Star Wars is a big part of TT Games’ history. The British studio is synonymous with licensed LEGO games, many of which tie into big pop culture multimedia franchises, but that all started with LEGO Star Wars back in 2005. Nearly two decades later, TT Games has put out a cavalcade of LEGO titles, spanning everything from The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars to Batman– but for all of their success, by now, their tried-and-true formula is wearing a little thin.
Enter: LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. Billed as the next step forward for TT Games’ LEGO line of games, The Skywalker Saga adapts all nine mainline Star Wars movies in what is easily the biggest and most ambitious LEGO game made to date. Some reinventions, refinements, and expansions significantly improve the gameplay, but at the same time, the trademark charm, humour, simplicity, and pacing that these games have always been known for are retained. The result is a game that’s densely packed full of legitimately fun and engaging things to do, delivered to you at a quick and consistent pace. Because of its straightforward nature rather than in spite of it, I had a smile plastered across my face for most of my time with LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.
"Some reinventions, refinements, and expansions significantly improve the gameplay, but at the same time, the trademark charm, humour, simplicity, and pacing that these games have always been known for are retained."
The series’ core gameplay formula has been retooled and overhauled in a number of major ways, and one of the biggest and most instantly apparent is the camera. Dropping the fixed isometric view of past LEGO games, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga pulls the camera in close to the character you’re playing as for a third person over-the-shoulder perspective. Instantly, it brings you closer to the action, and it’s better for it. That action has seen several improvements as well- largely split between shooting and melee combat, with both halves making noticeable strides.
Aiming and shooting is now done with the triggers, turning The Skywalker Saga’s firefights into light third person shooting affairs. Often, cover is thrown in as well, so you can take the stop-and-pop approach if you wish to. Melee combat, meanwhile, is much more focused on combos and chaining together different attacks. Getting in your enemies’ faces and fighting them up-close is particularly fun when you’re playing as a Jedi or a Sith, because then you can also combine your lightsaber attacks with Force pushes.
This is still a LEGO game, of course, and by its very nature, it’s trying to cast a very wide net where its target audience is concerned. That means simplicity is king, and even with all of these improvements, things are always very straightforward. You can play some firefights as you would in a cover shooter, but there’s no need to. Chaining combos in melee combat is fun, but you can just button mash your way through for the most part. Enemies don’t aim too well, if you get hit you don’t take too much damage, and the penalty for dying is effectively non-existent.
"Even though there’s almost no strategy or challenge involved in combat, you’re still always having a good time. This is a breezy, easygoing game that just wants you to turn your brain off and have some fun, and it accomplishes that in several small ways that, collectively, are greater than the sum of their parts."
That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, because even though there’s almost no strategy or challenge involved in combat, you’re still always having a good time. This is a breezy, easygoing game that just wants you to turn your brain off and have some fun, and it accomplishes that in several small ways that, collectively, are greater than the sum of their parts. During firefights, you can shoot Stormtroopers’ helmets off to reveal their human faces. If you use Force push on enemies, it’s always fun to see them sent flying back and knocked into walls. When enemies die or objects in the environment get destroyed, they explode into bright showers of multi-coloured LEGO studs and pieces. Everything just feels tight and tactile, and enjoyable on a very fundamental level.
It helps that mission variety and pacing are also areas where LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga impresses. When you first boot up the game, you’re free to choose between A New Hope, The Phantom Menace, and The Force Awakens, with subsequent episodes unlocked as you progress further in their respective trilogies. If you’re beelining it, you can blow through a single movie in as quickly as a couple of hours, with each movie being split into five main missions apiece.
The Skywalker Saga maintains a brisk pace, constantly moving from one big beat to the next. Major scenes are played out either in cutscenes or in gameplay moments, moving quickly from point to point and location to location- including a number of iconic planets and areas that Star Wars fans will be very familiar with. From the sandy environs of Tatooine and the icy wastes of Hoth to the claustrophobic interiors of the Death Star and so much more, memorable and beloved Star Wars locations are brought to life wonderfully with excellent attention to detail and eye-popping visual variety. The main story missions are just as varied, too. You have a lot of regular combat and puzzle-solving scenarios, sure, but LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga keeps mixing things up with varied objectives and set-pieces, from dogfighting in the Millennium Falcon and trench runs in TIE fighters to large-scale battles against AT-ATs and AT-STs and much more.
"From the sandy environs of Tatooine and the icy wastes of Hoth to the claustrophobic interiors of the Death Star and so much more, memorable and beloved Star Wars locations are brought to life wonderfully with excellent attention to detail and eye-popping visual variety."
