Killer Instinct

Game review by
Brett Molina, Common Sense Media
Killer Instinct Game Poster Image
Fast-paced brawler is exciting, but brace for some blood.
  • Xbox One
  • Free; $20 for Combo Breaker Pack
  • 2013

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

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 & Representations

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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byDan M. February 19, 2018

14+ is fine

I really liked fighting games when I was in college and killer instinct was one of the games I played. There isn’t a lot of blood but the paid version is rated... Continue reading
Adult Written bySam M. October 14, 2017

Sure why not

Dont care much about fighting games but this is pretty fun. Fantasy violence. More blood than most T rated games (altho the most recent Complete Edition is Rate... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byNo Name, for real. September 21, 2015

Incredible fighting game is harder to learn than Mortal Kombat, funner to play than Marvel vs. Capcom

I love Killer Instinct, I would have reviewed it sooner if I had known its on here. But now that I got the chance... HOLY CRAP! This game is so much fun to pla... Continue reading
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'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.

Talk to your kids 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
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Topics: Magic and Fantasy
  • ESRB rating: T for Violence
  • Last updated: April 10, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fast action

Themes & Topics

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