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Skylanders: Giants game review

Last year, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure came almost out of nowhere to sell 30 million games. The action figures became instantly collectible. Now Activision has released Skylanders: Giants. And guess what? I’m happy to report that Giants is excellent, as well as a bit more challenging than the first version — especially when you play it on Heavy Hitter (Hard) Mode.

(Activision for PS3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, 3DS)
Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older

Gameplay: 9.0
Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.6
Replay Value: 9.0
Overall Score: 9.0

Pros: Good game design. Giants are genius. Secret places.

Cons: Unplayable characters can be cliché. Still no online play. Characters can’t jump.

With Skylanders: Giants, you get a game for your console, plus action figures, plus a Portal of Power to put those toys into the game. Plug the Portal into your console, and it glows in many colors. Stand a figure on it and whoosh! — like magic, your toy appears as a character in the game.

You level him up and find all sorts of useful powerups and weird hats for your Skylander to wear to become stronger.

But you had all this good stuff in the last game. What makes Giants better?


With all the things to do, Skylanders: Giants is longer. And it’s more wondrous. In this version, a Giant is one of the three figures you receive in your game package. The Giant Tree Rex is kind of a redwood with the attitude and strength of a T-Rex dinosaur.

Why is a bigger Skylanders so excellent? For the same reason it’s fun to play as the large Mario or a Transformer or the Hulk. A big dude like Tree Rex is as huge and strong as you’ll ever dream of being. Just walk him over certain weaker enemies like Chompies (which look like green Pac-Men with sharp teeth) and, splat, they’re gone. He can lift and throw massive boulders. He can pound a hole in rock, too. It’s really kind of empowering.


Yet your Giant is also slow and lumbering, at least when you start out. You can win the some of game’s many upgrades to move faster. He’s still not as quick and agile as, say, the purple-winged dragon, Cynder. At one point early on as Tree-Rex, I was ambushed by fire-arrow-wielding enemies called Drow Archers. I just couldn’t move out of the way fast enough. My health went to nothing in seconds, and I had to play the chapter all over again.

The lesson? Big is fun, but it isn’t always better in Giants. That’s why you have two other characters to switch in and out on the Portal.

Even though it isn’t the most creative plot in the world, the tale overall is a worthy one. KAOS, the skull-headed meanie with the black eye tattoos, has broken free of his magical bonds. It’s up to the ancient Giants to help the Skylanders save their world from destruction.

Although they’re sometimes a little too long, I like the scenes that move the story forward after you complete a chapter. The animation isn’t as detailed as in a Pixar movie like “Toy Story 3.” But it’s believable. And the dialog is almost as well written as a Toy Story movie. Sometimes the humor falls flat because it’s corny.


Gamewise, there’s so much to do this time around. Beyond customizing your character with crazy hats that give you a little extra oomph, you’ll find gem-filled butterflies that give you discounts on accessories in the store.

Plus, you’ll play Skystones against the characters you meet. It’s a fast-paced board game that takes a few minutes for a full game. If you win, you get a Skystone for your collection. I found it so much fun that I played for over an hour against a pirate.

There’s a semi-secret way to level up without playing Story Mode. Once you defeat the big blue bruiser Brock, he becomes your friend. On the flying ship that moves you to various lands in the sky, you can try your luck in a series of battles featuring wave after wave of enemies.

You might be defeated here. (I had a really hard time with the fourth wave of Brock’s Rump Roaster Ruckus.) But the bonus is that each enemy you defeat, even the weak ones, adds points to your level-up bar.


The Skylanders characters are cooler than ever. Tree Rex, for example, is twice the size of a non-Giant. He lights up in two spots when you place him on the Portal of Power. His eyes are deep royal blue, and he holds a photosynthesis laser that lights up green. He looks even more intense in a darkened room.

However, some of the characters in Skylanders are too similar to the characters in Toy Story. For instance, goofy Cap’n Flynn might remind you of the swaggering Buzz Lightyear and Woody. But Flynn is not a character you play, so you have to deal with him only in scenes that propel the story.

Despite a few glitches and omissions (Skylanders can’t jump), Giants is even more wide-ranging than Spyro’s Adventure. There’s no doubt about it: It’s one of the year’s best games for kids. And if your parents are young at heart, they’ll really enjoy it, too.

72 Comments on Skylanders: Giants game review

  1. pokemon-on-portal // November 30, 2012 at 11:41 pm // Reply

    I have both games and i agree with this review. I LOVE SKYLANDERS!

  2. I just don’t know how to play

  3. i want one !!!!!!

  4. you can get skylanders 4 nintendo 3ds

  5. ME LUVS SKYLANDERS!!!!!! (espically fire beacause it is my favorite element) :):):)


  7. peanut butter // November 20, 2012 at 7:19 am // Reply

    i dont like Skylanders GIANTS because its just a waste of money.ex. the skylanders(not giants)cost 8$, skylanders giants cost 15$. Its just a bargain!Who agrees!!!!!!!! i do!

  8. BEST GAME EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. bad breath 22 // November 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm // Reply

    i like the origanal better ps i secretly like chursher

  10. i love all skylanders!

