Skylanders: Trap Team – Blastermind

5 Overall Score
In-Game: 6/10
Paint: 5/10
Sculpt: 4/10

We can finally open those magic gates and skipping lock puzzles is an ability you’ll definitely appreciate.

Everything else about the toy and in-game character is pretty “meh.”

The Blastermind Trap Master from Skylanders: Trap Team is in a very similar situation to Stink Bomb, a character that previously appeared in Skylanders: Swap Force. It’s a strange comparison as the two characters share nearly nothing in common, but stick with me. In Swap Force, Stink Bomb was the first available Swapper to align with the “sneak (or something)” set of powers. So until he hit shelves, Swap Force was a game no one could complete. Same goes for Blastermind; he is the first magic Trap Master to be released, so all the in-game magic-aligned portals are, until you have this figure, totally inaccessible. Blastermind’s appearance on store shelves, then, is an event not just for us hardcore collectors; every kid or casual fan will no doubt be clamoring to hunt him down. But aside from his status as the first magic Trap Master available, is he really worth your time and energy?

Sculpt

Blastermind’s figure, unfortunately, doesn’t really set the imagination on fire. It is clever that they used his cape and levitating ability to make up for his short stature and keep him in line with the average size of the rest of the Trap Masters, but this action figure doesn’t really scream “action” like a Wallop or Lob-Star does. As with all Trap Masters, he is augmented with “Traptanium;” aka translucent plastic bits that qualify him as one of the Trap Masters and highlight his powers. From what I can tell from the currently released figures and the shots of those yet to arrive in stores, Blastermind has perhaps the lamest Traptanium feature as part of his figure. His little helmet, which resembles a colander, is littered with purple spikes of various sizes. Spikes? How is that in any way as cool as Wallop’s hammers, Short Cut’s scissors or even Wildfire’s lame shield? Even if you can forgive the “meh” Traptanium feature, Blastermind just isn’t all that interesting as a figure.

Paint

Blastermind fares a little better here. As with all Skylanders, paint jobs tend to vary slightly from individual figure to individual figure – we’ve all run across a toy or two with accidental “derp” eyes – and the Blastermind on my shelf is thankfully blemish and error-free. As a magic-aligned Skylander, he is heavy on the blues, purples and silvers throughout, and the paintjob fits right in with the character’s personality. If I have one complaint it is that Blastermind, like a few Skylanders before him, has a faintly airbrushed texture to some of his paint. To me, this seems like laziness and decreases the “pop” of the character’s colors. The S.H. Figurearts Dragonball Z toys pull off the airbrushed look by separating the colors from one another with a combo or painted lines and variations in the sculpt itself. Blastermind and the rest of the airbrushed Skylanders have colors that lack clean separations and fade into spatters, cheapening the overall look of the toy.

On a side note, the S.H. Figurearts Dragonball Z line also uses translucent plastics in their designs to represent the series’ trademark energy blasts and auras. The SSJ Vegeta and Final Form Freeza toys’ yellow and purple energy effects are simply stunning, and make the Trap Masters’ use of the same materials seem amateurish and underdeveloped.

In-Game

For most, this is going to be the area that matters most – is Blastermind a fun character to use in-game? Honestly, that depends on your play style and how it fits into Trap Team’s somewhat poor balance between ranged and melee attack strength. Since Toys For Bob took the reins back from Vicarious Visions for Trap Team (V.V. was responsible for Swap Force, allowing TFB extra development time for Trap Team while also still getting out an annual franchise entry), they have reduced the effectiveness of melee characters to almost nil; only your toughest and strongest melee Skylanders have the ability to go toe-to-toe with some of the game’s bosses. This imbalance works in Blastermind’s favor as he is an almost exclusively ranged character. His main attacks involve either levitating and tossing around distant enemies or using telepathy to control and damage the bad guys. If you plan on getting up close and personal with Blastermind, you won’t last long; his physical defense and hit points are bottom of the barrel low. If you can keep the enemy at a distance, Blastermind is more than effective. If not, you are pretty much screwed.

Since I tend to be more of a melee-style player, Blastermind’s unique powers don’t really do much for me. He does, however, have a Soul Gem ability that, simply put, rules, and keeps him from being a dust collector on the shelf. If you find his Soul Gem and purchase the upgrade from Persephone, Blastermind can use his telepathy to instantly bypass any of the game’s lock puzzles. The rotating box minigame used as the lock puzzle template isn’t as fun as it was in Swap Force, and being forced to deal with these puzzles represents a significant break in the game’s action. Much like random encounters in RPGs pull the player away from exploration and tend to disorient, these lock puzzles are more of an annoyance than anything else. So Blastermind’s ability to skip right through them ends up being the character’s saving grace. That, and the fact that if you want to get through those magic-themed portals, he is your only means of doing so at present.

As you can probably tell, Blastermind won’t be in my main roster of characters anytime soon. His design and sculpt are ok, even if the Traptanium augment seems wasted. The paint job is serviceable, if uninspired, and melee-centric players won’t find much use for him. But man, that ability to skip lock puzzles is pure gold, and triumphantly returning to once-inaccessible magic portals is extremely rewarding. Seeing as the much cooler looking Enigma, the other magic Trap Master, isn’t available yet, I figure most players will end up with Blastermind as part of their collection. But that doesn’t mean he is in any way outstanding or special; for now he fills a need and that’s it.

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Jason Nimer
Author: Jason Nimer View all posts by
Jason Nimer has been playing video games for nearly 30 years. He has been professionally reviewing them for nearly a decade, with well over 1,000 written reviews to his credit. Jason's signature gaming credit is completing a no-nicknames, US-only, legit Living Dex in Pokemon. His other interests include 80's and 90's punk rock, power metal, comics (though all he reads now is the IDW TMNT ongoing series and his old Preacher hardcovers), collecting and playing Skylanders and being the biggest Dragonball Z fan on the entire planet (and yes, he CAN prove it). Jason lives in Georgia with his wife, Wendi, and daughter, Lily, and will tell anyone who will listen that Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! is the best video game of all time.

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