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Skylanders Imaginators 101

Let me start off by saying Skylanders Imaginators is the best Skylanders game to date.

Yes, there are some areas they could improve and there are some things they left out, but overall in the grand scheme of things, this is the best game they have ever put out.

Skylanders Imaginators Starter Packs

Thankfully the Starter Pack situation has dropped down to a normal level this year. With that being said though, there are still three options:
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Standard Starter Pack

Skylanders Imaginators Starter Pack PS4

The Standard Starter Pack contains:

It is available for:

That’s right. There is no longer an option for the Nintendo Wii. The Wii is now more than 10 years old and simply cannot handle the new games.

Crash Edition Starter Pack

Skylanders Imaginators Crash Edition Starter Pack

Your second option is only really an option if you play on PlayStation. In the Crash (Bandicoot) Edition you’ll get:

And as I mentioned above, it is only available for:

However, unlike the guest star fiasco we saw last year with SuperChargers, Crash Bandicoot and Dr. Neo Cortex can be played on all consoles.

See the Guest Stars section down below for more details.

Dark Edition Starter Pack

Skylanders Imaginators Dark Edition Starter Pack

Finally, you have the option to purchase the Dark Edition. This is the fourth year in a row that we’ve seen a Dark Edition Starter Pack so it should be familiar to returning fans.

The big difference this year (from recent years) is that the Dark Edition is once again a GameStop Exclusive.

This Starter Pack is by far the best value as it includes:

This pack is available for:

Oddly enough you may notice that there is no PS3 version. This is not a mistake. I can’t explain why they chose not to make one, but that was their decision.

BONUS: Portal Owner’s Pack

While it wasn’t released at launch, they did decide to offer a Portal Owner’s Pack once again this year. This pack will be exclusive to Walmart.

This pack simply includes:

Yes, you still need a Portal to play, but any previous Portal will do.

Skylanders Imaginators Portal

Part of the reason the Portal Owner’s Pack was possible this year is that they didn’t design a new Portal for Skylanders Imaginators.

Depending on where you live, you could receive either a SWAP Force Portal or a slightly modified (Trap slot removed) SuperChargers Portal in your Skylanders Imaginators Starter Pack.

But the good news is that all previous Portals will work with Skylanders Imaginators so you can pick your favorite design and play with whichever Portal you want.

Sensei

In total, there are 31 Sensei figures in Skylanders Imaginators.

To break it down a little bit further, there are 20 Skylanders Sensei and 11 Villain Sensei.

The Skylanders Sensei are brand new characters that we’ve never seen or met before.

The Villain Sensei are characters that we first met back in Skylanders Trap Team. They have been reformed and now we finally have figures of these characters to play with.

Each Sensei character belongs to a particular Element (as in past years) as well as a Battle Class (something new this year).

Each new Sensei you put on the Portal WILL:

  • Increase your Imaginators’ Level Cap by 1

Each new Sensei you put on the Portal MAY:

  • Unlock a new attack for Imaginators of the same Battle Class
  • Unlock a new Sensei Realm
  • Unlock a new Imaginator Part

I know this is a lot of new terminology to take in right now, but I will explain it all by the end of this article.


Elements

As we’ve seen in the past two years there are 10 possible Elements.

Each playable character in the game (with the exception of Kaos) will be assigned one of these elements.

You can quickly tell which element a character belongs to by looking at the base. In Skylanders Imaginators you want to pay attention to the color of the base as well as the design etched into it.

If you’re at the store, you can look at the color of the box or look for the symbol and words on the box spelling out the element to which the figure belongs.

Skylanders Imaginators Elements

Battle Class

This year, in addition to an element, each character is also assigned a Battle Class.

If you were around for Skylanders SWAP Force, this is very similar to the “Movement Type” that each character had in that game.

Once again there are 10 Battle Classes.

Each of these Battle Classes are represented by a symbol which can be found in the image below.

Skylanders Imaginators Battle Classes

If you haven’t noticed them already, these symbols can be found in the center circle on the base of each figure as well as on the box right next to the elemental symbol.

Imaginators

While I really love what they’ve done with the Sensei figures this year, the Imaginators are what really make this game stand out from the rest.

