Skylanders Giants

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Skylanders Giants Game Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Product no longer available

Exciting action adventure with toys scanned into game.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 29 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

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.

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 & Representations

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 & Scariness

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.


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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPreTeenMom May 20, 2013

Very cute game.

My two younger kids like this, seems to be fun for them. I do like the fact there is no violence of guns . . . some product placement, and you have to buy more... Continue reading
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byFather of the Year May 20, 2013

Great for kids five and up.

Great for young children five and up. Characters never "die", they just get tired. Never any graphic violence and no guns or anything that resemble... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 27, 2016

As With All Skylanders Games, I Love It!

Skylanders Giants is the second Skylanders video game, and like the others, I love it! In this one, Kaos is on a mission to recover the Iron First of Arkus, and... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 21, 2020

Instant classic

I've loved Skylanders ever since I was about 4 years old. And in my opinion, this is the strongest of them all.

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fast-action games

Themes & Topics

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