Skylanders: Swap Force Buyers' Guide: What You Need, What You Don't

Skylanders: Swap Force Buyers' Guide: What You Need, What You Don't

You would think that on the third instalment of Activision's highly successful toys-meets-games series they'd give folks the option to just buy the game by itself. Ha ha! We're not getting off that easy.

Every Skylander figure released thus far will work on Skylanders: Swap Force. You could play through the entire game using only first or second generation figures, but no one involved in the production of the game wants you to do that. You think they put in this swap feature just to sell more toys? No! They put it in to give players the power of choice after they bought more toys. There's a subtle difference. You can barely see it if you squint.

Starter Packs

So, at the very least, parents and well-off children will need to purchase a Starter Pack. That's $US74.99 for the Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and 3DS — PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will be available in November when those consoles launch.

The console Starter Pack comes with the game and three figures — Swap Force Blast Zone and Wash Buckler, and Ninja Stealth Elf, part of series 3 (first edition Skylanders on their second redeco).

Skylanders: Swap Force Buyers' Guide: What You Need, What You Don't

Note that the 3DS version (featuring a completely separate gameplay experience) is packed with three different Skylanders — Swap Force Rattle Shake and Free Ranger and an exclusive Volcanic Eruptor.

Frugal parents and responsible children can stop right there. They can play through the whole game with those three figures. They'll miss a lot of secrets due to element locked gates (including new dual-element locked gates for Swap Force characters), and there are special challenges throughout the game for all eight Swap Force movement types — they'll only have two of them. Still, they'll get to the end credits, and if they have older figures already, a lot more of the game will open up.

Ideally, players will want to have a character from each of the game's eight elements — Undeath, Life, Water, Air, Fire, Earth, Tech, and Magic. Three of those come with the Starter, so you'll need three more.

Core Figures

Skylanders: Swap Force Buyers' Guide: What You Need, What You Don't

Tech, Undeath, Earth and Life are covered by the new core figures. These are the simple Skylanders. They don't swap, they don't light up, but they are full of character and they only run $US9.99. As far as I am concerned, Zoo Lou and Roller Brawl are essential figures.

Series Two / Series 3 Figures

Skylanders: Swap Force Buyers' Guide: What You Need, What You Don't

Along with the newcomers, there'll also be four $US9.99 Series 3 and Series Two figures for sale. These are resculpts of popular toys from Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure and Skylanders Giants. They don't look any different in the game than the original figures, but they do look cool on a shelf.

Speaking of Giants, there are a few chests in Swap Force that require a giant figure to open, so make sure you've got at least one on hand if you want all the loot.

LightCore Figures

Skylanders: Swap Force Buyers' Guide: What You Need, What You Don't

You want fancy? Five new Lightcore Skylanders go on sale Sunday for $US12.99. These are special glowing versions of new and old characters with an extra in-game power. Grim Creeper, Smoulderdash and Star Strike are three of the coolest-looking figures of the new line, if that's your thing.

Swap Force Figures

Skylanders: Swap Force Buyers' Guide: What You Need, What You Don't

And then we've got the Swap Force figures themselves. GameStop has these listed for $US15.99, making them the most expensive figures yet.

Do you need them? Not right away. Since only six Swap Force figures are being released at launch, two movement types (Dig and Stealth) and two elements (Life and Earth) remain unrepresented, so you can't technically unlock every secret in the game at launch anyway. It's frustrating, but it encourages waiting.

Three-Packs

Value hunters might want to just go with one or two of the Skylanders: Swap Force three-packs, scoring $US30 worth of figures for $US24.99.

Skylanders: Swap Force Buyers' Guide: What You Need, What You Don't

Note that the three-packs contain a figure from each generation of the game — that's a nice touch.

Now how much would you...yeah, there's more.

DLC Packs

Skylanders: Swap Force Buyers' Guide: What You Need, What You Don't

The only place you'll get Bumble Blast and Knockout Terrafin at launch is inside the $US24.99 Fiery Forge Battle Pack, while the adorable Pop Thorn hides within the similarly-priced Tower of Time Adventure Pack, which adds a new adventure level to the game.

And that's it! That is all the toys available for Skylanders: Swap Force at launch, unless you count...

