What do you think is the most successful game franchise in existence? Call of Duty? Nope. Mario? Still wrong. Give up? The answer is Skylanders, one of the most absurdly successful money making games ever to come out of Activision. This year, at E3 2013, we got a chance to take a look at the newest Skylanders game, Skylanders: Swap Force, and picked up a limited edition E3 run Hot Dog Skylanders figure by doing so. We are all now 300 dollars richer after pawning off this figure on eBay, but how did the game hold up?

The main gameplay mechanic of Skylanders: Swap Force is the new Swap Force figurines. These figures can detach their upper and lower halves and combine with other Swap Force figures to create unique creatures. Each upper and lower half of a figure has its own abilities which is can then level up, with upper half abilities tending to focus on attacks and lower half abilities focusing on mobility. These abilities can then be used to access bonus content in the game.

For example, each lower half has a mobility type (floating, flying, climbing, etc). If you come up to a wall that has a climbing attribute marker on it, any Skylander with climbing type mobility can then climb up it. Some walls are several stories high and include their own avoidance mini-games as well. If this mini game involves, say, shooting a bunch of enemies down, your climbing type Skylander may not have an attack that will allow him to complete the challenge. So just snap off his lower half and put it on someone with a spread shot attack and clear the challenge with ease.

In addition, there are also gates to secret areas that will only open when a Skylander of the right type steps near them. When the gates have only one type on them, all you need to do is bring the right Skylander close by to open them. However, when gates have two types on them, they can be opened in two different ways. Either you and a friend can bring one Skylander of each type to the gate, or you can bring a Skylander with a top and bottom half matching both appropriate types to the gate, another great way to integrate the swapping mechanic.

That being said, Skylanders: Swap Force can be played the whole way through without ever buying a Swap Force figurine. All the Skylanders from the core set and Skylanders Giants will work with Skylanders: Swap Force. So if you have a favorite figurine you like using, feel free to ride him out till the end. You’ll end up missing a lot of content along the way, however.

When Skylanders: Swap Force comes out, Activision will introduce 16 Swap Force figurines. Simple math tells us that this creates 256 different Skylander combinations, They will also be releasing 16 new core figurines as well, without swap abilities. So that’s 272 new Skylanders just from one new game! It’s a great new expansion for the casual fan or the hardcore collector.

Skylanders Swap Force is expected to come out October 13th, 2013 on the Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Wii, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.