Lego Star Wars
Lucasfilm | Traveller's Tales Games | Disney

How the New ‘Lego Star Wars’ Game Become a Sensation

The newest Lego game, 'Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga,' is a refreshing take on a classic formula. It's also a love letter to the sprawling galaxy far, far away.
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Traveller’s Tales Games released the first Lego Star Wars game way back in 2005. That game coincided with the release of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, the final film in the Prequel Trilogy. While those movies received middling reviews and alienated adult fans, kids loved them–and gobbled up the tie-in merchandise and spin-off video games.

The original Lego Star Wars title looked like a fun gimmick that would entertain a handful of kids for a few afternoon play sessions. It turned out to be a smash hit, cementing TT Games as one of the most adept developers for the hack-and-slash genre.

The latest entry in the long-running series brings things full circle by embracing its wacky premise and serving as a full-blown love letter to Star Wars. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a breath of fresh air in a AAA gaming landscape dominated by photorealistic graphics and overly dramatic storytelling. It’s also been a massive commercial success, leading some gamers to wonder why the childish-looking title is winning so many accolades.

Runaway Success

The Skywalker Saga has surprised some games journalists by selling nearly as many copies as Elden Ring, the season’s other massive game release. It’s the fastest-selling Lego game in history and reports suggest it’s a major hit for WB Games. Interestingly, the PlayStation version has sold the most copies, coming in at 39% of the launch sales. The Xbox version was next with 34%, while the Switch version lagged behind at 16%. The PC version brought up the rear, with only 11% of the total sales.

Some reviewers have pointed out this could be evidence that the game’s “target” audience–youngsters–haven’t been picking it up at the same rate as grown-up gamers. Anecdotal evidence suggests kids typically play games on the Switch, while research confirms that the average gamer is 34. The sales figures suggest the lion’s share of the people playing The Skywalker Saga are, in fact, adults.

No matter who’s buying the game, one thing is certain: It’s been a smash hit. All those kids who grew up playing the original Lego Star Wars and watching the prequels on repeat have disposable income to buy their own games, now. But there has to be more to it than that, right?

Sprawling Epic

As the name implies, The Skywalker Saga is a huge game that covers all nine mainline movies. Each individual film in the saga is broken into five episodes, and it takes about two hours to clear each “movie.” You can jump around all you want in the game, and each new planet you unlock can be explored in free-play mode. 

The huge planets and moons are fully explorable and loaded with secrets and puzzles for players to discover. If you’re a fan of scouring massive game worlds for fun surprises, you’ll love this game’s emphasis on exploration. Longtime fans of Star Wars will find themselves inundated with cheeky references and fun throwbacks that might go over some newcomers’ heads.

You’re able to start any of the three trilogies from the outset. This means you can start with Phantom Menace, A New Hope, or The Force Awakens before tackling the later episodes in each trilogy. As such, fans who prefer one era over the others don’t need to slog through retellings of films they don’t care for. Of course, TT Games has reconfigured their versions of all nine movies to be cartoony and full of slapstick humor, so they’re all delightful for newcomers and die-hard fans alike.

Surprisingly Deep Gameplay

Where the earlier Lego Star Wars games used simplistic hack-and-slash gameplay, presented from a top-down perspective, The Skywalker Saga instead uses a third-person camera. It also features surprisingly deep combat that has caught the attention of many reviewers. Enemies can grow wise to players’ actions and start blocking their attacks if they over-rely on the same moves.

There are also nearly 400 playable characters in the game, and each falls into a different class. Classes have different approaches to combat and puzzle-solving, but each uses roughly the same ability in each context. For instance, Jedi prefer to use the Force to overcome enemies in combat, but they’ll also employ the mystical ability when they’re solving puzzles. 

This huge roster of characters is a treat for any longtime fans. If you’ve got a bizarre character you absolutely love from the films, even if they had very little screen time, you’re going to be delighted to see them as a playable avatar. Each of these characters also has its own unique abilities though some of them are remixes of more recognizable Star Wars characters.

Adorable Storyline

Returning players who haven’t touched the Lego franchise in a while might be surprised to find out that the game’s storyline now features voice acting. You can disable this feature in the menus to leave behind the silent-movie, physical storytelling the earlier entries in the series employed, but this would be a disservice to the excellent voice acting on display in The Skywalker Saga.

That’s right, this silly little Lego game has great voice acting. Longtime Yoda voice actor Tom Kane deserves special praise here, as he turned in an incredible performance as the diminutive green Jedi. Tragically, this game will likely be Kane’s final voice acting credit, as he suffered a stroke in 2020 that has led him to retire from the public eye.

The game faithfully follows the plot of the mainline movies. As such, the story is as good as you’d expect it to be. That means the prequel trilogy is still unmitigated sci-fi nonsense, the original trilogy is a fun romp through space, and the sequel trilogy is two-thirds masterpiece and one-third rushed finale. The real fun comes from the way TT Games reframes some of the franchise’s biggest moments, lampshading every silly narrative decision and allowing bitter fans to laugh at even the silliest plot twists. 

Sheer Scope

The best thing about The Skywalker Saga is that it’s a downright massive game that allows players to live out every Star Wars fantasy. You can take your favorite characters for a joy ride in an X-Wing through deep space. You can have Anakin and Luke team up with Rey and Kylo Ren if you want. The game understands that it’s a giant toy box full of Star Wars Legos and it leans into this childlike sense of wonder with gusto.

That all being said, the game is more complicated than a typical kids’ game. It’s not a straightforward romp that will telegraph when you should move to the next area. This is a deep, sprawling experience that rewards exploration and attention to detail. In essence, it’s a full-scale AAA blockbuster experience for grown-ups, but it features toy space wizards, so kids might like it, too. 

If you’ve got younglings of your own that want to take this brightly-colored Star Wars game for a spin, you might have to give them a hand in some of the trickier sections. That’s not to say the game is as hard as Elden Ring, but it’s definitely tougher than, say, the latest Kirby game. 

Star Wars Dominance

Spoilers for The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett follow in the next section. You’ve been warned!

Star Wars is more massive than ever right now While the final entry in the sequel trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker, received middling reviews, it still raked in over a billion dollars. That was an embarrassing tally, apparently, so that tells you how massive the expectations are for Star Wars. Lately, Disney has pivoted to its streaming service, Disney+, to pump out a seemingly endless stream of Star Wars TV shows

The Mandalorian proved to be one of the most popular TV series of all time when it debuted in 2019. The spin-off Book of Boba Fett left some critics unimpressed, but fans adored its introduction of the bounty hunter Cad Bane to live-action. Others commended the ongoing involvement of Luke Skywalker in the show’s narrative. 

There are also numerous upcoming live-action shows that will go deeper into the series’ mythology. The new Kenobi series will land in May, which will see Ewan McGregor reprising his role as the title character. Those grown-up prequel fans are understandably ecstatic about the era’s sudden return to the spotlight.

A Celebration of Star Wars

The Skywalker Saga is a massive, ambitious, ridiculous celebration of everything about Star Wars. It’s a joyous game that just has fun with its source material, and it’s a refreshing update to the classic Lego game formula. While it won’t win any awards for realistic graphics or a thought-provoking story, it’s exactly what it needs to be.

There are few games that feature this much attention to Star Wars detail. Whether you’re a newcomer who got in with shows like The Mandalorian or a life-long fan who just wants to see your favorite characters in action, this is the game for you. It’s perfect in every way it needs to be.