Within the first 4 months of 2022, we were treated to a host of incredible video games into which to sink hours of time. With titles like Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West bursting onto the AAA space, those looking for a little more casual family fun certainly weren’t forgotten either. And if you’re a Star Wars fan, you’d certainly be in for a ride with LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.
Developed by TT Games and published by WB Games, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a celebration of the entire movie franchise by condensing it into not one, but nine bite-sized games that you can enjoy either by yourself or with a friend in local co-op.
Upon booting up The Skywalker Saga, you’ll be greeted with a level select screen that lets you pick any of the three trilogies to play through (though I imagine you’d almost always want to go for either the original or prequel trilogy first). Depending on which trilogy you choose first, you’ll always have to start from the first episode of that series, unlocking subsequent ones at the completion of your current one.
Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of going through every single movie as you would in the cinemas, though – each episode attempts to tell the story of The Skywalker Saga in the most concise manner possible, spreading each episode out into 5 main missions that detail the highlights of each movie.
And since this is a more family-centric game, the tone of the episodes is much more fun and lighthearted. You’ll be spared none of the overly-serious, extensive dialogue that comes out of the movies (lore dump on midi-chlorians, what?) and instead be greeted with a parody of iconic scenes like Luke looking for Yoda in the swamps of Dagobah while Ben Kenobi’s force ghost teases him while drinking a Slurpee; Obi-Wan Kenobi with that “hello there” surprise scene with General Grievous mixed with a brief mambo dance just for the hell of it, and so on.
The best part about this more comical take is that it still gives you all you need to know about each story beat, even with the convoluted mess that is the sequel trilogy. Speaking of which, the way in which TT Games revealed how Rey was a Palpatine was incredibly hilarious, and I chuckled upon how they pulled it off.
While I came for the namesake of the Star Wars and LEGO franchises, I stayed for the gameplay and the side content. In every episode, you’ll be in control of up to four characters, with the ability to swap among them seamlessly. Each character can perform either melee or ranged attacks depending on the weapons they use, and also sometimes have a special ability tied to their character type. Jedi and Dark Side characters can use Force powers; any character with a ranged weapon can zoom in a little bit in an over-the-shoulder camera style to shoot enemies from afar; and Heroes, Villains, and Droids can access terminals specific to their type to unlock new areas in a map or hidden rewards.
Arguably the best achievement TT Games have done for LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is that they have successfully replicated the definitive “best hits” Star Wars experience for everyone to enjoy in the gameplay itself. You’ll not only be running around town wiping the floor with Stormtroopers with your trusty lightsaber, but you’ll also be able to relive some of the most iconic moments in the saga in the cockpit of a ship, such as using Luke’s T-47 airspeeder to collapse AT-ATs in the Battle of Hoth in Episode V, or using Anakin’s Podracer to race to the finish line in Episode 1. It doesn’t get more endorphin-inducing than reliving some of the most iconic moments in The Skywalker Saga in the form of LEGO bricks.
A massive new addition is that of full voice-acting, both in the cutscenes and gameplay. While not the actual actors were used to voice all the Star Wars characters we know and love, their counterparts did a solid job emulating the originals, and it makes for a much more immersive experience overall.
The controls are as basic as they get, so don’t expect anything too deep or complex in terms of combat. Similarly, there’s an upgrade system that lets you boost passive abilities for each character type both during combat and exploration at the cost of some bits and Kyber bricks, but ultimately, the gameplay is simple enough for casual players to ignore this aspect altogether unless you’re an achievement hunter.
The local co-op experience is as simple as it gets; just connect a second controller to your system and you’ll be able to adventure together with a Player 2 in split-screen mode. This certainly makes completing puzzles that require multiple characters much simpler or making combat a breeze, though you might want to steer clear of each other’s attacks in the latter as there is friendly fire in the game (which can lead to some really hilarious moments as characters explode into a smattering of bricks upon death, only to be rebuilt with full life seconds later).
As you progress through the main story, you’ll come across various puzzles and rewards that absolutely require you to use specific characters in Free Play, so there’s always a reason to come back after your main playthrough simply just to unlock everything. That said, there will be instances during the main story where you can freely swap between any character you’ve unlocked so far. This means you can have the likes of Anakin Skywalker and young Obi-Wan join Luke in infiltrating the Death Star to search for Darth Vader (as funny as it sounds), or even have heroes and villains adventure together just for a few chuckles. It won’t change the cutscenes in the main story, though, but then again this is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, so it’s nothing to complain about at all.
After starting up each trilogy, I kept telling myself I’d just blitz through the main story just to unlock the later episodes, but I always ended up spending a few more hours doing side content. I often found myself veering off the main story prompts, roaming around towns and locales, looking for unlockables hidden away behind a jumping/shooting puzzle that I absolutely felt the urge to beat before moving on to the next part of the story. It’s that addictive, and will most certainly multiply your 6-8 hours of each trilogy by at least twofold.
If one were to ask me which game I’d recommend playing on Star Wars Day, or on any occasion for that matter, I’d certainly put LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga as the frontrunner, especially if you’re playing with family. It may not be as deep in gameplay as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, or the storytelling nous of Knights of the Old Republic, but it has a lot of charm in it. From the comical tone to the simplistic but deeply engaging gameplay and side content, it is a most impressive experience that will most likely establish itself as a go-to family activity whenever you’re celebrating Star Wars Day.