Skylanders: Trap Team Ka-Boom

4 Overall Score
In-Game: 5/10
Paint: 3/10
Sculpt: 4/10

Bad paint job | Slow moving and weak character in-game

Ka-Boom!
Skylanders: Trap Team
Activision
2015

You may not agree with me, but I’ve often thought that the fire element in Skylanders games has gotten the short end of the stick. Aside from Trail Blazer and Smolderdash, the fire element toys and characters have almost always hit with a resounding “meh.” Just looking over my fire element shelf, I see about a zillion different Eruptors, the derptastic Hot Head, the “one and done” Sunburn, the useless Blast Zone and the “I smolder with generic rage” Ignitor. Not a lot to get excited about. Trap Team’s first fire element, Wildfire, is no exception; armed with a Traptanium shield (?) and looking like the Cowardly Lion encased in carbonite, I almost never use the character in game. The second fire Trap Master, Ka-Boom, is now on store shelves, and unfortunately, continues the trend of fire-related characters not burning all that hot.

Sculpt

I just don’t know where they were going with Ka-Boom. He is one of the bulkiest and heaviest Trap Masters yet, but his design and sculpt are uninspired and fail to capture the imagination. The quintessential muscle man, Ka-Boom sports a loincloth and a helmet with a little flame, or perhaps his hair, peeking out from the top. He fits with the rustic, nature-inspired feel of fellow Trap Master Bushwack, another disappointing character. The lone saving grace is his Traptanium weapon, a giant red cannon/missile launcher. When it comes to the toy’s sculpt this is the high point, but falls apart in-game. More on that in a moment.

Paint

Ka-Boom just isn’t up to snuff with his paintjob. He is blasted with different shades of dark red, and the paint colors do little to differentiate from one another. The accompanying reds and yellows on the fire base are washed out and less detailed than previous other fire element figures, and his clothing is colored with 2-3 shades of almost identical browns. His face, helmet and hair are the worst offenders. The white used on his actual face (eyes) is a little smeary, and his mouth is barely visible with a red that is too close to his skin color. The orange on his goggles is slightly off and the fire/hair on his helmet’s top is little more than a blob of generic yellow. And when I say “blob,” I mean it; the paint spills over to the helmet itself, giving the impression someone just Jackson Pollock’d his head and moved on. The paintjob on Ka-Boom has to be the laziest I’ve seen since Phantom Cynder or Lava Barf Eruptor.

In-Game

If the Ka-Boom toy, imperfect as it may be, gave way to some decent gameplay, I could forgive the faults. It doesn’t. He is a ranged character, shooting flaming globes from his Traptanium cannon, but his shots don’t feel as precise as they do with other ranged characters. Upgrading leads to more globes fired per round, among other things, but even that doesn’t do much good offensively. He has a fairly high defense stat, but is one of the slowest moving Trap Masters yet. So… he’s slow, his attacks aren’t the greatest and his toy is sub-par. All those negatives are valid, but I haven’t even touched on the one thing that bugged me the most. When Ka-Boom fires his cannon, the sound effect isn’t intimidating or even decent; it sounds like the foley artist used a kickball being punted as the default sound effect. It’s tough to feel like a force to be reckoned with when your attacks sound like a game played by second graders. This doesn’t really affect the gameplay in any way, it just serves as the cherry on top of a Skylander that won’t ever be in my heavy rotation.

Needless to say, I’m less than impressed with Ka-Boom, both in-game and as a toy. With Trap Masters Short Cut, Enigma and Thunderbolt, along with a handful more core characters and traps, right around the corner, I hope the folks at Skylanders H.Q. can reverse the trend of the steady decline in quality of their figures and in-game characters. Only time will tell.

 

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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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