Retailer Exclusives

It wouldn't be a Skylanders launch without them.

GameStop

Skylanders: Swap Force Buyers' Guide: What You Need, What You Don't

Gamestop gets the $US99 exclusive Dark Edition Starter Pack, with special recolors and two additional figures.

Walmart

Skylanders: Swap Force Buyers' Guide: What You Need, What You Don't

Walmart's exclusive triple pack ($24.96) is the only place to get basic Star Strike at launch, while Enchanted Hoot Loop $US14.96) is just pretty. Hey, pretty.

Target

Skylanders: Swap Force Buyers' Guide: What You Need, What You Don't

Target in the US has an exclusive Nitro Magna Charge figure, though instead of packing him alone for $US14.99, he comes in two different two-packs for $US29.99.


That's a lot of toys, easily more than $US400 for the Starter Kit, all the new figures and the adventure packs. Daunting. Scary.

The key thing to remember here is that all you really need is sopme older Skylander figures and the Starter Kit. Everything else can wait. The holidays are right around the corner, and there's an important lesson here to be learned about patience.


Comments

    My boy has already paid his off with his pocket money. He laybyed it months ago. I told him I would match him dollar for dollar and hes done an awesome job paying his 50 off. I have zero issue with this game at all. Hes gone away from wanting every figure now to wanting all swappers and select normal figures.

      You sir should be commended as an awesome parent! :D

      When i was a kid I had to *earn* the right t play games. Before i earned pocket money that meant getting straight good grades for a semester before my parents considered buying *one* cartridge for the Famicom/NES. When i started earning pocket money it was "save up for it yourself!"

      Too many parents being "friends" w/ kids instead of parenting and caving in to marketing these days =/

        Thanks man :) trying to teach him that something earnt means a lot more. He's enjoyed saving his pocket money, he even saves his spare lunch money to add into it. It's taken him around 8 - 10 weeks but he got there. I felt the full 100 was a little unfair but 50 was a good ask. We're both eager to play Swap Force but this one means a lot more to him because he's had to do jobs to earn it etc. Even made an arrangement with the EB over the road so he can walk there and pick it up himself on the day of release this week (he's 10, he's going with his mate).

    So, at the very least, parents and well-off children will need to purchase a Starter Pack.

    Err yeah, that's it... I'm buying it for my son.

    I've already got my Dark Edition pre-ordered and payed off, also pre-ordered a "normal" edition and a 3DS version (for the Volcanic Eruptor), I'll probably end up getting a PS4 version when it comes out too. I'm also planning on picking up as many figures as I can day one, and buying the ones I can't afford over the first couple of weeks.

    What can I say I'm hooked.

    Also, this article states that there are "series 2/series 3 figures". There are ONLY series 3 figures for Skylanders: Swap Force, series 2 came out with Skylanders: Giants.

      As stupid as it sounds, any character that debuted in giants but is reposed for swap force is called series 2. This won't be confusing for parents all

        Oh ok, I didn't see the "series 2" written down the side of the packaging before.

        Stupid idea though. Like you say, it won't be confusing at all for parents that don't know anything about Skylanders.

      Indeed. Series 3 figures can reach an all new level cap and have a new ability or two. Just as series 2 figures had a new level cap and some had new abilities etc. It's not just about the pose.

    What about Australia? Where can I get my hands on an Echanted Hoot Loop?

    Getting both the PS3 and 3DS versions, sucks that I will already have Rattle Shake and Free Ranger in the 3DS Starter Pack making Nitro Magna Charge an expensive buy (that is, if Target Australia are getting it too).

    my son has the regular portal for Wii. If I get a swapforce starter pack for PS3, can he use his other figures on the swapforce portal. They work on the Wii portal but wondering if the PS3 will make a difference? Cheers

    got swap force starter pack portal is on but figures do not transport to play game help thanks

    Hi, I am new to the gaming world and skylanders swapforce. Thought we did well having a character from each section but we now find we need a giant character as well. is there any way around this to enter giant gate or do we have to buy yet another character? Will we need a others as well. Frustrating.

    Our series 2 giant will not open the special giant boxes. What skylander figure is needed for this task?

    I have the xbox 360 version, but I just bought a xbox one. Do I need to buy the whole xbox one set - up or can I just buy the game disc?

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