It was barely two weeks ago that Lego Batman: DC Super Heroes made a wonderful iOS debut, and suddenly there's another Lego-themed game in the App Store: Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles. Woot!
The bad news: This isn't a port of any of the classic Lego Star Wars games that have appeared on consoles over the years. Instead, it's something new and original, a real-time strategy/action blend set in the "Clone Wars" universe and aimed at younger players. (Arguably, all the Lego games have a similar audience, but most of them are fun and funny enough for adults to enjoy, too.)
The good news: The Yoda Chronicles is pretty fun, and unlike every Lego game before it, it's free. Not freemium, mind you, but free: no charge for the app, no charge to play, and no in-app purchases. As the little green guy himself might say, "Highly unusual, this is."
Playing as either Yoda or Count Dooku, you Force your way through eight different levels, with missions of the usual rescue-this-person or attack-that-base variety. As you collect studs along the way, you'll be able to build and improve units as you play through the levels.
Mostly, the gameplay involves a lot of tapping: tap to move your units, tap to select an enemy to attack, tap the depot to build new units, and so on. The only real strategic element is deciding if it's worth spending extra time gathering studs (which can in turn be used to build more units) or go for speed and work toward a time bonus at the end of the level.
Remember, though, this is a game for younger Star Wars fans, and if my 10-year-old son is any indication, it definitely succeeds. It has John Williams' inimitable score and lots of beautifully animated cutscenes (well, assuming you find the blocky "Clone Wars" style of animation beautiful).
And it didn't cost me a dime! If you're looking for a cheap Star Wars fix for your young apprentices, The Yoda Chronicles is worth a download.