With Gill Grunt being included in the starter pack on Wii, 360 and PS3 the Water Element is one of of the first new Skylanders players encounter. His water cannon starts off quite inconspicuously but is soon a force to be reckoned with after a few upgrades.
This sets the tone for the Water Skylanders who each can appear a little underpowered at first, but given some time (and intelligent upgrade choices) are the most effective characters available. Wham Shell has the best stats, which is maybe why he has been left until last to release (expected in the sixth wave late in the Summer).
Today we are going to look at Zap and recently-released Slam Bam.
|Zap||Single | Triple Pack||260||50||24||30||25||389|
|Slam Bam||Loose | Empire Ice Pack||310||35||30||10||25||410|
|Gill Grunt||Loose | Started Pack||270||35||6||50||25||386|
|Wham Shell||Unreleased – Check Here||300||50||18||30||25||423|
Slam Bam is, of course, one of the more sought-after Skylanders. Not only was he not released until the third wave of figures but he is also only available in the Empire of Ice ($29.99 Amazon) adventure pack. Beyond these availability concerns he is also a great character to play with — although not without some shortcomings.
Like many of the more powerful, and higher stat-scoring Skylanders, Slam Bam is a little hard to use at first. His combination of Yeti Fist attack and Ice Prison lead to a lot of close range combat. My kids found this a bit much to deal with, usually preferring the ranged attack of other Water characters like Gill Grunt. He is also quite slow to begin with, compared to Zap or Wham Shell.
However, there are some key upgrades that make a big difference. First of these should be the Yeti Ice Shoe Slide which lets him slide across the ground (and water) and solves his speed problem. Next you should focus on his ice prisons via the Glacier Hit upgrade path. This turns them into a ranged weapon that not only restrains the enemies but also explodes, causing further damage.
If Slam Bam is still isn’t fast enough his Soul Gem ability (found in the Empire of Ice world unlocked by his related adventure pack) provides a final boost of speed with the Yeti-Cooling Factor upgrade.
The figure itself is one of the better looking in my opinion. I like the decision that has been taken to have him made from translucent blue plastic (like the limited edition Gel Blue Bash Skylanders). He is also a solid figure, with easily as much bulk as Stump Smash of Ignitor — in fact the three of them form part of my son’s Skylanders wrestling team.
Zap is a more common Water Skylanders, although not as common as Gill Grunt who most people will have in their Starter Pack. Being available in both Single ($12 Amazon) and Triple ($30 Amazon) packs makes Zap relatively easy to find.
He is one of the Dragon Skylanders and as recently revealed by Activision offers a bonus to players who have collected the set of Dragons. This has seen a slight bump in his popularity although prices have stayed more realistic than Slam Bam.
Zap’s starting weapons are where his real strength is, they work together so well. Firstly he whizzes around on a trail of slime (a bit slug-like for a dragon, but we’ll forgive him that) that if the enemies touch they get stuck. This then leave them vulnerable to his Lightning Breath ranged electricity attack.
If you are a beginner player and playing Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures on your own, Zap is one of the best characters to start with. My daughter’s favored upgrade path was to focus on his Lightning Breath (Tesla Dragon). This enabled her to keep the enemies at arm’s reach and avoid taking too much damage. She also say that his lightning “looks cool.”
Perhaps to balance his great stats and abilities Zap’s Soul Gem ability (found in the Leviathan Lagoon) is a little lackluster compared to some other Skylanders. Basically it gives you a health boost when you’re on water — handy but not all that exciting.