All About Skylanders


In the second of our “All About” series we are looking at the Skylanders video game franchise.

Skylanders is published by Activision and developed by Toys for Bob. The first game, Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure was released on 14th October 2011 in Europe. The second game, Skylanders Giants is planned for release on 19th October 2012 in Europe. Both games are available on Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360.

Both are platform games with fighting and puzzle elements. They have in common a set of small toy figures that provide access to the different characters and areas in the game. This works by placing a particular figure on a round portal peripheral that comes with the game, the related character then instantly appears on-screen. Taking the figure off the portal automatically saves progress. The figures can be used in different versions of the game at friends houses (regardless of the original platform — Wii, PS3, 360 and so on).

The first game supported 32 different toy characters and the second game will expand this with another eight large Giant Skylander figures, eight new normal Skylanders and eight lighting up Skylanders. Additionally, the original game offered limited edition (gold, silver, translucent and glow-in-the-dark) characters that become much sought after.

Although the total cost of all these figures is considerable they are optional in the game. Parents should note that players can complete the game with the figures in the Starter Packs. Additional toy figures are desirable because of the new characters and areas they unlock but should be treated as a nice-to-have extra. By picking and choosing between the different Skylander characters players can access all the areas in the game by obtaining one figure for each of the eight element types.

Skylanders Giants Starter Pack
Skylanders Giants Starter Pack

Skylanders Giants supports the figures and portal from the original game, enabling players to re-use characters and honours  any upgrades and money they have earned. Giants will also have new figures, a series of eight bigger characters (the Giants), some light-up Skylanders (Lightcore) and re-release Skylanders (Series 2) from the first game. Although both old and new figures will benefit from new branching upgrades and a higher level cap, only new versions of the toy figures will gain the new Wow-Pow attack.

In addition to the toy figures, the first game also enabled players to purchase Adventure Packs that provided to levels to explore and complete. These packs also provided special power items and a related Skylander character.

It should be noted that the eight new characters and eight giants released for the second game are not compatible with the original Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure game. This is clearly marked on the packaging.

Skylanders Giants Gameplay
Skylanders Giants Gameplay

The main part of these Skylanders games is an adventure mode. Players work through a series of chapters in this mode, which provides steady progress while telling a story about the characters they are playing with. The game can be played by two players at the same time, although both share the same screen.

As you progress collecting money and experience enables you to upgrade your current character. Their general strength and agility slowly increases with their level. Then there are special attack upgrades that can be purchased with money collected. In the first game players have to pick one upgrade path for these attacks but in Skylanders Giants they will be able to switch between them.

Each Skylander figure you have works as a life in the game. When one Skylander runs out of health they become too tired to carry on and the player is asked to place a new figure on the portal. When all the Skylanders have been exhausted they will need to start the level again, whereupon each figure is returned to full health. Because of this later levels of the game can be quite hard to complete with only a small set of figures.

In addition to upgrades players can pick up “hats” that offer a specific boost to stats when they are worn. There are also bonuses for owning all the Skylanders for a particular element or grouping (all the dragon Skylanders for instance).

Skylanders Giants Gameplay
Skylanders Giants Gameplay

There are also a variety of battle modes where players can fight against each other in closed arenas. Challenge modes are also provided for each character you own, completing these offer a further stats upgrade. Skylanders Giants promises to offer new arena battles as well as new challenges for new and old Skylander characters.

Figures for the first game were released in waves, so that not all figures were available from the off. At times this caused the demand for particular figures to outstrip supply, but this was soon rectified for subsequent releases. It is likely that a similar approach will be followed for Skylanders Giants.

In addition to the console game there is a 3DS version that comes with its own miniature portal peripheral. This uses the same figures as the main games but upgrades in each are kept separate, so progressing your character on the console game doesn’t help when you next play on the 3DS.

There is also a Web world that players can explore and play in. They can either connect their portal to their computer (360 version only at present), or use a code, to access their characters online. An iOS game, Skylanders Cloud Patrol, also offers another way to interact with the world of the Skylanders.

As the popularity of the franchise has grown a variety of secondary merchandise has been created. Of particular note are a series of Skylanders books, annuals and stickers where children can enjoy discovering more about the world and characters.

Although Skylanders is quite a complex proposition, the play-value and sheer creativeness of the game makes the investment worthwhile. Add to this the support for your existing figures in the new Skylanders Giants game, multi-player modes and real-world toy angle and this is a stand out experience for families.

We hope this guide to Skylanders has been enlightening, more “All About” game guides can be found here. Check back for a Skylanders give-away starting next week.

More information on Skylanders Giants

58 thoughts on “All About Skylanders”

    1. They’ll be still leveled up, the only difference is that in the original, the maxim you can level up is to level 10, and in Giants, its level 15, so if you’re a level 15 in Giants, you’ll be a level 10 in the original game

  1. hi if i have the old spyro adventure game and nearly all of the skylander figures could i get the new giants starter pack instead of the booster because i want the figures it contains will my old characters work on the new portal. this seems economical because the starter pack is only 10 pounds more and you get two extra characters.

  2. Why does my sons figurines get tired just seconds of playing. (Xbox Skylanders). I don’t appreciate how he can’t play his Skylanders powerforce because they get tired. Even after days of not playing

    1. They get tired because they have used all their energy, in other words they died in that level. They will be available in next chapter or you can restart chapter.

