I’m a diehard Star Wars fan and a sucker for the Lego games franchise, and Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens combines these two series nicely. It makes great use of the source material, adds some cool backstory levels and lots of Lego charm. Sticking closely to the tried-and-true Lego formula, the game also introduces some great new features and is by far the best entry since 2013’s Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
Lego Lightsaber Love
For anyone living under a rock who has somehow never played a Lego game, let me explain the basic gameplay. Through each level you play as different characters to solve puzzles, build Legos, fight enemies and destroy every object in sight to collect Lego studs to buy new characters, vehicles and upgrades. The Force Awakens doesn’t do much to shake up the Lego formula, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you’re not a Lego fan, this game won’t change your mind, but Star Wars fans might find some value here.
The 10 story levels retell the plot of Episode VII and add lots of extra content and puzzles to stretch the 135-minute film into an eight-hour story mode. Collecting enough gold bricks in the levels and hub worlds unlocks six cool standalone levels that serve as backstories taking place before the movie. One level shows how Han Solo and Chewbacca captured the deadly Rathtars before the movie takes place and another lets you play as Poe Dameron rescuing Admiral Ackbar from the First Order. These bonus levels alone are a ton of fun and any Star Wars fan will love discovering these mini stories.
Throughout the game, you play mostly as Rey, Finn, BB-8, Han Solo and Chewbacca and each has a unique ability to solve puzzles. Rey climbs and runs across walls, Finn hacks First Order terminals, BB-8 activates electrical switches and Chewbacca throws explosives and is super strong. Combining these characters’ unique skills makes solving the simple puzzles more fun, but they get boring quickly. After several levels, halfheartedly hacking terminals and powering switches becomes tedious and repetitive chores.
The Force Awakens introduces new multi-build objects to puzzles and cover-based shootouts to fight scenes, which are great additions to the Lego series. Having groups of Legos that can create several different objects adds a nice wrinkle to the basic destroy-and-build puzzles. The blaster fights in several areas like Jakku and the Starkiller base don’t pose much of a challenge, but are surprisingly fun. They make Lego battles more frantic and enjoyable, and they’re always a welcome change of pace from the normal Lego routine.
Several space battles through asteroid fields, the sand dunes of Jakku and Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana liven up the gameplay a lot, too. I was never a huge fan of the vehicle levels in past Lego games, but jumping into the Millennium Falcon or Poe Dameron’s X-Wing is always a blast. Some levels were chaotic on-rails chases through space and some were open-area battles against waves of TIE fighters, but they were all exciting variations from the regular levels.
Most of the dialogue from the movie is reused effectively in the game, making the Lego version more natural and believable to listen to. The film’s main cast even recorded extra lines for the game, so the audio is as authentic as it can get. It’s fun to play as these main characters and there are lots of classic faces from the Star Wars saga to discover, but besides them there isn’t any reason to unlock the rest of the characters. About three-quarters of the cast are random background characters that are completely forgettable and obscure. They have useful abilities, but why would anyone want to spend time unlocking unknown people like Pru Sweevant or Goss Toowers? The game’s total cast is lacking many interesting and substantial people, mostly due to being based on one movie.
Like every Lego game, The Force Awakens gives lots of content and Lego charm to players of all ages. It’s fun to see iconic scenes play out in kid-friendly Lego style, and several parts are genuinely funny, like watching Stormtroopers work up a sweat in a yoga class and moody teen Kylo Ren retreat to the Darth Vader shrine in his room. There are tons of collectibles for completionists and two people can double the fun playing co-op. If you’re already an anti-Lego gamer, this probably won’t convert you to the series, but it’s one of Lego’s and Star Wars’ best games.