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Skylanders for Parents FAQ

Everything you as a parent need to know about Skylanders

Skylanders is a hit! Odds are if you’re a parent you’ve already had your children ask you for these exciting new toys and video games. After four successful versions, the Skylanders world will only get larger. What do you do though, if you’re like most parents and don’t know much about toys with strange names like Chop Chop and Pop Fizz?

Skylanders characters

That’s where the Skylanders for Parents FAQ will come in handy. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about Skylanders so you can help your kids make the best purchasing decisions for themselves.

Skylanders: The Basics

Skylanders was the creator of the massively popular “Toys to Life” genre that’s taken both the toy and video game world by storm. The basic concept is simple. You place a small toy figure on a “Portal of Power” and it instantly comes to life on your TV screen, ready to be played with. Each figure comes with their own look and set of powers, making every one a unique experience.

That’s where the fun begins! Every Skylanders Starter Pack comes with a video game that can be played on one of today’s major gaming systems (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Wii, Nintendo 3DS) as well as select mobile devices.

To date there have been six game releases:

  • Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure
  • Skylanders Giants
  • Skylanders SWAP Force
  • Skylanders Trap Team
  • Skylanders SuperChargers
  • Skylanders Imaginators

While each game has different quirks, mini games, and new things to discover, they all follow the same basic pattern of players helping the Skylanders battle the forces of evil in Skylands.

No! Each game in the series is a standalone adventure and can be played without reference to any of the other games. That being said, there’s a whole lot of fun stored in the older games, and you might be able to find them at retail stores for bargain prices. Check out our Where to Buy page to find a Skylanders retailer near you.

The newest game in the series is Skylanders Imaginators, released in October of 2016. This game allows you to create your own Skylanders!

Skylanders: Toys and Portals

Yes. All Portals are backward compatible. That means that the latest version of the Portal will always work with older games, so it's always to your advantage to have the latest model of Portal. The Portal for Skylanders Imaginators, for example, will work on Skylanders Superchargers, Skylanders Trap Team, Sklyanders SWAP Force, Skylanders Giants, and Skylanders Spyro's Adventure.

Each Starter Pack may vary a bit by system and by game, but most of them come with at least:

  • One video game
  • One Skylanders Portal of Power
  • At least two starter Skylanders
  • Collection poster
  • Other fun stuff! (based on the title)
Check the entry for each individual game on our Where to Buy page to find out what each Starter Pack contains. Additional Skylanders toys, Traps, Adventure Packs, Battle Items, and Magic Items are sold separately.

Each new Skylander you purchase adds to the fun of the game. Since they all have different powers and abilities, playing with new Skylanders is like a whole new experience. In addition, new Skylanders can open up previously undiscovered areas and secrets in the game. Adventure Packs add new adventures and levels to the video game experience. Battle Items boost your Skylander's powers, Magic Items drop special magical effects on the battlefield for a limited time.

Skylanders Adventure Pack

No. The main game is completely playable using just the Skylanders in the Starter Pack. New Skylanders and Adventure Packs add new content and exciting new ways to play.

Each Skylander has an affinity for a special force called an Element. Which Element a Skylander is attuned to can be recognized by the shape of the base on which the Skylander stands, and the symbol engraved on the bottom of the base. A Fire Skylander, for example, has a Fire symbol engraved on the bottom. All the Elements and symbols are:

Skylanders elements

Only a Skylander of that Element can open up special areas in the game that are attuned to that force. Thus, only a Fire Skylander can open up a fire area. When a child is considering a new Skylander, take a look at the Elements already in his or her collection and consider a Skylander whose Element is missing. If all the Elements are already covered though, don’t worry about it. Your child can’t go wrong no matter what he or she purchases!

We understand. All of those different Skylanders can be a bit confusing, but there are only two basic characteristics you have to understand when it comes to Skylanders: generation and type.


There have been six generations of Skylanders toys so far and while telling what generation a toy is might be a bit complex, the most important thing to know is that Skylanders are always backwards compatible. That means that all Skylanders that have ever been released will always work in the latest game and when future games are released, those Skylanders that you have in your collection will always work in them.

If you do have older games and you’re not sure if a Skylander will work in it, you can always check them out here on the Skylanders character page.


A figure’s type has nothing to do with its abilities in the game. It’s just a marker of the special edition collectable characters we make that have unusual characteristics. Some of the rarer types of Skylanders may only be available at a single retailer.

The types of Skylanders include:

  • Core characters — your basic Skylanders and can be found at many fine retailers
  • Lightcore — Skylanders that light up when you put them on the Portal of Power
  • Giants — larger than usual Skylanders
  • Minis — tiny sidekick Skylanders
  • SWAP Force — characters that can switch upper and lower bodies with each other
  • Trap Team — slightly larger characters with crystal weapons
  • SuperChargers — Skylanders that are paired with special vehicle toys in Skylanders SuperChargers
  • Senseis — Skylanders that can unlock special powers for the player in Skylanders Imaginators
  • Rare/Limited Edition — special Skylanders made in limited quantities and may be harder to find than other Skylanders. The rare and limited edition Skylanders released so far include:
    • Unusual or alternate colors
    • Dark Edition
    • Eon’s Elite
    • Snow Flocked
    • Glow-in-the-dark
    • Gold/Silver
    • Legendary
    • Sparkly
    • Stone

Yes! Each toy contains a microchip inside that stores the levels, in-game money, collectibles, and special powers that they’ve earned in the game. This toy will retain those characteristics even if played on someone else’s system! That means that the longer you play with an individual Skylander the more he, she, or it becomes truly unique.

Skylanders: The Content

Skylands is a magical place far away that consists of beautiful islands floating in a clear, blue sky. Skylands is a peaceful place filled with lots of good creatures who live out their lives in simple harmony – mostly. Unfortunately, even a place like Skylands has its share of evil villains who threaten it. The worst of the worst though, is the evil Lord Kaos and his goblin sidekick Glumshanks, who time and again threaten the peace of Skylands with their dastardly, evil plots. Fortunately Skylands has always been protected by a good wizard named Eon and his legion of Skylanders, powerful creatures who fight against Kaos and anyone else who would harm Skylands.

All was well until Kaos came up with his most diabolical plan ever. He used a sinister device to exile all of the Skylanders to Earth where they became trapped in tiny plastic forms, unable to move, giving Kaos his shot at ruling Skylands forever. The good news is that Eon came up with a way to work around Kaos’ evil plans. He worked with a special group of people on Earth called Portal Masters who could place the Skylanders on a Portal of Power and send them back to Skylands where they could battle against Kaos and his minions. The result has been that peace in Skylands has been maintained – for now.

Kaos is still out there though, scheming for a way to rule Skylands, meaning that the Skylanders must be ever on their guard.

All of the Skylanders games have been rated E10+ by the ESRB with the descriptors “Cartoon Violence” and “Comic Mischief.” That makes the games appropriate for anyone age 10 or above.

The Skylanders are a very diverse lot with creatures ranging from dragons to elves to robots to giant lizards to beings of living flame. What unites them all though, is a fierce desire to protect Skylands against the forces of evil.

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