Skylanders Spyro's Adventure

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Game Poster Image
Toy figurines become characters in exciting action game.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 22 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

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.

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 & Representations

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.

Language
Consumerism

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult 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... Continue reading
Parent of a 6, 8, and 12 year old Written byktraiford January 27, 2012

Helpful tool in teaching myth and story structure (boring mom stuff)

My son received as a gift from his grandparents for his 8th birthday. He loves it and is obsessed, of course, as he is with all storyline media. I however, usua... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old December 22, 2011

FUN

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 buyi... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

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