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Skylanders SWAP Force (3DS Video Game Review)

Skylanders SWAP Force released last month across multiple platforms, and we were lucky enough to try it out on Xbox 360 and loved it (read review here). One often overlooked fact about the all new Skylanders SWAP Force is the game actually had three different developers and thus three very different games. On most platforms, Vicarious Visions created their vision of the game with players battling against Kaos and his mother with the new Skylanders characters, while Beenox developed the Nintendo Wii version and n-Space took over the development of the game on Nintendo 3DS. We recently got our hands on the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, and though it doesn't feature the same graphical details and a storyline that is quite as fun as as the main release, it's still a very entertaining game that holds obvious advantages over all other versions of Skylanders SWAP Force.

Skylanders SWAP Force features a completely different storyline for the new release. While the new SWAP Force characters are still a big part of the game's narrative, players will spend their time in the game battling against an enemy known as Count Moneybone and his clockwork army of soldiers. Count Moneybone arrives in the Skylands just in time to ruin a party celebrating the heroics of the game's protagonist, Flynn, and he ends up stealing a solid gold statue from the character along with a brainwashed version of Cali. It's now up to the Portal Master and the usual cast of character to stop Count Moneybone and rescue their friend. Though Skylanders SWAP Force isn't quite as entertaining without Kaos popping up for a few good jokes every now and then, Count Moneybone is pretty funny himself, and Skylanders SWAP Force for Nintendo 3DS is still a great release that fans will want to consider picking up to add new life to their favorite figures.

The Nintendo 3DS version of Skylanders SWAP Force holds several important advantages over the other versions of the game that are currently available to purchase. The most prominent distinction allows players to load their Skylanders characters into the game once and use them for as long as they'd like, even on the go without the need to carry around a Power Portal. The game uses the touchscreen of the Nintendo 3DS and the various elements of monsters to keep track of which characters are loaded in the game and character halves can be swapped here for unique combination of powers as well. Of course, Nintendo 3DS also allows players to take the game wherever they go with the handheld gaming system, which lets players visit their friend's house and play the game at the same time while sharing characters.

Skylanders SWAP Force is a fun game on Nintendo 3DS that introduces a new world to explore with different enemies and a new storyline, but the game itself doesn't look quite as good as console versions of the game. The lesser graphics are mostly noticeable in the finer details of the new stages and in the animations of the character. The game doesn't look bad on Nintendo 3DS, and it is one of the better looking games available on the handheld video game system. The sound design is right on par with other releases in the series, but the game's controls are not as masterful on the Nintendo 3DS since the directional pad doesn't offer as much direct control. However, precision controls are rarely needed in this casual series. The presentation of Skylanders SWAP Force on Nintendo 3DS is not quite as good as its console counterpart, but this is still as high quality Skylanders adventure fans will love regardless.

It seems pretty clear that Skylanders SWAP Force is a great game no matter which version of the game is purchased. The Nintendo 3DS version of the game adds a completely different storyline and different world to explore and still manages to be one of the most fun releases ever seen for the franchise. The game is plenty humorous and has plenty of new areas to explore with new jump controls and the powerful SWAP Force characters that gain special abilities such as an ability to glide across tornados on windy feet or climb up walls with sticky tentacles. There are plenty of collectibles to find in the game, and the new adventure simply adds additional value to each character purchased in the entire Skylanders set when players purchase the game on home consoles and Nintendo 3DS, since all characters are compatible with the new Portal of Power and each version of the game as well. Pick up a copy of Skylanders SWAP Force on Nintendo 3DS and take your favorite Skylanders characters with you on the go!

Skylanders SWAP Force for the Nintendo 3DS is a great mobile counterpart to the console versions. The 3DS version offers a totally new game with fun, interactive environments. However, the D-pad offers no alternate controls with restricted touchscreen capabilities. In the end, if you want the ability to play Skylanders SWAP Force on the go and not have to tug around extra toys or a portal, then pick up the game on 3DS today. With everything Skylanders SWAP Force has to offer, it makes the perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite gamer this holiday season.

Skylanders SWAP Force is now available from all major retailers for the MSRP of $74.99 and can be purchased for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in November. Skylanders SWAP Force is rated E by the ESRB for Cartoon Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official Skylanders SWAP Force website

Game Features:
  • Offline Multiplayer 1-2
  • Interchangeable Monsters
  • Jump Controls
  • Store Skylanders for Later Use
  • Enjoy Skylanders SWAP Force on the Go

Game Information:
Developer: n-Space
Publisher: Activision
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii & Nintendo 3DS (reviewed)
Release Date: October 13, 2013

Score: 9 out of 10
  • Fun new campaign
  • Play while on the go 
  • Offers a ton of variety
  • Restricted touchscreen abilities
  • D-pad doesn't offer additional control
  • Some gameplay mechanics limited compared to console versions

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