A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, teamwork
Communication: friendship building
Thinking & Reasoning: deduction, investigation, problem solving
- Price: $69.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Activision
- Release date: October 16, 2011
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Cartoon Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.