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Release Date: October 13th, 2013 Movie Release Year: 2013

Skylanders SWAP Force

Overview -

In October of 2011, developer Toys for Bob, backed by the publishing powerhouse that is Activision, released 'Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure'. It was an experiment that seamlessly blended a physical toy line with the video game universe of the same name. Individual Skylander toys are placed on the 'Portal of Power' and are magically brought to life to be fully controlled on your television. Developed for console, PC, and handheld, it quickly became the vehicle by which Activision was able to print their own money. Millions of children found addiction among the eight separate (and separately purchased) Skylander elementals – and across 32 standard characters – that helped the game to become one of the highest selling new IPs of 2012. Now, two years and two iterations of the Skylanders adventure later, Activision, with the development efforts of Vicarious Visions, is taking the toy / video game concept to the next level with 'Skylanders: Swap Force.'

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
October 13th, 2013

Video Review


When searching for a family movie to stream over Netflix, or rent from the few remaining brick-and-mortal stores, there is an obvious distinction between children's animated movies. There are the 'Toy Story' and 'Monsters Inc.' of the world, and then there are the one-offs and direct-to-video titles that inevitably never live up to your children's hopes and expectations. The video presentation of 'Skylanders: Swap Force' falls into the latter of those categories.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with the presentation of Swap Force, the quality of it was on par with direct-to-video rentals. The animations were just good enough to keep the story moving while consistently entertaining a younger audience. For those more mature gamers – those accustomed to 'Uncharted' and 'The Last of Us' – it was a bit lacking.

The environments, although varied, were always a bit bland yet still maintained a colorful palette. The lip synching with the audio was always just a vowel or two off. And the bigger, more epic, moments of the story never fully lived up to their intended effect. Of course, none of this altered the overall enjoyment of the game, but it was clear that the developers were more focused on gameplay than on presentation.

Audio Review


Some of the voice actors from previous Skylanders games make a repeat performance with Swap Force. Characters like Lord Kaos and the bumbling yet lovable Flynn (wonderfully portrayed by Patrick Warburton) absolutely steal each and every scene they are in. Additionally, as you progress through the story, you'll encounter an impressive amount of new characters, each with their own voice (lip synch issues aside) and personality.

Unfortunately, I found an odd, and somewhat annoying, issue with the volume levels of Swap Force; particularly when jumping from in-game play to cut scene. There was never much consistency, and I always found myself adjusting the volume of my Denon receiver. It was an unfortunate side effect and one that I'm uncertain is specific to just the PlayStation 3 version.

As a father and dedicated gamer, 'Skylanders: Swap Force' is that rare game that satisfies on a variety of levels. It makes me proud to see my daughters handling a PlayStation 3 controller with near pin-point accuracy, and puts a smile on my face as we mutually enjoy the same game when played together. As I have already come to realize, these gaming opportunities with my children will not last forever and I appreciate the effort Vicarious Visions put into the development of Swap Force. It was a pleasure to play solo and should not be missed if you are a parent of younger gamers.