Imaginators are the characters that you create.

You begin by selecting your Element, then your Battle Class, then everything from your head to your legs and all the parts in between.

Creation Crystals

The Creation Crystals are the items you need in order to create your own Imaginators.

Each Creation Crystal has been assigned a particular element. So, as stated above, this is why you need to choose your element first. You will need to decide which Crystal you want to buy.

Once you put your Crystal on the Portal, you will have to select a Battle Class.

The game does a pretty good job of emphasizing this next point, but I feel the need to point it out again as it could cause a lot of heartbreak at home if the kids aren’t paying attention.

Once you select a Battle Class it cannot be changed!

From this point on, your element and your Battle Class are locked in, but you will be able to change all the other parts as often as you like.

While I think that this was a poor design choice, I feel that the community (myself included) have been able to get past it because the rest of this game is so awesome.

With that being said though, some hardcore fans have found a few workarounds outside of Skylanders Imaginators that will allow you to reset the Crystals. These “tricks” require some extra hardware and software, but if you’ve been a longtime Skylanders fan, there’s a chance that you have these items laying around.

My best advice for you right now is to plan ahead. If you’re buying this for your kids, sit down with them and make sure they understand what’s going on so you hopefully have fewer problems down the road.


Imaginator Parts

In Skylanders Imaginators there are well over 1000 parts to collect and unlock. The good news is that you get an Imaginite Chest (which contains an Imaginator Part) for just about everything you do in the game.

The vast majority of Imaginator Parts are gained through Imaginite Chests at random.

However, there are a handful of parts that will require you to complete a very specific task or have a specific character/item to unlock.

Mystery Chests

Aside from the Imaginite Chests you can collect in the game, you can speed up the collection process by purchasing Mystery Chests.

These chests are purchased in blind bags and you can get a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Chest.

Each Chest will contain nine Imaginator Parts, but a better chance will guarantee you more rare parts.

If you get a Bronze Chest, you will receive a minimum of:

  • 2 Rare
  • 1 Epic
  • 2 Ultimate

and at least 2 of these items will be Weapons. (They could be Imaginator Parts, Gear, or Weapons.)

If you get a Silver Chest, you will receive a minimum of:

  • 1 Rare
  • 1 Epic
  • 3 Ultimate

and at least 2 of these items will be Weapons. (They could be Imaginator Parts, Gear, or Weapons.)

If you get a Gold Chest, you will receive a minimum of:

  • 1 Epic
  • 4 Ultimate

and at least 2 of these items will be Weapons. (They could be Imaginator Parts, Gear, or Weapons.)

Digital Chests

As we saw last year in Skylanders SuperChargers, they have begun to introduce microtransactions into the Skylanders series. This year they come in the form of digital chests.

You have three options when purchasing digitally:

First, you can buy a digital Mystery Chest. This is simply the digital version of the physical chest described above. Upon purchase you will be rewarded with a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Chest.

Second, if you don’t like blind bags, you could test the waters and pick up a Copper Chest. This Chest only contains 3 Parts, but you are guaranteed:

  • 1 Epic
  • 1 Ultimate

at least one of which will be a Weapon. (They could be Imaginator Parts, Gear, or Weapons.)

Finally, if you want to get the best value, you can go all out and buy a Platinum Chest. This Chest contains a whopping 20 Parts and guarantees you:

  • 1 Rare
  • 5 Epic
  • 7 Ultimate

at least 3 of which will be a Weapons. (They could be Imaginator Parts, Gear, or Weapons.)

Rarity

Within the Imaginator Parts there are four levels of rarity.

  • Common
  • Rare
  • Epic
  • Ultimate

We don’t have exact odds for each of these levels, but the better parts are definitely more rare.

Duplicates

With any form of Chest (physical, digital, Mystery, Imaginite, etc…) it is possible to obtain duplicate parts.

However, getting a duplicate part is not a complete loss. Each time you unlock a part you already have in your collection, the stats of that part increase.

As far as I’ve seen, there doesn’t seem to be a limit as to how many times these stats can be improved.

Guest Stars

As I hope you know by now we have two more “Guest Stars” joining the game this year. Say hello to Crash Bandicoot and Dr. Neo Cortex.