  11. I’m really annoyed you can’t jump in giants and spyro’s adventure. If them make another skyanders game I hope they let you jump. By the way,you are going to be REALLY mad when you find out you can’t jump…believe me.

  12. look pretty good but i like spyros adventure more.

  13. i love skylanders

  14. no but you can use the series 1 and 2 on both games but giants and new charaters only works on giants

  15. Kingofchaos250 // November 13, 2012 at 6:46 am // Reply

    No you can’t. Sadly I learned that you need an entirely new game disk. Luckily they made something called the skylanders giants portal owner pack for people who already have the portal. The Xbox 360 version comes with the game and one giant (treerex). And your skylanders you have now cross over along with their upgrades. Hope this helped 🙂

  16. No,penguin, but you can use regular Skylanders in the Giants game.

  17. no you cant use the giants with spyros adventure sorry

  18. Skylanders Giants is so cool! I never realized that the Giants were so powerful!

  19. portalmaster5011 // November 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm // Reply

    Ya know in the 3ds version your Skylanders can jump.

  20. penguinopus21 // November 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm // Reply

    Can i play giants with spyros adventure??


    • You can’t use the Giants in the first game. Belive me, I’ve tried.

    • Green Ninja 2 // November 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm // Reply

      No, but you can use some skylanders from other games (ex. spyros adventure). I think. I will look at that asap.

    • no you can’t use giants in the first one

    • Beatboxer2000 // November 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm // Reply

      Nope. The only Skylanders in the Giants game that you can use in the Spyro’s Adventure game are Series 2. Those are Skylanders from Spyro’s Adventure that are sort of “leveled up” in the Giants game. All the Skylanders in Spyro’s Adventure are Series 2. There are giants, like Tree Rex, Series 1’s, like Pop Fizz, Series 2’s, like Trigger Happy, and Light Cores, like Light Core Prism Break. All Giants are also Light Cores. You can, however, use Spyro’s Adventure Skylanders in the Giants game.

      • pokemon-on-portal // November 30, 2012 at 11:45 pm //

        wrong. The old characters are series 1. The 24 old characters that are remade are series 2. The new characters and giants don’t have an official ‘series’ title.

    • pokemaster324 // November 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm // Reply

      you can with the portal owners pack comes with game disk and a giant (TREEREX)

  21. ultimet cool dude // November 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm // Reply

    i just want the figyers

  22. I don’t have it, but my friend has it, and I want to try it badly, especially the giants.

  23. i really want all the giants

  24. skylander fan // November 5, 2012 at 10:56 am // Reply

    I desperately want that game!!!

  25. skylanders is easy the new skylanders giants video game will be a challendged

  26. adicted to skylanders // November 4, 2012 at 10:05 am // Reply

    i own the 1st and beet it so cant wait to get this one.

  27. i want it and i want stealth elf

  28. I got the first game and finished it. Now I have this game, and the game doesn’t think I own my original Skylanders. It pops up something similar to what you get when a friend puts his Skylander on your Portal. Do you guys know how to get the game to think I own my Skylanders?

  29. already nick your realy fast but dont you want to get all the guys before you win

  30. GET THE WHALE GUY!!! // October 31, 2012 at 3:59 pm // Reply

    u know, the water giant, a whale, is AWESOME!!!!

  31. I will get the game trommrow


  33. I’ve beat the game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. skylanders stinks.The first one was to easy and then at the end it almost made me break my Xbox360 I finaly beat it. but you people don,t understand the definition of GAMEING and if you like skylanders you are not a true gamer.I know I am spelling everything wrong but I dont care.

  35. so much fun i got it two days ago i have granite crusher tree rex and pop fizz

  36. I love skylander I hope it I in stock because last time it took me forever to find a skylander and the game

  37. is skylanders:giants on the 3DS?

  38. Skylanders Giants is the best game ever!!!!!!!!!

    • have u beat the boss fight on chapter 11.ITS HULLAREUSS!!!!1111!!1!!1 HE SINGS DURRING THE FIGHT!

      boss:an evil drill

  39. my freind has skylanders

  40. so awesome IT IS MINE

  41. I don’t like Skylanders, anyway.

  42. It looks cool, but getting all of the action figures would cost a lot.

  43. I played skylander Giants and it was AWSOME sure the boss was hard to beat but it was the coolest game i’ve ever played. Me and my friend ashley played it together and ashley usually says videogames are stupid but she actually thought this one was A TO THE W TO THE S TO THE O TO THE M TO THE EEEE!!! Keep making good games from,ashley,and,madison.

  44. Well I might be a girl and all but I have to admit that the game looks pretty good.

  45. Oh yeah they are!!!!!!!!!!

  46. skylanders giants is awsome!!!!!!!! i dont have it but i had a playdate with my friend and he has it and we played it all the time at are playdate!!!!!!! i went to his house. my favorit was jet vac sevan’s favorit was granet crusher. P.S. we also played with the toys you play on the portel.

  47. Best game ever

  48. I have to get Skylanders Giants it is so cool!

  49. can the skylanders giants play on the normal skylanders game?

  50. I wot ol

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