Killer Instinct Game Poster Image

Killer Instinct

Fast-paced brawler is exciting, but brace for some blood.
  • Platform: Xbox One
  • Price: Free; $20 for Combo Breaker Pack
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Release Year: 2013

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This fighting game doesn't convey a positive message. Players simply choose between a variety of random fighters whose motives aren't exactly clear, then engage in gratuitous and sensationalized hand-to-hand combat.

Positive role models

The game features a mix of characters, but it's not clear which ones are good or bad, and all of them seem interested in only one thing: beating up everyone else.

Ease of play

Attacks and defensive moves are easy to learn thanks to a robust tutorial system that walks players through the basic controls. Novices can quickly hop in and mash through attack combinations, while veterans can master the timing and nuance of characters to become more adept.


This is a fighting game. Characters use a variety of physical attacks with their hands and feet along with weapons to inflict pain on opponents. There is some blood but nothing too gruesome. All fighters are willing combatants.


One of the female fighters wears a tight-fitting outfit that reveals some cleavage.


There's no swearing or other bad language used during the game.


The game is based on a classic fighting franchise that was first available in arcades.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Killer Instinct is a Teen-rated fighting game available only via download for Xbox One. Players start with one character for free and can upgrade to eight characters for $20. None of the characters' motives for fighting are explained. Players pummel their opponents with a series of punches and kicks, with the occasional weapon tossed into the mix. There is some blood but nothing gory. Players can communicate freely and without moderation to strangers via voice chat.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

KILLER INSTINCT is a free-to-play fighting game based on the classic arcade franchise. The free version features one fighter, Jago, whom players master through a series of game modes and tutorials. Player can opt to purchase additional characters -- from the werewolf Sabrewulf to a mysterious icy creature called Glacius -- separately or upgrade to a $20 version of the game with six characters at launch. Players participate in standard one-on-one matches or engage in a Survival mode where they'll face an endless array of opponents.

Is it any good?


Killer Instinct a great fighting game that's easy to pick up and learn. Players can easily mash their way through fights and have an enjoyable time, but they'll need to work on their timing to learn more advanced techniques. The free version may offer access to only one character, but it includes all game modes, so players can find out if they like it before spending any money.

That said, it's pretty thin on options. Even when upgrading to the $20 version, players have only six fighters to work with at launch, with two more arriving in future downloads. There's also a limited number of game modes. Regardless, Killer Instinct is a fun, exciting brawler at a low cost.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss the appeal of fighting games. Why are players so interested in these types of games? Do they feel realistic to you?

  • Families also can discuss the impact of violence in media. How do you feel after playing a fighting game?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox One
Price:Free; $20 for Combo Breaker Pack
Available online?Available online
Developer:Microsoft Studios
Release date:November 22, 2013
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:T for Violence

This review of Killer Instinct was written by

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Teen, 13 years old Written bycrazykid1092 May 4, 2014

Why Not For Kids?

I know there is some blood, but why rated "Not For Kids"? They game isn't any worse than Injustice: Gods Among Us, which you rated 15+.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 10 years old August 17, 2016

Gets really old

It gets old and boring. The controls are easy, but the combos and moves are hard to learn. Bloody and violent, but nothing that teens or tweens haven't seen. DLC is always available, and is way overpriced.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Teen, 13 years old Written bySushiSashimiEater November 12, 2015

A Wonderful Game for Teens!

I've tried this game many times and believe it or not, it's very good! It has decent graphics for a 2013 game, wonderful gameplay and beautiful characters and stages. There's some blood in this game, so I would recommend mature and older kids. It's basically kind of a Teen-Rated Mortal Kombat game as you compare the two games together and look closely.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Too much violence