Skylanders Imaginators – unleash your imagination
For the first time ever in the Skylanders franchise, the power to create you very own Skylanders is in your hands. The Skylanders Imaginators Starter Pack for Nintendo Switch introduces Creation Crystals, an all-new toy that allows you to design custom Skylanders. It’s so fun to create your own personalized characters—here’s a video showing you how it works!
Creation Crystals – how they work
Inside the Skylanders Imaginators Starter Pack you’ll get one Creation Crystal, letting you begin creating right away. Like Skylanders, Creation Crystals are all elementally-aligned: the Starter Pack gives you a Fire crystal. To get started, simply tap the Fire crystal to the Right Joy-Con controller’s NFC reader/writer.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Like magic, in-game you’ll be whisked away to Skylanders Imaginators‘ robust character creation area. Here you’ll have a plethora of customization options at your disposal to create your dream Skylanders.
Not only can you choose their appearance, including head, chest, arms, legs, and tail, but there are many other fun ways to customize your character. These range from the ability to add a special aura, to modifying their voice and sounds, to giving them their own theme music. You can also tweak their combat abilities, change their gear, and assign them to the Battle Class of your choosing.
I’ve tried so many character creation tools in the past, and Skylanders Imaginators is one of the best I’ve ever seen. You can easily spend hours designing silly, serious, or truly bizarre creations—the possibilities are limitless.
Imaginite adds even more fun
Like all past Skylanders video games, Skylanders Imaginators includes a full story-driven adventure that will take you through many exotic locations. During your journey you can discover mystery chests containing “imaginite” crystals that will unlock even more goodies to customize your Imaginators. This could be powerful new weapons, fancy new body parts, or other cool gear you can give to your Imaginators.
Imaginite crystals come in four rarity ranks: Common, Rare, Epic and Ultimate. Generally, overcoming more difficult challenges rewards you with better quality gear. There are also item sets you can collect, and when you complete the set you’ll get a rare, bonus imaginite as a reward.
Essentially, imaginite expands your creation options immensely, and the more you play the more you’ll be able to customize. It’s a neat reward system that allows you to craft increasingly unique Imaginators as you progress through the game. When you factor in how fun and easy it is to outfit your Imaginators with new gear, the new customization options feel like a real treat.
Introducing the Skylanders Senseis
Imaginators are not the only new characters in the latest Skylanders game. It also features a brand new group of Skylanders, called Senseis. Senseis are ancient, powerful Skylanders that specialize in one of ten new awesome Battle Classes.
Included in the Skylanders Imaginators Starter Pack are two such Senseis: the leader of the group, Master King Pen, and the villainous Golden Queen. You can see both of them in the image above, and my oh my are they striking Skylanders.
Master King Pen is a fierce penguin who is part of the new “Brawler” class, and is associated with the Water elemental class. He has devastating melee combos and ice attacks that will freeze your enemies stiff.
On the flip side, Golden Queen is a villain first introduced in Skylanders Trap Team, and now comes in a physical toy. She’s a member of the new “Sorcerer” battle class, and wields the Earth elemental power.
Using these two Senseis in battle is a real joy. Not only are their basic attacks quite strong, but they also can charge up their ultra-powerful “Sky-Chi” abilities. For example, Master King Pen’s Sky-Chi has him dash around the screen and repeatedly slash enemies with his razor-sharp arm blades. It’s incredible to see in action.
Full story mode included
All your Senseis and Imaginators are put to good use in the game’s story mode, which encompasses 10 original missions. There are also bonus Sensei Realms you can unlock by using Senseis of the proper Battle Class. That means right out of the gate with the Starter Pack you have access to the Brawler (using Master King Pen) and Sorcerer (using Golden Queen) bonus realms, with the other eight requiring you to purchase additional Senseis sold separately.
But don’t worry, the story alone will take at least ten hours to complete, and many more if you so choose. There are tons of reasons to revisit levels, including discovering more imaginite, leveling up your Skylanders, and completing bonus objectives for extra rewards.
The story itself, as you might expect, is full of Skylanders’ irresistible wit and charm. That wily thorn in the Skylanders side, Kaos, is back causing more trouble in the Skylands. This time he stumbles upon ancient Mind Magic and uses it create a new army of baddies called the Doomlanders. As a Portal Master, it’s your job to harness the power of the Senseis (and other Skylanders) to put an end to Kaos’ wicked plans.
Nintendo Switch benefits
Of course, this isn’t the first version of Skylanders Imaginators to release on a Nintendo console—the game also came out on Wii U last October.
With Nintendo Switch being a more powerful and versatile console, this latest version contains several key improvements. For starters, there are vast visual improvements over the Wii U version, from better textures, to improved lighting effects. The game also incorporates the Joy-Con’s HD rumble, giving you a more immersive tactile experience.
One huge change is the Switch version does away completely with Skylanders’ signature Portal accessory. Instead, you simply scan your Skylanders using the Right Joy-Con’s NFC reader/writer. This is done practically out of necessity since Nintendo Switch is a portable console and lugging around a bulky Portal would be quite an inconvenience.
Conveniently, once you scan a Skylander twice, it saves the character permanently to your system. This means you don’t need to carry your Skylanders around with you either, your console will remember what you own. From a user experience, the Nintendo Switch version is the best by far.
There’s one other feature too that I love: when creating Imaginators, you can navigate the menus using Switch’s touch screen. This makes designing your own custom characters even more enjoyable and intuitive.
While overall I’m convinced this is best version available, one glaring sacrifice had to be made. Activision neglected to incorporate the Skylanders Superchargers racing levels, which is included in all other console versions. That means you won’t be able to use your vehicles or trap toys in this iteration. With that said, the game is compatible with over 300 Skylanders, so you can still get plenty of use out of your older toys.
Skylanders Imaginators on Nintendo Switch is the definitive version of this exciting new entry in the series. Using your imagination to create customized Imaginators is a lot of fun, and the two included Senseis are great additions. The story is highly entertaining and will keep you busy for many hours. When you finally complete it, the game offers tons of replay value with more imaginite crystals to collect, Skylanders to level up, and secrets to find. Skylanders has long been the king of the toys to life genre, and great games like this is the reason why.
+ Character creation is tons of fun
+ Enjoyable story
+ All-new Senseis are nice additions
+ Compatible with over 300 Skylanders
+ Many enhancements in the Nintendo Switch version
– Racing levels are not included
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5