Crash Bandicoot & Dr. Neo Cortex - Skylanders Imaginators

These guests are being much more well received than last year. This is mostly due to the fact that they can be played on any console.

In addition to being awesome playable characters, Crash and Cortex unlock an additional Crash-themed level called Thumpin’ Wumpa Islands.

Unlike other Adventure Pack Levels, there is no level piece. You simply place Crash OR Cortex on the Portal to unlock Thumpin’ Wumpa Islands.

The M.A.P.

The M.A.P. (Mysterious Ancient Place) is this year’s hub world.

In past years you may recall wandering around the Skylanders Academy as your hub world. Well, the Academy is still there and it’s still its normal size, but it is just a tiny part of what the M.A.P. is all about.

Let me just start off by saying that the M.A.P. is huge. This is nothing like any other Skylanders hub world you’ve ever seen before and that’s a good thing.

While you still access all of the main campaign levels from the M.A.P. you also have access to the Sensei Realms, mini Adventures, and some many other secrets that I don’t want to spoil for you here.

I think it’s safe to say that you’ll be impressed.

Sensei Realms

The Sensei Realms are a new type of area that requires a Sensei of a specific element to access them. In total there are 10 different Sensei Realms, one for each of the 10 Elements.

Most of these Realms could have been complete levels on their own, but they don’t play directly into the main storyline. They are optional side missions that provide you with more content should you decided to purchase more Sensei characters.

Gameplay

The basic gameplay in Skylanders Imaginators has not changed much from previous years. However, there are a number of new areas or activities that you may come across while playing.

Battle Gongs

Battle Gongs can only be struck by a Sensei. These are not element-specific so any Sensei will do.

Striking the gong will create an impromptu arena-type battle in the middle of a level. You must complete the challenge with a single Sensei in order to get your reward which is quick substantial.

There is typically one Battle Gong per level in the main campaign levels.

Sensei Shrines

Also typically appear once per level are the new Sensei Shrines. There is one shrine for each of the 10 Battle Classes.

When a Sensei character visits the shrine matching his Battle Class, he will be able to unlock his Sky-Chi Power. This is a unique super-move that each Sensei can unlock.

Once you use your Sky-Chi power it must be recharged by defeating more enemies. This is a great way to get out of a tough spot during a big fight.

Collectibles

While the Imaginator Parts that come out of the chests are random, the remainder of the collectibles (treasure chests, Soul Gems, etc..) throughout the game can be found in standard locations.

This was the norm in the early Skylanders games, but they decided to randomize all the collectible last year in Skylanders SuperChargers. I am happy to say we are back to the original method.

With that being said though, I am impressed with a number of the hiding spots they used this year. Not all the collectibles are sitting out in the open for all to see. A few of them may take a little bit of hunting.

Creation Clash

Creation Clash is the name of this year’s Skystones game.

They’ve tried a number of variations on the game in recent years, but now it’s time to go back to basics.

The only major change to the game this year is the occasional appearance of a Battle Class symbol on the board. If you play a card that matches that symbol (on that spot), that card will receive a boost that basically makes it invincible.

Arena Battle

Heading back to the M.A.P. you can also access the Arena.

This area provides a simple three round battle to help you test your Skylanders and level up while listening to some clever commentary from Chill Bill and Broccoli Guy.

Racing

Also from the M.A.P. you will once again have access to Skylanders Racing.

The racing itself is the same deal you saw last year.

However, all 12 racetracks are available to you from the beginning. If you don’t have any physical vehicles they provide you with one “loaner” vehicle of each type so you will be able to race on all the tracks.

Additionally, there is the option to connect with friends and race online. If your friends aren’t online it will try to match you up with other players looking for a race.

If you don’t want to go online, no worries. You can still race all of the tracks locally versus friends or the computer.

Adventure Packs

There are a grand total of three Adventure Packs this year. Each of these packs will unlock a new level as well as provide you with at least one new character to play.

Gryphon Park Observatory

Which features:

Enchanted Elven Forest

Which features:

Thumpin’ Wumpa Islands

Which features:

As I mentioned above, there is no level piece for the Crash pack. You simply place Crash or Cortex on the Portal to unlock the level.

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