If you’ve ever longed for a way to make your way through the story of all nine central Star Wars movies without having to actually, well, watch all nine films, the gamemakers at TT Games believe they have a fun LEGO-filled solution for you.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is undeniably an enormous endeavor packed with some 400 unlockable and playable characters; a universe of planets to explore; loads of puzzles and brick collecting; and a streamlined story that captures all of the key Star Wars moments while filtering everything through a lexicon of puns, jokes and sight gags.
The Skywalker Saga tackles each of the nine Star Wars pics as mini-adventure episodes that follow the films’ narrative closely, while adding extra sequences to pump up the gameplay and puzzle-solving side of things. Each episode has five main story missions, for a total of 45 levels. Gamers can dive into any of the three movie trilogies in whatever order they please. So if you just want to jump to the Rey action and skip Darth Vader’s origin story for now, you can.
The puzzle-solving aspect of things is never too difficult and generally comes down to figuring out how best to use the special athletic, analytic or Force-focused skills of the characters on hand. So even younger players won’t be stuck scratching their heads for long.
As you might expect, there is a lot of combat in the mix, too. There are new lightsaber and cover-based, third-person shooting techniques on hand. And even unexpected characters such as BB-8 and C-3PO can be a part of the thumping, zapping action.
To heighten the fun for more seasoned LEGO game players, the different character classes—Jedis, Heros, Scavengers, Scoundrels, Bounty Hunters and Villains—all come with their own skill trees, so players can unlock new abilities as they go. And there’s a combo system to make the lightsaber battles and slugfests a little more rewarding from a button-crunching perspective as well.
The most notable aspect of this game, of course, is that everything in this beautifully crafted LEGO land is made up of LEGO blocks and studs. When something is bashed or smashed, then, it breaks down into its blocky components.
On top of that colorful connectedness is the fact that the more tense Star Wars story moments are always softened with some sort of chuckle-worthy silliness. From character quips to stormtrooper dance routines to pie-in-the-face slapstick, there’s always an elbow nudge or grinning wink on deck here. Even the evil Sith lords are kept pretty lighthearted.
All in all, this is a game of heroism and fighting for what’s right. The story mirrors our inner desire for moral choices, committed friendship and loving family—even amid a galaxy filled with political and military turmoil.
Like other LEGO entries, the mechanics of this game are easy to slide into. (A tutorial mode familiarizes newbies with the basics.) There’s never anything that feels like it would keep youngsters at bay. The LEGO universe in this game is very expansive, too. Once planets are unlocked in the course of play, you can return for further exploration. And there are tons of collectables to find. Some parts can feel a little grindy, but the gameplay feels fresh and spirited overall.
As mentioned above, combat plays a big role in The Skywalker Saga, including lightsaber battles, space dogfights, thumping vehicle damage, shootouts with laser guns and even fistfights. That said, there’s no goopy messiness to worry over here. Because of the LEGO setting, everything feels very toylike. Bested characters and objects simply fall over or crumble into a tumble of blocks.
There are some cutscene moments that can feel more violent, such as when hero Luke’s hand is lopped off by Darth Vader’s lightsaber. But again, it’s all plastic. And in this case, Luke soon snaps another plastic hand in place.
Star Wars’ famous cantina scene shows up in the story mix, but no beverages appear to be consumed. Moments labeled as “comic mischief” occur from time to time, too. These include characters showing up in plastic boxer shorts, plastic undies falling out of an overhead compartment or characters appearing unexpectedly in a hot tub. One bearded man repeatedly shows up pretending that he’s the queen. And there’s one scene that displays a pile of tauntaun “poodoo” in the form of brown LEGO studs. But it’s all played for laughs, and there’s really nothing terribly inappropriate here.
Elsewhere, some blocky female characters dress in blocky bikinis, and a female character’s midriff is exposed when her shirt is slashed.
As always, Star Wars’Force-focused narrative includes a syncretistic hodgepodge of spiritual elements that parents may want to compare and contrast with a Christian perspective in conversations with their kids.
It’s actually kind of tough to find any real frown-causing problems in a typical LEGO game. And LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is very much, well, of a piece in that sense. If anything, I found it to be even more enjoyable than some past entries.
My only warning might be that Jar Jar Binks is more obnoxious than ever. But I was never a fan.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.