When it comes to the now-ubiquitous toys-to-life genre of games, none stand out more prominently than Activision’s Skylanders series. What started out as a spinoff of the beloved Spyro the Dragon franchise has now become a titan in the gaming world all its own.
The most recent entry, Skylanders: Imaginators, took things to a new level when it released in October, granting players the ability to create their own heroes for the first time. It earned great reviews and won two GiN Game of the Year awards for being the best family game released last year and the best title overall for the WiiU. Now the title is moving over to the Nintendo Switch, where the platform itself can help to enhance the fun.
The most obvious benefit of any game being on the Switch is the capability to transition from a traditional console to a handheld and back again. In the case of Skylanders Imaginators, this couldn’t be a more perfect scenario. Being able to run a quick level or two on the go is remarkably convenient, and in its handheld form, the graphics look as good as they do with the system docked.
What makes the transitioning work so well is that because the Switch has a built-in near-field communication reader, none of the figures require a Portal of Power to scan into the game like they do on other consoles. Lugging around a portal wouldn’t be practical in the least. The right Joy-Con’s analog stick or the right stick on the Pro Controller house the NFC technology for the system, so it’s as simple as grabbing your figure and holding it above the joystick for a moment or two. (This is also how Amiibos are scanned.)
The freedom to ditch the portal isn’t the only convenience the Switch provides over other versions of the game. Because of its touchscreen, when you’re playing the game in handheld mode, you can select all of your menu options simply by poking the screen. That may not seem like anything earth-shattering, but when you realize just how many customization options Imaginators throws at you, it makes creating and upgrading characters less daunting and a little quicker.
For players who aren’t concerned about quick customization and want to dive into the game a little more deeply, Imaginators looks and plays just as well with the Switch fully docked. The polished graphics and audio are just as good as the other versions of the game, although you do lose the touchscreen feature while the console is in its docking station.
Overall, Skylanders Imaginators gets a handful of nice enhancements being on the Switch, and while they may seem like small improvements, this really is a case where the sum is greater than that of its parts.
Skylanders Imaginators keeps its perfect 5 GiN Gems out of 5 that it earned when it released last fall. If you are looking for a cool way to experience your new Nintendo Switch, then Skylanders Imaginators is a great title that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, adults or kids.