The Skylanders series has been around for a few years but this year with Imaginators, they have added a new feature to keep fans happy.
In the past, Skylanders forced players to buy toys in order to unlock new playable characters. This is still what you do in Imaginators, although this time around you are able to customise the look and abilities for your Skylander.
At the start of the game, you have to create your own Skylander. You're free to choose how they look, how they fight and also certain skills they may have. The more you play the game, you can add armour and more skills for them to use.
The options to create your own Skylander are pretty vast. You could create a humanoid character or even something like a big ape. I chose to do the latter since I'm a big fan of the Planet of the Apes series.
Sadly though once you choose a Battle Class, you are stuck with that choice forever unless you buy an extra Creation Crystal. The base starter pack only comes with one Creation Crystal plus two Sensei playable characters named Master King Pen and Golden Queen.
The aforementioned Sensei Skylanders are important to the game as they can unlock new areas within the levels. It's cool that they added them in the Starter Pack, although there are still several characters that you have to buy if you want to play as them.
Sadly, the Starter Pack does not include Crash Bandicoot unless you get a more expensive edition of the game. This is Crash Bandicoot's debut in the Skylanders series, and it's quite sad that you have to fork out extra money just to play as him. I guess this is just how things are with the toys-to-life genre...
As for the gameplay, many veterans of the series will notice that not much has really changed. You are still roaming around linear levels just bashing the life out of your enemies. It's simple platform style gaming fit for kids, although anyone else might feel it gets repetitive quite quickly.
To try and break up the monotony, there are side-quests that you can unlock with the Sensei characters and there are puzzles for you to solve along the way. Not to mention each level ends with a boss that you have to take down.
However, the levels in Skylanders Imaginators look small and there isn't that much room to explore. I preferred the expansive levels that featured in the Disney Infinity series. Here in this game the graphics are nice and bright, but the levels don't offer that much depth.
Outside of the main story, I appreciate that they have added a racing mode to the game. The racing mode is similar to Mario Kart or Crash Team Racing. In Imaginators though, you're free to race on Air, Land or Sea. Unlike the story mode levels, the racing courses are much larger and have more life to them,
Much like the base game though, you will have to buy extra figures to unlock everything in the racing part of the game. However, there are still lots of races for you to partake in if you choose not to pay extra money.
As a whole, Skylanders Imaginators is fun to play and the new create your own Skylanders gimmick is pretty cool. It's too bad that the main gameplay is nothing special and you're forced to buy new toys to unlock everything. Still, it should be enjoyable for veterans of the series and kids alike.