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Skylanders Ring of Heroes

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Skylanders Ring of Heroes App Poster Image
Spyro and friends come to mobile in a complex but fun tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Battles are relatively easy, with players simply picking skills to use when available. There's a fair amount of complexity outside of battles though, such as leveling up characters, equipping runes, building and maintaining your town, etc.

Violence

The game's filled with fantasy violence in battles, with characters using weapons and magic abilities to attack one another. That said, the violence is relatively mild in intensity and cartoonish in nature, with no blood or graphic details present.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

The game's the latest entry in the popular Skylanders franchise, which has included video games, toys, an animated series, and a number of other tie-ins. The game also follows the free-to-play formula, pushing players to spend real money in various microtransactions in order to speed up progress.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Skylanders Ring of Heroes is a free-to-play strategy role-playing game available for download on iOS and Android devices. Players take on the role of “Portal Masters” and recruit fantasy creatures to take into battle in a turn-based combat. Violence is steady as battles are the main focus of the gameplay. Creatures use a variety of magical abilities and weapons to attack each other, but the fights are more cartoonish in nature and style, without any sort of blood or graphic detail. While it’s possible to progress in the game fairly steadily without spending any money, there's still a heavy push for players to make use of microtransactions, spending real money in the game to boost their capabilities in the game.

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What's it about?

SKYLANDERS RING OF HEROES is the latest adventure set among the wonderous floating isles of Skylands. The peace that seemed to have settled across Skylands has once again been shattered by the nefarious plans of the somewhat evil and always bumbling wizard, Kaos. Tapping into the power of the Book of Dark Magic, Kaos plans to take control of Skylands’ magical portals and rule the lands as he sees fit. Things don’t go quite as planned though, with Kaos getting overwhelmed by the Book’s power, causing the portals’ power to go haywire and opening a giant rift spanning multiple dimensions. You, Portal Master, have been yanked from your “real world” through this rift, falling through to the other side and landing in the magical realm. Guided by Eon, the Guardian Master, it’s now up to you to recruit the various Skylanders to your cause, battling against the forces of evil in a quest to recover the Book of Dark Magic, save Skylands from the mystic maelstrom overhead, and find your way back home in the process.

Is it any good?

This popular console game makes its first steps on the mobile platform, with an engaging tale for players. Skylanders Ring of Heroes builds on the fame of the Skylanders franchise, which debuted back in 2011 and served as a spinoff of the popular Spyro games while also igniting the whole “toys-to-life” craze. The series quickly became a phenomenon that grew beyond the initial boundaries of its toys-to-life roots. Skylanders Ring of Heroes is the latest mobile game to visit the world of Skylands, leaving the figures behind in favor of a more traditional free-to-play formula. Players summon characters earned as rewards through regular gameplay or by spending in-game or real-world money in microtransactions. While there's a constant marketing push towards spending money, it’s still possible to make steady progress without paying extra. Also, there’s a pretty good balance so that you never feel like you need to “pay to win”, but still feel rewarded if you choose to do so.

The gameplay in Skylanders Ring of Heroes is relatively easy to play on the surface, but has some surprising layers of depth. The battles themselves are quick and straightforward, with players queuing up to three actions based on their team’s equipped skills and available mana. Mana builds up quickly and actions have recharge timers to account for, keeping the players in a constant flow. Outside of battles is where the strategy comes in. Players try to build effective teams based their available skills, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of their elemental alignments. It’s a complex system that takes a while to learn but is essential at higher difficulties and in the game’s PvP Arena battles. Despite this complexity and the overall change in gameplay, Ring of Heroes still feels like a true Skylanders game, not just some game with the license shoehorned in. The presentation, the characters, and even the story fit perfectly within the Skylanders universe, making the game a solid addition to the franchise as a whole.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Skylanders Ring of Heroes affected by the cartoonish violence in the game? Would the impact be intensified if the violence was more realistic and graphic?

  • How do franchise licenses attract fans to new games, and does that familiarity keep new players from enjoying established worlds? How does this affect the interest in other outside properties, like toys, TV shows, etc.?

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love fantasy

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