So, you've bought into the whole Skylanders phenomenon. You've bought the latest game - the brilliant Trap Team - and you've spent hours perusing the figures, buying your favourites, and playing through the co-op adventure, as you bring the little plastic toys to life and play as them in the game, by placing them on the bundled USB portal. Whether Trap Team is your first or your fourth game in the series, you're probably well aware by now how much of a time (and money!) sink the games can be. With umpteen characters to collect, upgrade and battle with, if you're anything like us, you'll find your initial collection ballooning to epic proportions despite your best efforts (we've got well over 60 so far... and we've only been buying them for a little over a year...)
As the 3DS game is rather different, and doesn't actually make use of the titular traps, this guide is referring only to the home console versions - on 360, Xbox One, PS4, PS3, Wii U, Wii (and iOS).
An intro to the traps
Assuming you've started with the Starter Pack for your console of choice, you'll have a copy of the game, two new Skylanders (the crossbow-wielding crocodile Snap Shot and the little green tomato launching Food Fight) and two traps - a green life trap, and a blue water trap. While older games have been as much about collecting the figures as it is about playing the game - while it's perfectly possible to finish the game with just the two included characters, some areas are locked off, requiring certain types of characters to open - Trap Team brought with it a whole new thing for you to collect - the traps.
Trap Team's story revolves around recapturing a load of escaped villains, and beating them in a mini boss fight in order to encase them in 'traptanium' crystals, and use their powers for good instead. Once captured, you can swap your Skylander out and play as your trapped villain at the touch of a button - and there's a wide range of crazy characters to play as. But if you want to play as the villains, you'll need to have a trap of the corresponding element, with each bad guy belonging to one of ten different elemental families.
As the Starter Pack comes with water and life traps, that leaves some eight more you'll need to buy if you want to catch 'em all, two of which are a bit more involved than the others. And while trapping each villain is in no way essential to finishing the game, the fact each one has a little quest associated with them in the game does make you want to 'trap em all'.
Getting the core elemental traps
First and foremost, you'll likely want to complete your collection of the eight core elements - which means nabbing yourself traps of the magic, undead, earth, fire, air and tech elements to go alongside your water and life ones.
Traps are sold separately at about £6 a pop, but your best bet, on paper, is to plump for two triple packs to get everything in one go, one containing the tech, magic and earth traps (here's a link to the pack on Amazon), and the second the remaining undead, fire and air traps (and another link to the traps on Amazon). These triple trap packs should be around £15 each - but the problem is that Trap Team traps generally seem to be rather hard to find, both in shops and online - which means you'll likely end up paying a premium. Paradoxically, at the time of writing, you're actually better off going for the individual traps from Toys R Us - for £6.99 each - rather than the two triple packs at a crazily inflated £30 each. It's also worth noting that, while there are several different designs for each elemental trap, they all work exactly the same in game, and you only really need one of each to see and do everything in game, with the additional designs only really worth it for hardcore Skylanders collectors. The traps are as follows, with postage at £4.95 for orders of less than £29.99:
- Magic Trap - get from Toys R Us
- Undead Trap - get from Toys R Us
- Earth Trap - get from Toys R Us
- Fire Trap - get from Toys R Us
- Air Trap - get from Toys R Us
- Tech Trap - get from Toys R Us
Unfortunately, details as to how and when these traps will hit the shelves are yet to be revealed - and we're not even sure how many packs are coming. Some sites suggest there are four triple packs inbound, but we've only been able to find two on retailer's sites - and unfortunately, the mixture of traps doesn't look quite as convenient as the current packs.
When/if these new packs are released, you'll likely have to buy two packs and a single trap to get everything, as one pack contains the elusive Kaos trap (more on that later), which muddles things up a little bit. As such, your best bet is the air/magic/undead traps (currently listed on Smyths Toys), and the fire/kaos/tech triple pack (also on Smyths Toys) for £15 each, plus a single earth trap for about £6, for a total of £36. The only problem is they're not listed on any other retailer as of yet, and while Smyth's toys has them on their website, they're down as TBC 2015, and as such are unbuyable at the moment. When they come out, however, this will be the cheapest way of getting all the core element traps you'll need.
