Content Continues Below

There’s not long to go until the long-awaited LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga flies onto store shelves and we recently got the chance to check out some live gameplay footage to get an idea of how the series-spanning adventure will play out.

It’s immediately obvious The Skywalker Saga is a more ambitious project than its predecessors. Starting with the visuals alone it’s a huge leap – each planet’s aesthetic is captured beautifully, down to little details like snow or sand building up around the minifig’s legs and joints over time. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the Switch version though, and it’s possible the level of detail could be a major hurdle for the system to overcome. Needless to say it’ll be worth waiting for hands-on impressions of Nintendo’s version.

It isn’t just the graphics the Switch could struggle with, either, as the game’s scale is positively massive and dense with detail. Every major planet is its own open world hub, featuring plenty of side activities to find and complete in order to get a Kyber Brick. One example we saw was of a make-shift soccer goal set up in the dunes of Tatooine. The player simply has to switch to a Jedi and throw some debris into the net to get one of the collectibles – and it looks like there are 1166 of the things! It really brings to mind the way Super Mario Odyssey was bursting with Moons for players who wanted to try messing around with its toybox of a world, but here it’s even more fitting considering it’s literally about toys.

It is worth noting that canon isn’t really factored into these hub worlds. While you pick a main story to follow from the menu, as soon as you finish the respective opening level you’re set loose on a planet. R2-D2 might have run away from the Lars Homestead but Luke can still spend 30 minutes beating up Womp Rats and hi-jacking a speeder. You aren’t even limited to playing as characters from that specific movie, either – the aforementioned soccer secret was completed by the Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn who should have been long-dead (uh, spoilers). Of course, the inherently goofy nature of LEGO games means that taking it too seriously is a fools errand, and if anything this freedom of choice leans all the way into the creativity offered by the toys themselves. If a kid wants to play through the saga in reverse order then there’s nothing stopping them; in the end it’s just like plucking random minifigs from a bucket on the bedroom carpet.

Of course any kid would be lucky to have as many minifigs as there are playable characters in Skywalker Saga, with the final number coming out to around 300. From what we can tell it’s an easy process to unlock them – you either finish a level and get them that way, or they’re available for purchase through an in-game menu with the ever-satisfying Stud currency. While I’ll somewhat miss buying characters at Dexter Jettster’s Diner, the convenience is definitely welcome for that quick dopamine hit of seeing one of your favorite obscure characters popping into existence with the push of a button.

RPG elements are also incorporated this time around, with each character “type” having its own upgrade path, such as “Hero”, “Scoundrel”, “Protocol Droid” etc. This is where the Kyber Bricks will come in, though they also cost a certain number of studs to acquire as well. I could see this new feature proving controversial, as while several of the upgrades appear to be purely cosmetic (like giving new tool colors for the Scavenger type) others save the player time (such as boosts to climbing speed). Hopefully the game’s flow isn’t affected too negatively if you forgo those upgrades.

Another major departure from the classic Lego Star Wars games is the camera angle. Gone is the fixed top-down view of most levels, replaced with a behind-the-back camera angle. While this definitely feels more modern, it does result in the game being fairly restrictive, and some players may have a difficult time with the narrow field-of-view. It also means that the game will constantly be in split-screen when it comes to local multiplayer, so more inexperienced players might need a little more guidance this time around if they aren’t too familiar with using a second analog stick.

I’d also be remiss not to mention the space sections of the game, which are perhaps the most exciting addition. At any time you can head out into space and fly around, completing even more Kyber Brick side-objectives. These can be as simple as shooting apart a meteor to smuggling goods from one planet to another, bracing for potential dog fights on the way. As is the case with the characters, there’re also a whole bunch of ships to unlock, seemingly 119 in total, with three classes – starships, capital ships, and microships. We’ll just have to wait and see if we can make Babu Frik pilot a tiny Millenium Falcon.

As a huge fan of the classic LEGO Star Wars games growing up, it’s exciting to see just how far the Skywalker Saga is going with the concept while maintaining the same sense of play and discovery. Here’s hoping when it lands on April 5th that the return to a Galaxy Far, Far Away was worth the wait!

Leave a Comment

Written by Tom Brown

Whether it’s an exciting new entry in a series long established or a weird experiment meant only for the dedicated, Tom is eager to report on it. Rest assured, if Nintendo ever announces Elite Beat Agents 2, he’ll be there.