  3. I am thinking of buying my 4 year old the Skylanders trap team starter pack as he is obsessed with watching the you tube videos. Firstly I know nothing about playing video games so can I please get some friendly advice on am I buying the correct game for him to play as I’m coming across a few different Skylanders games, secondly is this going to be a costly game to play will he constantly need to buy new characters to play the game. Thank you.

  4. What color figurines do I buy for ps3? The packages dont say on it and I can’t find anything online!!! I thought it was the one with the blue bottoms but its not working

    1. The colour of the bases refers to the version of Skylanders game they work with rather than the console. You can use any Skylander figurine on any console.

  5. I have got spyro’s adventure and giants game. Which is the next game I should opt for. Will the old portal work with new games? Also explain what is starter pack? Please guide

    1. The old portals will not work on the new games because of the different information downloaded by the portal. The next game in the series is Swap Force with the blue bottoms. The higher level characters (like the Giants) are the Swap Force which can switch the tops and bottoms to get different power-ups with different elements. The latest game is Trap Team (red bottoms) which allows you to trap and use the villains as your character. Both are money-hogs (gotta buy ‘em all) but fun with adorable characters. At least the older characters are usable on the new game and Portal. If you get TT and later decide to get SF, you can get the game only without the older Portal. Starter packs have the game, the Portal and a couple of the characters required to play the game and can be expensive unless you see one on sale or online.

  6. Hi all!
    Absolutely puzzled here. Bought Spyros adventure game with portal and 3 figures from giant’s game. Figures will not work on that portal. Please SOS). Do I need to buy latest skylanders game with latest portal so all previous figures can work on that portal or do I need to buy each portal for each skylanders game? Thanks!

    1. You can only use Giants figures that already existed in Spyro’s Adventure. Which figures did you purchase?

  7. Hi,
    We have Skylanders Giants game – 2 questions:
    1) a giant figure is not recognized by the portal. All other characters are. What do you advise?

    2)bought some Spyro’s Adventure packs. And started a new game. Now, we can replay Giants’ chapters 1 and 2, and special chapters 17 and 20. How do we regain access to Giants chapters 3 and up?

    Thank you!

    1. Didn’t mean regain access. Had only played Giants chapter 1. While playing (completed) Giants chapter 2 – activated the special figures which opened up chapters 17 & 20. Played / completed those. No new chapters available. How do we get back to storyline?
      Thank you!

  8. Ok figured out question #2.

    Just need to know how to reset / reactivate a giant figurine.

    Thank you

  9. Hi my grandchildren have all the skylanders games for the wiiu. I have just bought Superchargers and a new wiiu. Can the old games be played on the wiiu please.

  10. I need help! My 8 year old son has a Nintendo 3ds. He asked for the skylanders game and guys for christmas but there’s so many options! Where do I start? Do the guys that come with one game still work on other games? Please help!

  11. Hi, my son wants skylander tramp team game and skylander supercharger, can any firgure fro. Giant tramp team and supercharger be used on both portols, not really sure as he wants it for Xmas

  12. Yes all wii gamemes can be played on a Wii u , you do this by going to the wii dashboard app then inserting the game

    The app should be on your main menu if you cant find it look it up on youtube, I hope I helped

  13. Can I use my Skylanders from spyros adventure and giants from the 360 on the Xbox one version as long as I have the ONE portal?

  14. Hi – I have been trying to search out whether or not the skylanders figurines from all the other versions (Giant/swap force etc.) can be used with the Imaginator. If so, can they to be used to “create”? I appreciate your assistance.

      1. Can Skylander imaginators be used on traditional wii or must it be Wii U? We have the portal and imaginators for wii and wondering if imaginators sensei series will work. Thanks!

    1. I bought Wii Swap Force starter pack and it is not doing anything. It gives me an error message and tells me to turn off the Wii. The Wii is up to date. Do I need the first game to play SF? I don’t know what to do I’ve never used this game before and now I have upset kids. :(

  15. Hi, I’ve recently bought my son an Xbox one. I was wondering if the portal and game for Xbox 360 would work on it. I’m finding it hard to find Xbox one starter packs for the older games like trap team and swap force etc.

  16. My son has all the skylanders games for the Wii U, but he just got the Imaginators for XBOX one. Can all the figures be used on the portal for the game with xbox? Or should we exchange it for the Wii U system?

  17. I have been reading about skylanders portals. I have been told these Wii portals will not work with a Wii U.
    We want to get our son a Wii U, but he has all the portals and would really like him to still be able to play them.
    Could you assist please?

    1. As I understand it the Wii portal is compatible with the Wii U. If there is a problem, Wii U portals are widely available second hand.

  18. :FYI:

    This has been said numerous times, but I wanted to write it again:

    Figures – Can be used on any Skylander’s game that supports their expansion. IE – An adventure can be used on Imaginator. It doesn’t matter on system. IE – You can play it on a 3ds portal, than also play it on an XBox 1 portal.

    Portals – Can only support platforms they were designed for. IE – You can’t use an imaginator figure on an Adventure portal, but you can use an Adventure figure on an Imaginator portal

  19. The game’s setting takes place in a world called Skylands, a realm filled with adventure and floating islands . It is the very center of the universe where it is constantly threatened by evil forces who seek to rule Skylands and gain access to all worlds.

  20. On swap force u can make ur own skylander can u also do that on the need games like giants and trap team?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>