Skylanders SuperChargers Vehicles By Land, Sea and Air – Preview Part 1

Skylanders SuperChargers Land Sea Air

Skylanders 5 is now officially known as Skylanders SuperChargers. You’ve probably known that for a week or more based on numerous retailer leaks, but now it’s official and we’re finally clear all the red tape to start talking about an extensive eyes-on session with the fifth entry in the first Toys to Life gaming franchise in this four-part preview.

You also probably already know, again from retailer leaks, that vehicles are making their way into the franchise for the first time. What you don’t know is that those vehicles will cover land, sea and air, and they are completely standalone from their Skylander figure counterparts. Kids will be able to carry them away from the game and use them like Hot Wheels cars, submarines or airplanes wherever their imaginations take them.

Before digging deeper into the Skylanders SuperChargers vehicles, let’s take a quick step back and rewind to the philosophy behind Skylanders SuperChargers and what may have been an intentional or unintentional sneak peek that developer Vicarious Visions (VV) shared well over a year ago.

The Swap Force Connection

In Skylanders Trap Team, developer Toys for Bob reversed the idea of bringing “toys to life” by pushing villains from the game into physical toy traps as a means of bringing “life to toys.” For Skylanders SuperChargers, Vicarious Visions is reverting back again to bringing “toys to life,” but to further innovate the franchise, they’re bringing vehicles to life and building upon the platforming experience Skylanders is known for with multiple additional gameplay styles to partake in.

The best way to describe how Vicarious Visions has implemented “vehicle areas” into Skylanders SuperChargers is by dialing back the clock to Skylanders Swap Force. In that game, VV took the concept of Swap Force Skylanders and created unique side missions for each Swap type. These Swap Zones were accessed via gates similar to Elemental Gates and once completed players would jump right back into the platforming adventure.

The Speed Swap Force-type is especially notable to recollect as its characters movements through a course or track are similar to how a vehicle would move through a course. Imagine those types of Speed levels, built out with far more complexity and accessible during the platforming game without stepping through an elemental gate, and you’re on the right track of one part of what Superchargers has to offer.

Kaos is Back

The main villain in Skylanders SuperChargers is once again Kaos and he’s got a new hair-brained scheme to take over Skylands. Using the “Doomstation of Ultimate Doomstruction,” Kaos is literally eating the sky of Skylands, and vehicles powered by special “rift engines” are needed to jump between worlds and stop Kaos before he can conquer Skylands once and for all.

I didn’t get to see or hear Kaos cackle during in my demo, but I did get a flavor for the setups in Chapters 13 and 14, each set in the Cloud Kingdom. As Chapter 13 starts, Lord Stratosphere doesn’t trust the underclass and has littered the kingdom with incredible looking volumetric fog of war. Into the clouds the Skylanders go with visual effects similar to the blizzards in Swap Force’s Frostfest Mountains chapter.

By Land with Hot Streak

The first vehicle type I watched in action was Land in the form of a car called Hot Streak, which is incidentally included in the Starter Pack. When Hot Streak was placed on the new Portal of Power, more on that a little later, it got an extended mini-movie that showed off its fire tires, grill and more.

With Hot Streak already on the Portal, as soon as a Skylander approached the threshold for a vehicle section the car automatically appeared in the game. The Skylander hopped into the car and off he went into the vehicle section without a cut in the action or loading the section separately. It was a seamless and quite awesome transition from platforming to vehicle.

Hot Streak is Spitfire’s custom race car. It was made from elemental magma rock and forged in the depths of the Volcanic Vault. With maximum firepower, it is capable of achieving extreme speeds and ready to scorch anything in its path!


The first part of the car section demoed definitely has a Mario Kart feel to it. There’s obstacles, powersliding, boost pads, jumps, and shortcuts so the track isn’t entirely linear. Once the race ended is where Superchargers enters new territory as Hot Streak went into a battle arena and had to take out turrets and other enemies. Then when that was completed, a puzzle presented itself where Hot Streak had to drive around a twisty section of track in search of four bells to ring in order to unlock a harmonic lock.

“We wanted to give the vehicles as varied an experience as the Skylanders get on foot” explained Lou Studdert, a Toys for Bob fixture and member of the Skylanders production team you may recognize from YouTube. “And so that means traversal, adventure, action and combat, and it also means puzzle solving.”

