get goes into effect immediately—no saving power ups for the most opportune moment.
Apart from these races, there are separate Challenges that are character-specific. Buy more figures, unlock more Challenges. There are 20 in total.
Usually Skylanders allows two-person cooperative play in the adventure mode of the game. This will be the same in SuperChargers, but there will also be online adventure mode, and you can voice chat with friends—only friends. If you’re playing online with a stranger, voice chat will be disabled.
When you purchase the Skylander SuperChargers Starter Pack ($74.99) you get six tracks. That makes two tracks for each of the different environment types: land, sea, and air. But there’s more on the way.
Skylanders games have offered up waves and waves of new character figures, but for the first time Skylanders SuperChargers will provide expansion content in the form of “Racing Action Packs.” There will be one expansion pack for each environment, and I can guarantee that they won’t be the last expansions we’ll see for this game.
The Racing Action Packs also contain one new vehicle, one new Skylander figure, and a villain trophy. The villain trophy will grant you two new tracks and two new game modes.
There are 12 of these trophies total, 4 for each environment type. You can fight and defeat the villains, then store your chosen character on the trophy toy and use it like you would a regular Skylander.
Skylanders SuperChargers Racing
Not to be confused with Racing Mode, although it certainly will be. Racing is its own game, available for the Wii and the 3DS. This pure racing game has more tracks and supports online and local multiplayer.
Basically it seems like the basic adventure mode of Skylanders may be too hefty for these systems to handle. That’s why there’s a separate racing-only version just for Wii and Nintendo 3DS. However the figures from this starter pack will still work on the Wii U, which means that yes, your Bowser and Clown Cruiser Skylander/amiibo will work on the Wii U, even if they are only available in the Wii Starter Pack.
As usual, my head is reeling with all the new stuff Skylanders is offering. There’s a lot to buy, but in this case that means there’s also a lot of gameplay content.
Being inspired by Mario Kart—which they almost certainly were—isn’t a bad thing. Plus, since you can for the first time buy hybrid amiibo/Skylanders, it seems Nintendo has given their seal of approval.
Online play is something that’s been lacking in the Skylanders franchise until now, and they’ve gone about adding it in a way that’s kid-friendly and safe.
Look out for our review of Skylanders SuperChargers in September.