Skylanders Spyro's Adventure




Toy figurines become characters in exciting action game.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The heroes are self-sacrificing good guys, doing their best to save the world. The game's few female characters are depicted as tough, strong, and brave (despite one hapless male flirt who is obsessed with dating them).

Positive role models

The many characters you'll encounter offer a mixed bag in terms of role modeling. Some of the heroes are flat-out good, with no diminishing characteristics. Others, like the lunatic named Trigger Happy, seem to take a bit too much pleasure in fighting and causing destruction. One major side character is a vain, incorrigible flirt. Another is a bit of a coward. But even with their flaws, they all prove they have heroic traits as well -- which is a nice message for kids mature enough to get the subtlety of it.

Ease of play

The controls are easy to grasp and work perfectly well. The difficulty factor feels appropriate for this type of game: challenging, but not frustratingly hard.

Violence & scariness

There's a ton of fantasy violence in the game, but it is all cartoony. Each hero has its own "elemental" attacks, which could mean anything from blasting fire or squirting water to throwing rock or zapping lasers. Several of the heroes carry weapons. Enemies grunt and groan when hit, and eventually disappear when defeated. Be aware that, though the game has a light and colorful sensibility, there are several scary bits, mostly in the form of jump-out-at-you shock moments.

Not applicable

The starter pack comes with three Skylander figures, which means you can use those three characters in the game. In order to use more characters, you need to purchase more figure packs. You will definitely need to do this if you want to access every area of the game, since only characters of certain elements can open certain gateways -- and a starter pack only gives you access to three of the eight types of elemental characters. Throughout the game, you can preview other characters that are sold separately. You can also use any of your characters to connect to the Skylanders Universe, a multiplayer online game.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Skylanders Spyro's Adventure is an action adventure game set in a colorful fantasy/sci-fi universe with frequent cartoony violence. The game is connected to a portal-like device where kids place real toy figures to play. The characters that appear in the game are dependent entirely upon the Skylanders toy figures that you own. Parents need to know that there is a discrepancy between the targeted age of the toy figurines (the starter pack says age "6+") and the age appropriateness of the video game packaged with those toys which is for age 10 (ESRB rating of E10+). The starter pack comes with three figures, but the game encourages and entices players to purchase additional figures. Any of the figures/characters can also be used in a connected online multiplayer game, Skylanders Universe, as well as in other version of Skylanders Spyro's Adventure (for example, your best friend's game). That web game offers a monitored environment and only limited, pre-selected chat between players.

What kids can learn


Thinking & Reasoning

  • investigation
  • problem solving
  • deduction


  • friendship building


  • cooperation
  • teamwork

Engagement, Approach, Support


The cooperative multiplayer aspect of Skylanders is a blast, and it can help kids discover that problem-solving may be more fun with a partner.

Learning Approach

Kids can learn to investigate problems and logically figure out solutions, either alone or acting as a team.


Puzzles often have logical solutions, but trial-and-error experimentation may be the best path to success.

What kids can learn


Thinking & Reasoning

  • investigation
  • problem solving
  • deduction


  • friendship building


  • cooperation
  • teamwork

Kids can learn to investigate problems and logically figure out solutions, either alone or acting as a team. During this adventure, they observe clues that may later have utility, try different possible solutions, and figure out how items work together to be helpful. The cooperative multiplayer aspect of Skylanders is a blast, and it can help kids discover that problem-solving may be more fun with a partner. Action and cartoony violence mesh with great team puzzle-solving and strategy.

This Learning Rating review was written by Christopher Healy

What's it about?

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure takes place in a world where vast islands float among the clouds and the creatures who inhabit them travel by balloons or flying ships. The center of Skyland was the source of the world's light and goodness, but it was destroyed by Kaos, a villain who sought to bring darkness to the land. Now, the heroic Skylanders must find the pieces to rebuild the Fountain of Light and save the universe. However, they've all been turned into toys and blown to Earth. Players must find these toys and send them back to their world to fight the villains. They do this by placing a toy on a special portal that comes packaged with the game.

Is it any good?


Skylanders Spyro's Adventure is an absolute blast to play. It has all the fun, challenge, and excitement of classic adventure games like Banjo-Kazooie, Ratchet and Clank, and even Super Mario 64. The game looks great graphically, has a clear and simple a control scheme, and offers a load of variety that goes far beyond just the changeable characters. There's some great writing in here, too, especially when it comes to the humorously creative deathtraps that Kaos comes up with (like a waterfall full of sharks).

There's a legitimate gripe about having to buy extra characters in order to fully experience all the areas of the game world, but if you take that out of the equation and rate the game on its merits as a game, it's definitely a great one. Plus, the toy characters can be used to play in a friend's version of the game, and they bring their gaming history with them whenever they are inserted into a game.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the concept of buying characters to use in a video game. Do you think this is a fun innovation that allows you to customize your experience? Or do you look at it as a way for game publishers to simply make more money?

  • Parents can also discuss video game violence with their children. Does the cartoony nature of the fighting in this game make the violence here more palatable? Is there a difference between characters like Spyro, a fire-breathing dragon, and Trigger Happy, who shoots laser guns at enemies?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS
Available online?Not available online
Release date:October 16, 2011
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Superheroes
ESRB rating:E10+ for Cartoon Violence

This review of Skylanders Spyro's Adventure was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


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; OK 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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About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

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Kid, 8 years old December 22, 2011


It's a great game for 7 & up people
Teen, 15 years old Written bySebz4000 December 29, 2011

A fun romp, with a price.

Skylanders was very much made as a marketing ploy, but it pulls it off by such a degree that people will instinctively buy more. It's highly addictive buying the little plastic figurines and receiving them as gifts, as each one is another life, and as such, another three or four hours just spending time training your new figurine. The game itself can be played by mostly all ages, but it is one of the most expensive kid's games on the market right now. At the time I saved up enough money to buy it, it was around 70 dollars for the Portal of Power (the plastic tool used to send Skylanders into the game) the game itself, and the first three Skylanders (Spyro, Trigger Happy, and Gill Grunt.) It's quite the hefty, expansive package, but there's more to come. I received four Skylanders for Christmas, and bought three more with the money from the holiday, and the figures themselves are about 8-10 dollars apiece. With 32 to collect, that could eventually average out to around 300 dollars in total if you want the whole collection. It's a very popular title, and although I know it's a ploy, it's a very well done one, and I still am saving up my pennies to buy more figures. If you buy this for your children, be prepared for begging. Kids everywhere are scrambling for these game characters, so if you want more, act fast. Let time pass, wait until the Skylanders are cheaper, and then buy a whole bunch of them. With time, this game will be cheaper for the masses. It's going to be expensive, but it will most likely keep Little Johnny happy for a long while.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Too much consumerism
Parent Written bytlmassey December 15, 2011

Fun action game.

My 7 yr. old got this for his birthday & REALLY loves it. Even his 4 yr. old brother can play with him. There is definitely fighting violence, but not "blood & guts" type. Be aware, however, that there are 32 figures to buy if you want the "full" experience. The starter kit comes with 3 figures, but my son is already requesting additional characters.


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