The idea of retelling the story of Star Wars using Lego building blocks sounds like the premise for a clever fan-made short film, something that would end up being passed around by e-mail and message boards. But Eidos and Traveller's Tales have taken the idea and run with it, creating a game that, while designed with kids in mind, has such a surplus of charm that even nostalgia-minded adults will be able to join in on the fun.
You've got your Lego in my Star Wars!
Those same adult Star Wars fans may be disappointed to learn that Lego Star Wars doesn't tell the tale of the Rebel Alliance and its struggle against the evil Galactic Empire. Rather, Lego Star Wars focuses its energies on Episodes I, II, and III. That's right, you'll get a glimpse of how Revenge of the Sith turns out nearly a full two months before the film hits theaters. There are plenty of "spoilers" in the game, although this isn't the strictest retelling and it isn't afraid to regularly inject some humor into what were originally pretty serious situations. Still, it seems odd that an officially sanctioned product like this, one that reveals so much about the final days of Anakin Skywalker, would be released so far ahead of the film.
Each episode is broken up into multiple chapters, each re-creating memorable sequences from the films. The game is largely an action adventure game, though it subverts its fair share of genre convention. You'll have control over only a single character at a time, but you'll usually have at least one computer-controlled companion with you, and at times that number can grow to a healthy half-dozen. Making this even more interesting is that you can switch between any characters in your party on the fly. The game really capitalizes on this by giving different characters different abilities. Jedi characters come equipped with lightsabers and the ability to "Force move" various objects; Astromech droids (the R2D2 trash-can-style droids) can hover for short distances and can also be used to unlock certain doors; and characters like Padme Amidala are armed solely with a blaster and don't have the Jedi double-jump, but they can use grappling hooks to pull their way up to otherwise unreachable areas. There are literally dozens of different playable characters, many of which have completely unique abilities.
The game capitalizes on these unique characteristics by riddling every level with a ton of puzzles that can be solved only by a specific character in your party or by several characters working together. It's not all puzzle-solving, though. There are several big boss fights with the likes of Darth Maul, Jango Fett, and Count Dooku in Lego Star Wars. There's plenty of straight-up combat, too, with the high point being the massive Jedi arena battle on Geonosis. Like the puzzles, the combat is pretty simple and straightforward. The game isn't afraid to break away from the third-person action adventure altogether, such as in the pod race from Episode I or in a sequence where you pilot an attack ship on Geonosis at the start of the Clone Wars.