The Skylanders race on land, across sea, and through sky.
Up until Skylanders SuperChargers, the Wii and Nintendo 3DS versions of the Skylanders games were at parity content-wise with the other versions of the game. Now, with SuperChargers, this parity is gone, turning the Wii and 3DS games into a spin-off series based off the HD versions of SuperChargers' racing part of the game. This spin-off series is Skylanders SuperChargers Racing, all arcade-style racing with none of the platforming, punching, or exploration the Skylanders series is generally known for. Although not equal in content to the HD versions, Skylanders SuperChargers Racing is a worthwhile entry in the series regardless.
The Adventure mode is the main meat of Skylanders SuperChargers Racing. It shares many similarities to the mode found in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, where you follow along a map of sorts to complete events. With each event completed, more of the map is available to you until you reach the far right side where the final event to complete that current cup is located. A difference here is that there is a story that loosely ties everything together. It stars Pandergast who hosts a Racelandia wrap-up show that ends every cup, promoting the idea that the winner of the Racelandia series of cups will earn an all-powerful MacGuffin that can be used for one wish. These story segments don't run too long and are just a neat bonus for completed cups.
|You might be in 7th place, but this race has just begun!|
Every event has an easy, normal, and hard difficulty and up to three stars to obtain. Getting 1st in a race event or just completing the event's goal in any other kind of event awards three stars to the player in hard difficulty, while in easy and normal difficulties, the player can only earn up to one or two stars. Depending on the difficulty, during races the AI can be more of a pain and despite all your racing skill, they will usually stay close behind you whereas in other events the required score to complete them changes.
|The Temple of Boom is a desert track with patches of chocolate to slow unsuspecting racers down.|
Skylanders SuperChargers Racing's Starter Pack comes with two characters and one vehicle, an air one. While land and sea vehicles are required to play the game, Pandergast gives those lacking land sea vehicle figures to use what he calls "loaners", borrowed vehicles that don't have the greatest stats (they can't be leveled up either) but are serviceable for the various races in the game.
|It may be a loaner from Pandergast, but it still gets the job done.|
|Weave through canyons, caverns, cacti, and buildings in this Mexican-themed track.|
As stated, there are three types of vehicles in SuperChargers Racing, and each has five unique races specifically built for them. (And again, there are two extra races for each vehicle type gained from trophy figures that are contained in the more expensive racing packs.) The lack of tutorial, especially for a kids' game, is baffling, as each vehicle has its own series of button puts specially used for them.
For instance, a land vehicle can not only drift, gaining a boost once the shoulder button is released, but it can also jump over certain hazards and chasms. Meanwhile, a sea vehicle can temporarily dive underwater, which slows down the vehicle, but also allows access to hidden shortcuts. It can additionally perform flips in the air with the press of the R button to gain a boost upon each successful flip. Finally, air vehicles can have the player press the B button to perform a spin, allowing them to break through cobwebs without slowing down. Holding the R button will cause an air vehicle to unleash its afterburner, giving a continuous boost of speed in expense for control.
|Sea vehicles can perform tricks while in midair to gain a boost upon landing.|
Apart from the Adventure mode, there is a Cup mode that sees you taking on each of the five races for each vehicle type against seven AI opponents. Placement in these races award points with the racer with the most points at the end of the five races being the overall winner. There are three difficulties for each, though winning all of these don't appear to have any effects such as new unlockables. There isn't even an awards ceremony to congratulate you on your victory, so the mode overall seems rather undeveloped.
|Does a Skylander want to wear shorts or pants in such a hot and cold setting?|
Skylanders SuperChargers Racing is a bit more than a Mario Kart clone. It offers some new ideas to the familiar formula while also delivering solid racing action. That notwithstanding, there is still the same cost barrier of entry to get everything out of the game in the form of purchasing every element of vehicle as well as racing pack to get the full SuperChargers Racing experience. Still, I enjoyed my 10 hours with the game from the limited amount of figures I had, so if you're yearning for a new arcade racer for the Nintendo 3DS and have exhausted your fun from Mario Kart 7, then Skylanders SuperChargers Racing is a nice alternative.
[SPC Says: B-]