Back in my day, I was a Lego Star Wars superfan. As I said in my preview, my brother and I would share a keyboard and a tiny little screen on the family computer, collecting enough studs to unlock every single character and secret the game had to offer.
So, with that in mind, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has to fill some of the biggest shoes possible. The shoes are called nostalgia, and they are size 20 galoshes filled with the murky waters of Star Wars fandom.
I was cautiously excited coming into The Skywalker Saga. It's been years since I've played a new Lego game, and thought I knew what I was getting when it came to the formula. The old Lego Star Wars but more - that's all I needed. Imagine my joy when I learned I was getting a whole lot more.
Star Wars is a ridiculous franchise. It's a movie about space cowboy wizards and an octopus-faced man shouting about traps. Somehow, it captured the imagination of the world and remains a hugely popular franchise almost 50 years later, finding itself with superfans and people who will purchase Star Wars merch with impunity. I have multiple friends who own replica lightsabers.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga knows how silly Star Wars as a franchise really is. It knows that Darth Vader is one of the most ludicrous guys in the history of film, and leans so far into it. The game is well aware of the extended canon of Star Wars fan jokes and memes - there's a big scene making a joke about Chewbacca not getting a medal, for example - but it never feels like it's being egregiously self-congratulatory.
This is such a hard balance to strike - The Skywalker Saga could so easily have made me cringe so hard my face doesn't return to normal, but somehow I found myself chuckling at AT-ATs sliding around Hoth like Bambi on ice, Obi Wan's repeated mentions of high ground, the Tusken Raiders' camp mentioning not just the men, but the women and children too. It's the Lego magic that had me laughing to myself during every cutscene.
There are too many mini-giggles baked into The Skywalker Saga to go through all of them, and it's perfect for people who get the references while not being completely inaccessible for casual fans of the Star Wars franchise.
Collecting A Bunch Of Stuff Has Never Been So Fun
I usually hate collect-a-thons. Any game that's required me to run around doing the same levels over and over again to find all the new stuff isn't my cup of tea.
How, then, is Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga getting away with it? Each film gets five main levels each, taking place largely in giant re-visitable hub worlds with all kinds of new stuff to find. I found myself jumping back in as newly-unlocked characters with great excitement, despite my dismay at games like Banjo Kazooie and Super Mario 64 putting in the same requirement.
It's something about the Lego aesthetic. I'm in a toybox, now. I can bring Boba Fett to the Gungan City and throw Kylo Ren in the Sarlacc Pit, all the while collecting new finds and trying out newly unlocked abilities thanks to all the stuff I've found. The levels are more expansive than in any other Lego Star Wars game previously seen. I remember when the Mos Eisley Cantina was the only real 'hub' location - now every single planet has multiple places where you can explore, find quests, and figure out puzzles to get new stuff.
I think I'm okay with collecting all this stuff because of the sheer variety available. Sure, I don't want to replay missions over and over, but there's always something to do that I'm not tired of right now. If I'm growing weary of being an Ewok on Endor, I can switch it up and head to the Death Star, bringing Darth Maul vengeance on his former master.
It's the nature of Lego magic. It's satisfying to go back and redo things with a different character with unique abilities because you always have new stuff to check out, and as you go further into the game you'll get more and more powerful, whoever you play as.
As I said, it's a toybox. A place where anything Star Wars is possible. And I love that.
There Are Actual Boss Fights
One thing I was concerned about was the boss fights. I love the introductions to them - a Yakuza-style freeze-frame comes up with the enemy's name on the screen before they start attacking. But it'd be easy for Lego Star Wars to phone it in when it comes to the galaxy’s big, iconic baddies.
Don't get me wrong - you aren't getting Elden Ring bosses in this game. Still, though, the combat system is a great deal deeper than it ever has been in a Lego Star Wars game, bringing in elements of third-person cover shooters and one-on-one sword fighting to create boss fights that feel robust and challenging enough to justify their fanfare.
Each of them has numerous phases as you trundle through the actual battles that were in the film, with a few changes to make co-op play make sense (R2-D2 and Leia play different roles in killing Jabba in his ship, for example). You aren't playing Lego Star Wars for a challenging adventure through a cruel and unfeeling galaxy - you're playing for a romp down a memory lane with side roads into some of the best referential humour around. The combat and bosses serve this purpose fabulously, and are a blast to charge through with a pal.
Co-op Play Is A Treat
I love playing Lego Star Wars with a friend. Obviously, going back to the days my brother and I would share a keyboard, I knew what I was getting, and I'm delighted it was kept nice and simple for The Skywalker Saga.
Playing with a friend is the most wholesome, silly experience I've had in gaming in years. You can shoot or whack each other, work together to figure out puzzle solutions for collectables, and experiment with character combinations to put the weirdest battles the galaxy has ever seen in your own personal headcanon.
It's mostly fun because of the low stakes nature of Lego Star Wars. If you die, you lose a few studs and respawn. The screen helpfully splits when playing with a friend so you can each do whatever you want - an improvement from the older Lego Star Wars' attempts to keep both players on the same screen. You can wander about taking on whatever challenge you wish with no friction whatsoever, and the ability for a second player to drop in and out as and when they wish is the perfect complement to a game like this.
A Few Glitches and Dud Levels
It's not all rosy - I did run into a couple of bugs and some levels which don't stand the test of time quite as well. It's not a dealbreaker, but something you should be aware of.
When you activate something in the game world, say you turn on the power that allows you to climb a tower on Hoth, the camera pans over to show you the change you've made to the world. This is great - it makes sure the player knows what they're doing and the direction they're going in.
Unfortunately, I experienced the camera refusing to pan back to my guy Han Solo, meaning I could run around and shoot all I wanted but was unable to see anything aside from the repaired tower. Upon restarting the level, the issue didn't replicate though. Issues like this cropped up a couple of times, but are far from the norm throughout the game - it was far from ruining the experience.
There are a few levels you won't want to go back to quite as much as others, too. They all have something in common: you're driving a vehicle around. The Pod Race in The Phantom Menace, the speeder chase on Endor in Return of the Jedi, all manner of space battles, they just don't hit quite the same. They basically require you to follow a set path, shooting things in front of you, until you reach the end. Compared to the toybox style of the rest of the game, when you're on two (or four, or eight, or zero) legs exploring areas in a mass of directions, it's a disappointment.
Honestly though, I just won't go back to those levels as much as the others. The less exciting areas are also easier to obtain all the collectables in due to their more linear nature, so it's not even a significant issue for completionists who want every last brick in the galaxy. Just go somewhere interesting - you'll thank me.
Verdict - 9/10
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the perfect Lego game, the perfect Star Wars game, and a fantastic sendoff to an illustrious series as a whole. It's not a perfect game by any means, and there are numerous issues that need addressing, but it's far from enough to detract from what is a constant pleasure. No other game this year has made me laugh out loud as much as The Skywalker Saga and it'll be my comfort game for a long time to come.
It's an absolute delight for Star Wars diehards and casuals alike. Grab a friend, get your lightsabers out, grab yourself a bottle of blue milk from a horrifying dinosaur thing, and enjoy.
My challenge run will be beating all the levels as Salacious Crumb.
Reviewed on PS5. Code was provided by the publisher.