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Skylanders Ring of Heroes review: An essential title for fans of the series
Skylanders fans everywhere can rejoice, as Skylanders Ring of Heroes has brought the iconic toys-to-life franchise to your mobile device. This new title is the product of a collaboration between Activision and seasoned mobile developer Com2uS, but does it live up to the Skylander legacy? Keep reading to find out!
Simple but functional story
The story in Skylanders Ring of Heroes isn’t much of a departure from the other games in the beloved franchise. The plastic figurines have once again come to life, but this time the Portal Masters have joined them in Skylands.
The evil wizard Kaos, in an attempt to take over portals with the Book of Dark Magic, has created a rift between dimensions. This pulled in characters from various Skylanders games as well as the Portal Masters themselves, which now stand alongside the Skylanders as they battle. They don’t seem to do much in battle, but there they are.
The story isn't groundbreaking, but it does provide an incentive to continue the grind
The story is propelled forward by a seemingly never ending list of quests, which give small rewards for completing levels or simple tasks one-by-one. As you advance you’ll slowly unravel the mystery of the dimensional rift by tracking down Kaos and restoring peace to Skylands.
The narrative element of Skylanders Ring of Heroes is more developed than similar titles like Summoners War or Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians. The writing isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it does provide an extra incentive to continue the grind.
The first thing you’ll notice about Skylanders Ring of Heroes is that the graphics are phenomenal. Developer Com2uS has managed to perfectly capture the Skylanders look and make it work on mobile devices. For those of us without high-end gaming smartphones, there are three graphical settings to choose from, all of which look great.
Looking at screenshots gives you some idea of the attention to detail put into the graphics, but the animations are also a thing to behold. They’re not quite as elaborate as the previous games in the series, but for a mobile game they’re pretty impressive. In fact, often the character models look identical to their console counterparts.
Since the Portal Masters are also present in this world, you can customize your player character’s appearance at the start of the game. It isn’t as developed as other mobile games like Hogwarts Mystery or Pokemon Go, but it’s a nice touch. Check out the gameplay video below to get a sense of how beautiful the game truly is.
Gameplay is somewhere between the traditional Skylanders action RPG style and turn-based RPG, with a new system of mana. Your Skylander’s skills each have a mana requirement and a cooldown, so you’ll need to act quickly to make your most powerful moves count.
The mana bar is also shared between your team, so you’ll have to take that into account before spamming skills on cooldown. Each Skylander has at least two skills, and unlocks another upon awakening. Mana costs are displayed beneath the skill icons, as seen below.
You can also take along a companion villain creature, whose attacks don’t require any mana. This means you can finally take control of that little Chompy you’ve been bullying throughout the series. Like the Skylanders, these villains can be leveled up and evolved, making them slightly more powerful.
Battles last less than three minutes
Skylanders and villains alike still have elements, but now they play a bigger role in combat. Each element (except light and dark) is strong against two elements and weak against two elements. Choosing the right team for each battle is key to coming out victorious.
Battles are quick, typically lasting less than three minutes. Like most free-to-play mobile games, it features an auto-battle mode to make the grind a little easier. Depending on how you feel about mobile games, this could be a good thing or a bad thing.
Progression and other features
Skylanders Ring of Heroes uses the somewhat controversial energy system to gate progression. Each time you set out on an adventure, you’ll use up a certain amount of energy. Once depleted, you’ll either have to wait or use the premium currency to continue.
Between adventures you return to your floating island town, where you can build structures that give bonuses or rewards over time. Structures are unlocked as you gain character levels by winning battles or completing missions, which are essentially achievements.
Once you’ve reached a certain level you unlock the arena, which lets you test out your Skylanders against those of other players in PvP. F2P players will obviously come in with a big disadvantage, but PvP can also be skipped if it’s not your thing.
It will come as no surprise that Skylanders Ring of Heroes has a premium currency that costs real money. It can be used to open summon boxes to unlock new Skylanders, replenish energy, and so on. There are a few free games with no in-app-purchases, but this kind of monetization has become the norm.
If you spend any money on the original Skylanders figures, this system is probably less taxing on your wallet. You won’t have anything nice to display on your shelves, but you will be able to carry your collection around with you in your phone.
Skylanders Ring of Heroes review – Conclusion
For fans of previous Skylanders games, Skylanders Ring of Heroes is a long time coming. It’s a great adaptation of the series for mobile devices, even if it does contain all of the baggage that typically comes with free-to-play games.
Skylanders Ring of Heroes is a must for fans of the series
Perhaps the biggest drawback is the selection of Skylanders. Although there are 80+ Skylanders and each has a unique awakened form, some fan-favorites are missing. For example, you start the game with the popular Hot Dog and the fairly unknown Blades. At least Spyro is included as a pre-registration reward.
This shouldn’t be a deal breaker, as Com2uS is more than capable of adding more Skylanders in the months and years to come. All in all, Skylanders Ring of Heroes is must for fans of the series, and worth checking out if you’re looking to take a break from Summoners War or other mobile RPGs.
That’s all for this Skylanders Ring of Heroes review. The game is now soft launching in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, so if you live in one of those countries click on the link below to download the game right away. For the rest of you, there’s always a VPN if you just can’t wait.