By Air with Sky Slicer

Sky Slicer looks like a metallic triangular ship plucked from a Sci-Fi movie. It’s heavily armed with rapid-fire missiles and a multi-lock rocket to quickly eliminate a huge swatch of enemies at one time.

The Sky Slicer is aerodynamic and lightning fast! Originally designed by Stormblade to explore the furthest reaches of Skylands, it has since been retrofitted with high-powered weaponry and armor, making it one of the best in the nest!


The flying sequence I witnessed was fairly straightforward. Sky Slicer flew forward through a restrictive archway tunnel of sorts as enemies and obstacles presented themselves. It seemed like the shortest of the vehicle-type demos, and as such was the least memorable of the three but still packing plenty of aerial fun regardless.

By Sea with Dive Bomber

Dive Bomber resembles an exploration submarine with a huge window on its front. As its name implies, Dive Bomber can naturally dive under the surface to avoid obstacles and find secret paths otherwise hidden from above the water.

This duality between driving the submarine on the surface and below it with the press of a button makes the Water sequences my favorite of the three. They also look to be the most challenging as the over-and-under the water obstacles come fast and furiously in the late game stage demoed.

At the level’s conclusion Dive Bomber ends up in a boss fight with the Storm Sequencer, a giant machine that slams down and creates waves from the center of a circular arena. It also launches a lightning attack that changes the wave shapes so there’s a lot of riding the waves up and down during this climatic fight.

The Dive Bomber is a heavy duty aquatic battle tank! With enchanted metal plating capable of withstanding the immense pressure of the deep ocean, evil has nowhere to hide when Dive-Clops (semi-pictured in the next preview article) is in pursuit!


Torpedoes and sonar pings are Dive Bombers weapons and the latter can be used to locate enemies underwater. Once located, you can then trick incoming torpedoes into hitting the enemies because you know where they are. Don’t try hiding underwater by diving as the enemies can sink below the surface just the same.

More enemies come in the form of armed gunboats with impenetrable shields. You can also trick the Storm Sequencer to take these out with a little ingenuity involving diving and mistaken identity.

As the fight progresses a giant sweeper arm appears so you have to pay attention to it and make sure you’re on a high or low wave as it comes by at different heights. This fight looked fairly complicated for kids, but Lou reiterated it’s toward the end of the game and easier fights precede it.

Upgrading Vehicles

My first thought when presented with three of the new Skylanders SuperChargers vehicles regarded in-game upgrades to match those given to the Skylanders characters. The answer is a most definite yes, and a lot of thought has been put into not only the upgrades but modifications as well.

Skylanders SuperChargers introduces a new form of vehicle currency called Gear Bits, small collectibles littered throughout the vehicles sections of the game. Gear Bits can be picked up from obvious and not-so-obvious locations and then used as a currency to purchase upgrades for your vehicles. Sharkfin is back with a pit crew to fill the Persephone roll for vehicles so you know where to spend those Gear Bits. Don’t worry; Persephone is back as well and strategically placed roughly in the middle of each level for character upgrading.

Gear Bits have a preset value assigned to them when you pick them up. A clever twit Vicarious Visions has added is the ability to increase the value of the Gear Bits as you perform select maneuvers with each vehicle.

For example, performing barrel rolls and boosts with Sky Slicer will up the value of your Gear Bits. This encourages players to approach the vehicle sections more aggressively if they want to max out those upgrade paths as quickly as possible.

Mods on the Fly

Imagine Mario Kart for a moment where you select your car chassis, wheel and wings before each race. Vicarious Visions is taking a different approach to vehicle mods by allowing you to swap (pun intended) them on the fly at any time during a vehicle level. You can literally be mid-jump and switch out a component of your vehicle — such as its tires — and watch that component change on the fly. This approach also allows you to selectively implement a mod the second you collect it.

Mods will obviously affect the performance of vehicles depending on the combination put into use at any given time. Some of the mod-affected performance areas I was able to take note of include armor, top speed, acceleration, handling and weight.

There’s another way to improve your vehicle aside from mods and upgrades. I discuss that and much more in Part 2 of my preview, Skylanders SuperChargers Toys Evolve in Form and Function.

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