Typically, The Skywalker Saga also sticks the landing with how charming and humourous it is. That’s pretty much a pre-requisite for a LEGO game at this point, and thankfully, this one doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. With silly puns, abundant visual gags, and a willingness to have fun with Star Wars’ significant online meme culture every chance it gets, The Skywalker Saga got plenty of genuine chuckles and smiles out of me. It never overdoes it, and though the humour is always light-hearted and simple, it’s also almost always very effective.
The way the game plays with its adaptation of the movies is another one of its strengths, in fact. Memorable and iconic scenes from across all nine movies are twisted and tweaked in delightful ways, to the extent that I was genuinely engaged every time I was watching a cutscene, even though I’ve seen all of these movies countless times (barring The Rise of Skywalker, which I regret having seen even once). Even the crippling issues of movies like Attack of the Clones and the aforementioned The Rise of Skywalker become easy to overlook, which is really saying something. At times, the game goes a little overboard with its abridgements, and key events occasionally end up feeling too condensed and rushed, but given the nature of the game and what it’s going for, it’s easy to get past those issues- though Star Wars fans will certainly find some of these moments a little jarring.
Between story missions, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is an open world game, in a manner of speaking, which is the biggest way it shakes up the long-running series’ established formula. There are over 20 major maps featured across the three trilogies, and when you’re between story missions, you’re free to explore them at your leisure- which is the meat-and-potatoes of the experience, and what I, personally, have spent most of my time doing.
"Each sandbox map is sufficiently large, and densely packed with collectibles like minikits and Kyber bricks, side quests and optional areas to explore, and much more."
Each sandbox map is sufficiently large, and densely packed with collectibles like minikits and Kyber bricks, side quests and optional areas to explore, and much more. Kyber bricks and studs are the two currencies you use to purchase upgrades for your characters, and with well over a thousand of these scattered throughout the entire game, you’re always encouraged to go off the beaten path and explore. Better yet, finding Kyber bricks and other collectibles is consistently fun in and of itself as well, with plenty of variety on offer in the form of various smartly designed environmental puzzles, platforming challenges, bite-sized side activities, and more.
The many different characters you can play as also add immensely to exploration and navigating environments. There are literally hundreds of characters to play as in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, from beloved fan-favourites to underground cult heroes to obscure references, and they each fall in different classes. Different classes have unique abilities in combat, of course, but often in traversal and exploration as well. C-3PO can separate his legs from his torso and control both individually, allowing him to move through small ducts. Rey can build tools for various purposes, from breaking through weak walls to gliding across distances. Obi-Wan can use the Force to stack boxes, allowing you to get to high-up spots that would otherwise be inaccessible. There’s a vast range of characters and character classes available, collectively providing a dizzying array of options. Unlocking all of them as you progress through the nine movies and then going back to all previous sandbox maps with different characters to get to different areas and collectibles can easily keep you occupied for hours on end.
The Skywalker Saga’s gameplay isn’t perfect though, of course. Jumping, for instance, can often feel a little too floaty and inaccurate, and given how much platforming there is in the game – especially in the free roam sandbox areas – that can be occasionally frustrating. Some puzzle types, meanwhile, are repeated a little too much, even though there’s still more than enough there in terms of quantity and variety to keep you occupied. Progression, meanwhile, feels largely meaningless- other than a handful of core upgrades that apply to all characters, most of the upgrades feel meaningless and unnecessary, thanks in large part to how easy the game is.
"LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is genuinely big, fun, packed, and well-made in a way that has surprised me."
Even so, the sheer volume and density of content on offer here means that LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga can very easily distract you from its shortcomings and redirect you into a more enjoyable activity. With thousands of collectibles to find, hundreds of characters and ships to unlock, dozens of iconic locations brought to life with charming visuals and attention to detail, plenty of sizeable sandbox maps packed full of consistently enjoyable and addictive activities, and the sheer variety of on offer here, it’s impossible not to have a ton of fun with this game. From beginning to end and beyond, it is an absolute blast- and not just in the unambitious and mindless way that LEGO games have been in the past. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is genuinely big, fun, packed, and well-made in a way that has surprised me. The Force is strong with this one.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox Series X.
Consistently charming and humourous; Camera and combat overhauls significantly improve the combat and gameplay; Densely packed full of content, collectibles, and more; Plenty of sizeable and packed sandbox maps to explore; Exploring the maps with different characters feels rewarding; Plenty of variety on offer across set-pieces, story missions, puzzles, platforming challenges, and more; Iconic locations are brought to life with plenty of attention to detail and eye-popping visuals; Adapts well-known scenes from the movies with brisk pacing and effective humour.
Often over-condenses key story moments; Jumping can feel a little too floaty; Progression system feels unnecessary and meaningless.
Share Your Thoughts Below (Always follow our comments policy!)