Skylanders Swap Force: Tower of Time Adventure Pack Review

Skylanders Swap Force: Tower of Time Adventure Pack ReviewTower of Time is the first of two Adventure Packs that supplement Skylanders Swap Force by adding an additional playable chapter, two magic items and an as-of-yet released Skylander for around $35. The particular Skylander chosen for Tower of Time makes little sense given some of the other options available, but there are unique gameplay mechanics in the chapter and a magic item that offers a “wealth” of possibilities.

Tower of Time stars with — who else — Flynn riding a capsule that looks borrowed from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure into the Tower of Time level. Here he learns from an informative local that Cluck, a snobbish chicken with a superiority complex, has taken over the Tower of Time and with it controls of time in all of Skylands. It’s up to the Skylanders to give Cluck the boot and set time back on its proper course.

Flynn’s presence in Tower of Time is mostly restricted to the opening cinematics in which Cluck’s meddling with the clocktower causes a second Flynn to appear. There’s some playful banter between the two Flynns as each has never met someone who eats up their charm so easily. Once gameplay gets underway, Flynn only pop ups again in a balloon a few times to give the Skylander a ride back to the level’s main courtyard. One of these days I’d love to see Flynn get his hands dirty.

Skylanders Swap Force: Tower of Time Adventure Pack Review

In order to rid the clock tower of Cluck and his numerous well-armed minions, the Skylanders must first locate three gears that are hidden high in trees that will allow him or her to open the clock tower’s front door. These three quests provide the bulk of gameplay with Cluck showing up for what amounts to a sparring match before the big event.

The idea of controlling time offers endless gameplay possibilities for developer Vicarious Visions to tap into. Because the core Skylanders audience are children, they have kept the time elements simplistic enough for kids to grasp, and slightly hard enough at times for parents to chip in with a helping hand.

Two new mechanics work in unison to provide a variety of puzzles throughout Tower of Time. The first is a switch that stops time for several seconds, and the second is a valve that changes the direction steam travels through a pipe. When the steam hits the end of the pipe, a small platform on the end raises in the air. The combination of stopping time and changing the direction of the steam is crucial to getting by several areas through the manipulation of platforms and crates, but not always in the same order.

Skylanders Swap Force: Tower of Time Adventure Pack Review

Stopping time is also present whenever a battle gate drops and a collection of enemies must be defeated before the gate will reopen. This offers almost an unfair advantage as you can literally stand next to the switch, stop time, pound the enemies with attacks, and then repeat until clear. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing on easy or nightmare difficulty; the enemies will always fall when there’s a time stopper switch nearby.

There was an opportunity here for Cluck to really toy with time and tinker with the clock tower more than he does. I would have love to see him really turn back time and see completely different centuries-old enemies appear as a result, especially since the enemy designs tie into the “time” theme, but only the “time” spell punk has any time-related powers. Time-turning could even have altered the path through a level or dramatically changes the aesthetics. Simplicity won out and left some untapped potential on the table as a result.

Cluck is a memorable villain stuffed into kitbashed battle armor, and his high and mighty speech is best compared to the villainous Nigel from the animated movie Rio. Cluck and his strong personality are worthy of a future appearance in Skylanders and would work well alongside Kaos and whatever scheme he comes up with next.

Skylanders Swap Force: Tower of Time Adventure Pack Review

Tower of Time includes the Skylander Pop Thorn and he’s definitely a winner with his puffed up body and unusual bounce. For a chapter full of gears and technology, Pop Thorn is one of the last Skylanders that seems logical to include in this Adventure Pack. Countdown’s fuse is based around a timer, and Wind-Up visually looks like this chapter is his home.

The Battle Hammer magic item provides a hammer attack while it’s active not unlike attacks available in other magic items. However, the Sky Diamond substantially increases the value of money collected during combat, to the point where it can be exploited. It is hands-down the most useful magic item released for any Skylanders game yet.

Tower of Time is a fine addition to the relaunched Skylanders Adventure Pack library that was on hiatus during Giants. The clock tower toy is well made, Pop Thorn is cool — albeit a weird choice — and the Sky Diamond is full of win. There isn’t much replay value to the Tower of Time chapter itself and the manipulation of time is purely mechanical on the most basic level, but the companion accessories will provide many more hours of fun in the main Skylanders Swap Force game.

– Dan Bradley

Skylanders Swap Force: Tower of Time was played on Xbox 360 and provided by Activision for this review. It was released on October 13, 2013.

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Skylanders Swap Force: Tower of Time Adventure Pack Review

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