There is one more way of getting all the traps on the cheap though - second hand stores. However, there is a slight downside to buying these second hand, as the traps may come with villains already on them - perhaps ones from further into the game than you are, or with their quests already completed, which may take a bit of the fun out of going and collecting them all, as it's effectively done the work for you. That said, there's nothing stopping you replaying the villain specific quests - so if you're not too bothered about that, CEX is an excellent resource for stocking up on traps, if your local store has them in stock, with prices ranging from about £3 to £6. They do have a website you can order from, but use at your own risk - everything we've ever bought from them has come wrong, and it's been a massive farce to swap.
The two new elements
The observant among you will notice that out of the ten elements we mentioned earlier, we've only covered eight so far. That's because, for the first time in series history, Skylanders: Trap Team added two new elements to the proceedings - Light and Dark. Throughout the story, you'll come across villains and element doors from 'unknown elements', unless you've purchased the Light and Dark expansion packs (each containing a Trap Master character, trap and extra level themed around each element) for about £24.99 each.
If you've bought those two sets, you'll already have the two traps you need - but this isn't the only way you can unlock the Light and Dark elements and trap their respective villains. If you've missed out on the (now already fairly rare) packs, you can still trap light and dark villains, and unlock the light and dark doors - but its a little more complex than simply picking up one of the light and dark traps now appearing in stores outside of their expansion pack.
You see, a trap on its own isn't sufficient to unlock the new elements - you need, at the very least, a trap master and a trap of each before you can start trapping all the villains. That means you need to buy either a Knight Light figure and a light trap or the light expansion pack to be able to trap any villains of the light element - and likewise, you'll need a minimum of Knight Mare and a dark trap, or the dark expansion pack to trap the dark villains. Obviously, on paper, the Trap Master and trap route is cheaper, with the figure weighing in at £15 and a trap at £6 for a total of £21 (even if you don't save much) - but as is often the way with Skylanders, the scarcity of the figures makes things a little more complex.
Unfortunately, as with everything Trap Team related at the moment, everything seems to be either out of stock, not out yet or so insanely priced it's hard to justify. The light expansion and dark expansion are both £45+ each on Amazon, while the Trap Masters, Knight Light and Knight Mare aren't out quite yet individually - although, according to Amazon, they'll hit stores at the end of the week, on the 20th March. The cheapest place for these guys seems to be Toys R Us again, where they're £14.99 each, although you will be paying £4.99 postage for orders under £29.99 - if you're not buying anything else, Amazon's slightly higher price of £16.41 may be the better option. The light/dark traps meanwhile, are simply down as TBC on Smyth's Toys website (with a price of £5.99 each), so your guess is as good as ours!
Here's all the links you'll need, with all prices correct at the time of writing:
Knight Light (Light Trap Master) - £16.41 on Amazon or £14.99 on Toys R Us
Knight Mare (Dark Trap Master) - £16.41 on Amazon or £14.99 on Toys R Us
Light Trap, Smyth's Toys - £5.99 on Smyths Toys
Dark Trap, Smyth's Toys - £5.99 on Smyths Toys
The "Kaosssss!" trap
Now, that Kaos trap we mentioned earlier. Although you'll now have ten traps - one for each element - there's actually another, special trap available too, which can only be used to trap a single villain - the ultimate bad guy and recurring Skylanders antagonist, Kaos. Sort of an unofficial eleventh element, if you want to 100% the villains, you'll need to nab yourself one of these traps too - if you can find them. The regular elements are hard enough to find, but Kaos traps are basically like goldust - one currently retails for an astounding £54.99 on Amazon! If you have your heart set on capturing Kaos, you may want to hold off on completing your trap collection until the aforementioned triple trap packs with Kaos trap land, rumour has it in late March - because we sure as heck don't recommend blowing £55 on a tiny piece of plastic!
So there you have it - a rather long-winded guide to completing your trap collection for Skylanders: Trap Team. On paper, it's not actually too tricky to do, especially with the triple packs Activision have put together - but the biggest problem is the great Skylanders trap drought of 2015 that seems to be gripping retailers at the moment. As long term fans will likely remember with the Great Ninjini Shortage of 2013, shortages of Skylanders stock is all too common a problem for these games. Whether it's due to higher demand, poor organisation, or retailers being reluctant to stock the toys, it's something that makes the life of a collector harder - and something we'll be hoping they fix for the inevitable fifth Skylanders game.