Skylanders: Swap Force has finally arrived on store shelves, allowing fans and newcomers alike to hop back into a fully interactive fantasy world, where they can pick and choose which characters they want to play as. With 55+ new characters available – and the ability to use ones from the original Skylanders and its Giants spin-off – that's a lot to choose from.
Thankfully, we've produced this mini-guide that will give you some handy advice on which characters to use. Some are better from a distance than up-close, while others are so powerful that they'll really make a difference on their quest. Regardless of your tactics, you don't want to miss out on these guys.
Keep one thing in mind – not all of these characters' abilities will be available from the get-go. Some you'll have to unlock through pods or store purchases. They're certainly worth it, though.
Blast Zone (Fire Based)
This fiery Skylanders character comes easily recommended, mainly because he comes packed in with the Starter Kit. Blast Zone uses fire-based attacks to his advantage, as he can either breathe it up close to enemies in his proximity, or fire bomb-like projectiles at those that are at a distance. In addition, his fire shield also keeps him protecting from incoming attacks, albeit for a short time.
A Dark version of this character is also available.
Zoo Lou (Life Based)
Imagine Conan the Barbarian mixed with a rabbit, and you'll get Zoo Lou. This powerful warrior can really do some damage when called upon, either by stomping around with a summoned glowing steed or throwing club projectiles at enemies from a distance. He can also attack up close with his enormous club – it's not just for show.
A Legendary version of Zoo Lou is also available.
Wash Buckler (Water Based)
Wash Buckler is easily one of the best characters in the game, as he can do just as much defensively as he can offensively. He can shoot bubbles that trap even the largest of enemies, incapacitating them long enough for Wash to run in and strike them with his sword. He can also spin around with a melee-style attack, hitting multiple enemies at once with his octopus-like legs. Finally, he can shoot devastating ink blots, perfect for hitting enemies from a distance. He's included in the Starter Pack as well.
A Dark version of Wash Buckler is also available.
Boom Jet (Air Based)
Boom Jet is a superb character if you like taking on enemies with firepower. He can shoot enormous bombs that can take out several foes with one clean shot. He can also fire missiles at them, firing multiple projectiles at once so that they'll clean up anyone the bombs might have missed.
Bumble Blast (Life Based)
Bumble Blast may not seem like the ideal character that you'll want to lock lips with – he's a walking bee hive, and has them continuously flying out of his mouth – but he's very effective when it comes to battle. He can shoot smaller bees that home in on any enemies that are in the area, and he can also charge his shots to fire bigger ones, which circle around foes and do more damage to them. They're perfect when you're battling against larger bosses.
Lava Barf Eruptor (Fire Based)
One of the better characters in the Skylanders saga gets even better – though a bit grosser – in Swap Force. He can spew a devastating amount of lava from his mouth to create a small circle of destruction surrounding him – yes, he does indeed puke it up. Also, he can throw flying fist attacks from his hands to hit enemies from afar, and spit out fireballs to take care of anyone nearby.
A special Volcanic version of Lava Barf Eruptor is also available.
Star Strike (Magic Based)
One of the more mysterious characters in the game, Star Strike has some great spiritual powers that will really help out. He can jump in the air and summon an ally to shoot down beams at enemies from above; he can throw a boomerang-like projectile to hit multiple baddies at once; and, for those bad guys that shoot bullets, he can deflect them using special shielding, hurling the shots back at them.
LightCore and Enchanted versions of Star Strike are also available.
Stink Bomb (Life Based)
Though no one will mistake him for a sweet-smelling character, Stink Bomb is easily a favorite thus far. This fighter is very versatile and nimble, and can also use stealth to his advantage, disappearing in a cloud of stinky smoke, only to re-emerge to smack an enemy around. In addition, he can also charge and release a special projectile attack that hits foes from all sides. Chances are they'll probably smell afterwards.
Roller Brawl (Undead Based)
Obviously inspired by the roller ball leagues making the rounds these days, Roller Brawl is as good as it gets when it comes to Undead class. She's a very quick character, and can launch a devastating space attack, letting her knock out multiple foes at once while quickly skating around. She also has splendid combos she can chain together for devastating close attacks. It's also interesting how she only speaks in whistle.
Mega Ram Spyro (Magic Based)
Finally, we have to include Spyro the Dragon, not just because of his video game lineage, but also because he's a terrific character in Swap Force. His growth in horn size enables him to have more effective running ram attacks – his horns light up when you execute one. He can also pounce on enemies with a mighty ground slam, and breathe fire attacks – just as he's done in his previous games.
A Dark version of Mega Ram Spyro is also available.
Skylanders: Swap Force is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. It will also release on PlayStation 4 on November 15th and Xbox One on November 22nd.