Skylanders Giants

Common Sense Media says

Exciting action adventure with toys scanned into game.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's a strong message of consumerism in this game. Players watch videos in-game showing other figurines they can buy. The game also focuses on fantastical combat. However, these potential negatives are balanced by positive play elements involving puzzle solving and player cooperation.

Positive role models

The Skylanders are all good guys, even the mean-looking ones with gravelly voices. They're out to help people, save innocents, and put the bad guys in their place. That said, they're a bit too fantastical to act as realistic role models. Plus, they really like to fight.

Ease of play

Difficulty can be changed at any time within the options menu, but even younger players shouldn't have too much trouble on the default medium setting. Controls are simple and responsive, and plenty of onscreen instructions help lead players through new activities and challenges as they arise.

Violence

Expect plenty of fantastical combat between cartoonish creatures. Characters whack each other with their paws and fists, shoot electricity and fireballs, and slash with swords and spears. Contact results in bright flashes; no blood or gore. Enemies disappear when defeated. Should the player's character fall in battle, a message pops up explaining that it needs a rest.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Kids are encouraged to purchase real-world figurines that unlock new characters and new areas of the game. The starter kit comes with three figurines, each aligned with one of eight elements. Additional characters cost between $10 to $14 each, so expect to spend more to round out your collection with at least one character from each of the game's eight elements. Collecting the full set of nearly 50 Skylanders characters requires an investment of several hundred dollars. Fans should note that all characters from last year's Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure will work in this game.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Minor safety concerns. You can upload your game characters onto a connected online game, Skylanders Universe. That monitored web world allows kids to chat via pre-selected phrases.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Skylanders: Giants is a simple action/platformer filled with colorful fantasy characters, each with his or her own combat and movement abilities. Violence is frequent, but cartoonish in nature and involves no blood. Whacks and magical attacks result in flashes of light and characters that fall to the ground and disappear. However, parents should be aware of the game's commercial nature and consumer message. Kids are encouraged via preview videos during play to collect real-world figurines that can be scanned into the game. Nearly 50 are available at around $10 each, but aren't necessary to enjoy the game. (This game could become a very expensive proposition for families with kids who want to collect them all.) Parents should also be aware that the toys will appeal to kids as young as age 6, but that the game has violence so it is most appropriate for kids age 10 and older. There is a disconnect between the age appropriateness of the toys and the game.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • strategy

Collaboration

  • teamwork
  • cooperation

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Scanning real-world objects into a game will prove quite satisfying for most kids. There's a compelling story here, too. Should be a hit for most kids.

Learning Approach

Puzzle solving and communication are the core learning elements here. Simple navigational problems force players to use logic to figure out how to proceed, and kids playing in groups will need to talk to each other to succeed. 

Support

The Skylanders' abilities are previewed via short videos, leaving kids to experiment with their powers to figure them out. The Internet is bursting with fan-made videos for walkthroughs and tips.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • strategy

Collaboration

  • teamwork
  • cooperation

Kids can learn about puzzle solving, cooperation, and social play in this habit-forming action adventure game. Simple navigational problems force players to use logic to figure out how to proceed and open locked areas. And when playing in co-op mode, kids are apt to be in a near-constant state of communication, working together to efficiently dispatch enemies and gather up treasure and collectibles. Kids playing Skylanders Giants will be busy practicing cooperation while keeping their minds active solving basic puzzles.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

The sequel to 2011's incredibly popular Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, SKYLANDERS: GIANTS is a fantastical action and platformer game set among islands floating in the sky. Kids control a cast of imaginative creatures that enter the game by placing a real world toy on a game-connected "Portal" gadget. For players new to this universe, the Starter Pack ships with three of these figures, the video game, and the portal. Returning players need only the Portal Owner pack, which contains the game and a figurine of a giant. Additional characters are sold individually and in packs of three. Some of the game's puzzles require creatures attuned to one of eight elements, and certain areas can be accessed only if the player has the right type of character. This is part of the game's fun, though, since switching characters involves placing a figurine on a glowing portal. The game is similar to its predecessor, but there are several new characters -- including the titular "giant" Skylanders that tower over their friends -- as well as new arena challenges that lets kids take on wave after wave of enemies. 

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Activision has stumbled onto something special with its Skylanders games. As proven by the popularity of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure -- a hit with both kids and many adults -- there's something surprisingly satisfying about scanning real-world objects into a game. It helps that the figurines are of high quality and are interesting to look at, and it's even better that the scanning process is virtually instantaneous and doesn't interrupt the pace of play in the slightest.

This sequel improves upon the original's formula by delivering a more compelling story and better writing. Cut scenes are of nearly CGI movie quality and play host to some legitimately amusing moments. Plus, the addition of "giant" characters that can smash through things and lift giant boulders adds a fun new dimension to the experience. There's little doubt Skylanders: Giants will prove a hit for most kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about responsible collecting. Collecting things can be a lot of fun, but it's important to consider cost. How might you go about acquiring new Skylanders figurines for less? Have you tried used game stores? Trading with or purchasing them from friends? 

  • Families can also discuss how to recognize marketing. Think about how companies try to sell products to you. Have you ever felt the urge to buy something after seeing it featured prominently in a movie or game?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Windows
Price:$59.99-79.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Activision
Release date:October 23, 2012
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Adventures
ESRB rating:E10+ for Cartoon Violence (Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Skylanders Giants was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byJen121314 February 17, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Very creative, but a "Shoot 'em up" game for kids

My son is absolutely obsessed with this game. The story of the game and the characters are very creative and it is quite enticing how you can scan your characters into the game. However, that doesn't mean it's completely appropriate for young children. My son is currently 9 and I held off buying it for him as he begged for the last year. Yes, it is cartoon violence, but it is violence all the same. The only way to advance in the game is to smash/hit/throw/shoot/blow-up things and other creatures. It is true that there is no blood, and the characters don't "die"- they just need a rest, but does that teach our children anything better than some of the more adult games? In real life you don't "just need a rest" after being attacked. In light of everything going on in our country, I think we just need to be more conscious of desensitizing our children to violence of any kind. I heard Disney was coming out soon with a similar platform of "scanning" characters into the game. Let's hope theirs is not as violent.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Teen, 17 years old Written byqwerty keyboard December 28, 2012
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Great game folks!!!

I love to play this game with my little brother. This game is fun, clever, and well-written. I hated the spyro's adventure thingy, but I love giants, because giants is much more fun and clever, while spyro's adventure was just kinda boring.

Kid, 10 years old February 2, 2013
AGE
5
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

preety good :D

its fun cool easy but somtimes if you think about it it wasteds your money on skylanders but i love this game 4 stars

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism

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