Activision have just announced Skylanders Trap Team Tablet edition and I got to play with it at Gamescom in Cologne.
Children (and some adults) love Skylanders, that's a fact, but the biggest problem has been needing to be at home with the console to play it. Well all that changes now with the introduction of the tablet edition of Skylanders Trap Team (que many parents breathing a huge sigh of relief).
It comes in a starter pack that includes a Bluetooth Portal of Power, a controller, Food Fight and Snap Shot, two traps and a tray to keep it all together. The controller and the portal of power connect to the tablet (either an iOS, Android or FireOS device) using the Bluetooth low energy standard, which means longer lasting playtime (and quieter children). Both devices take AAA batteries (the controller takes 2 and the portal takes 3). Pairing the devices to your tablet is simple - just open the game and press the button on the device - simple as that!
The controller is stored on the underside of the portal of power making it very easy to transport. The controller itself is smaller than an usual console controller as it has been designed for smaller hands. It is however easy and comfortable to use and is Skylanders branded.
If you want to play the game in co-op mode then you can either use another controller or you can use another supported controller or gamepad.
The game itself is played on your tablet and you can either play it holding your tablet or you can slot it into the side of the portal of power, effectively making your own little gaming setup.
The portal supports tablets up to 12" in size so you should be ok for most tablets today. I got to play on an iPad Mini and it played really well.
You don't have to play the game using the controller if you don't want to. Just switch it off and you can use the touch screen controls on the tablet, and they work surprisingly well! The game detects if you are using the controller, or not, and changes the game for you.
You may be thinking that there will be times that you can't use the portal as you might be in the car, or on a train, well don't worry as you can actually play the game without using it! If the portal is not connected then the game switches automatically to using "on the go characters" which are digital versions of the toys, in this case Instant Snap Shot and Instant Food Fight. These are separate characters with their own skill trees, but they are essentially the same as the toys, just without having to carry them!
And talking of the toys, all of the previous toys are also supported with the tablet edition too so if you already have a large pile of them you don't need to worry!
The game itself is a free download, you only need to buy the starter pack to get the portal, controller and toys. However you can actually play the game without buying the starter pack! It's not the full game obviously, but it will be a special introductory adventure that is being created just for this purpose. The idea being that if you like it you can buy the starter pack, and then all the toys!
The game itself is around 1GB for the initial download so you will want to be on a wireless connection when you first download it, and all later levels are actually streamed for you in the background ready for you to play. At this point I don't know how large those levels will be and if it would be possible to stream them using a data connection (if you were on a train or in a car for example), but that will become clear soon.
I was very impressed with the whole thing, it was easy to set up and the game looks and plays exactly the same as the console version and throwing everything you need into the starter park, including a controller is a great move. I think that a lot of parents are going to find this keeps their children quiet for hours and hours on those long trips.
So the starter pack, which includes the portal of power, two toys, two traps, the controller and a tray will cost £64.99 and will be available at the same time as Skylanders Trap Team on the consoles, which is October 10th in Europe.