Lego Star Wars Saga iOS Review

Available on: PS3, Xbox 360, Windows, Mac, Wii, Nintendo DS, iOS (full version)

Reviewed On: iOS

When Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga was released on the app store earlier in the year (although I only found out about it on my holiday), I immediately jumped at the chance to play it. I’d played the lego prequels on the PS2, in fact, they were one of the first games I ever played, so I was amazed at how something from the PS2 could work on an iPad. Even though I’d recently been playing the remastered Grand Theft Auto III on iOS, I’d never played the original, so this gave me an opportunity to see how things have been improved, or maybe failed to work as well, in the iOS version.

When the game first loads, your in a familiar location to most Star Wars fans: the Mos Eisly Cantina,  an alien bar. When I was playing the game, the default controls were touch (although they have now given you the option to choose when creating a new game), I quickly changed the controls to the “classic” controls, which meant there was an on-screen analogue stick and buttons. The controls have been mapped well, and are in the same position which I remember being on the PS2. There are a few issues, but we’ll get to that soon. There’s only one of the 6 episodes available for free with the download, with the other episodes costing $1.99 each, and bonus missions available for $0.99. You can’t create a character, purchase anything from the bar (such as characters and red blocks, which are items that do something crazy when playing, such as making the floor slippery) or do free-play mode, a mode where a bunch of characters that aren’t available in the normal “story” mode can go into the level. This is generally done to get extras in a level, an example of it would be taking Darth Vader into a chapter from episode one.

For those of you that don’t know the story of the first episode of Star Wars, titled The Phantom Menace, it takes place  a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away, and if you want to listen to a musical version of the story, in a parody of Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie by Weird Al Jankovic, you can listen to that here. But the main idea is that 2 Jedi’s go to this planet called Naboo, which this Federation called the …Trade Federation is invading for no reason other than they can, using droids as soldiers. On Naboo live two species, the human ones, and the gungans, which nobody talks about. They’d never helped each other out before, but they start now, to help each other defeat the Trade Federation. That’s the background behind it, but the game has cutscenes between story episodes to tell you the story, and they do a good job, even if you haven’t seen the movie. I’ve never really understood why the prequels cop so much hate from the fan-base but that might just be because I never re-watched the movie after playing the games, which tell the story in a humorous way.

The gameplay is the usual LEGO affair: you progress through a level, solving relatively easy puzzles which are often solved using the force or a blaster, gather coins, and fight baddies, in this case, droids. Droids are generally killed in one or two hits, but there is a tougher type with a force field. Light sabres differ up the combat a little, however, as you are able to deflect bullets back to the attacker. In addition to this, there are gold and red blocks to unlock. You acquire one gold block when you finish the level, one when you acquire “True Jedi”, which requires you to collect a lot of coins in a level to fill up a bar, and one when you collect all ten “mini-kits” in a level, which are LEGO pieces which build together into a small LEGO kit when all of them are collected in a level, an example of one is a ship. This means that there are 18 Gold bricks in episode one to collect, but the mini-kits often require additional characters to obtain all the pieces, so you’ll probably only get twelve in the free game. Red bricks give access to a crazy ability which turns the game on it’s head, and these often also require the use of additional characters, and to use the ability you have to purchase it, none of which you can do in the free version of the game. I only found one in my time with the free version of the game; specifically, part 5.

There are few problems with this game, but the flaws that exist are very important to gameplay aspects. Firstly, the graphics are alright, but they’re nothing special. I think that they’ve now updated the game to have retina graphics, but I didn’t really mind during my play through – I still think they’re better than the PS2 graphics. It’s also very difficult to judge what direction to jump in, especially during the parts where you view the action side-on. You think you’re heading straight, but then you’ll fall off the edge and realise you were heading at a diagonal. Fortunately, you don’t lose any studs (in-game currency) when you fall off, which I think has been added here – I think you lost studs in the original, but it’s been so long since I’ve played it. Lastly, the on-screen analogue stick and button controls are not the greatest control scheme. It can be really difficult to control the characters using the analogue stick, especially during the pod race episode, which is the racing equivalent of the Star Wars universe. My pod racer was just out of control, and it kept on smashing into things. Part of this was to do with how fast the pod goes, but the other part is the analogue stick, which is just too sluggish to respond properly at the speed. It’s been updated since, but I tried it again and there was only a minor difference. Unfortunately, there is no controller support as of yet, but hopefully Traveller’s Tales updates the app to include this functionality in the future, as controllers become more popular and make the game easier to play.

To finalise, I really enjoyed playing this again on iOS. It amazes me to see a game I played extensively on the PS2 on iOS, and I plan on buying all the episodes, because it’s just too good a price to pass up. I’ll review it after I do that, but until then, I think this is worth a download, just because it’s free, and you can decide whether to buy the other episodes if you like the controls, otherwise, you can delete it.

Pros

– Graphics have been remastered from the console versions.

– Is the full game, and has not been scaled down for iOS.

– Gameplay still holds up after many years.

– Very cheap, especially when compared to the original version.

– Vehicles have been added.

– Don’t lose studs when die from falling off an edge.

Cons

– Direction is hard to tell, and can be frustrating during side-on platforming sequences where jumping is required.

– “Classic” controls don’t quite do the game justice.

– Can’t buy characters, do free-play mode, or unlock certain hidden collectibles without buying another episode pack.

– No controller support seems bizarre, as the original was meant to be played on a controller.

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