If you haven’t had enough of the Lego games yet (or Lego Star Wars games, for that matter), then Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles is here for you. This marks the brick-building series’ debut on iOS devices, and, to start with a compliment, it’s perfectly suited to them. That being said, this is unlike any other Lego game out there…and not for all the right reasons.
Lego games of the past follow a pattern: run through platforming levels based on moments from a licensed movie franchise. You might fight some troopers, and you might find a collectible or two along the way. Save the open-world aspirations of the newer Lego games, all past games have followed this design. Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles casts this off in favor of real-time strategy gameplay. You still are still frequently tasked with going from point A to point B, but you’ll do it with RTS-inspired troops.
Start Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles, and you’ll get to choose between the Jedi and Sith campaigns. Spoiler alert: they’re not different enough to matter. One has you follow Yoda’s orders, the other has you follow Count Dooku’s. As you play across Coruscant, Tatooine, and other planets* from the Star Wars universe, you’ll be engaging in those said A-to-B levels. Unfortunately, these get repetitive very, very quickly.
Playing through a mission involves three actions: moving, attacking, and building. Moving and attacking are as simple as tapping a spot to move there or tapping an enemy vehicle to attack it. To Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles‘ credit, this tapping worked spotlessly. Defeating enemies or destroying objects grants you studs, a staple of all Lego games. You can then use a build spot to construct troops, which fall into three categories. Troopers are your foot soldiers, the basic cannon fodder. Vehicles are your heavy hitters; they take and deal sizable damage. Their speed also varies, as a speeder will glide along much faster than an AT-ST. Finally, starships are only available at certain times, but they absolutely dominate the outer space battlefield.
While the tapping and building may work well in Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles, one mechanic is an absolute joke: geometry. Clipping seems almost intentional, as you can literally move through any object in a room. One mission which should have involved dashing around a large room and hiding behind cover instead turned into a Revolutionary War-era “let’s form two lines and fire at each other” firefight. This completely eliminates any hope of strategy here; if this was actually intended as an RTS, it’s a failure. Fights really do become a question of whose life bar will drain first as two sides bunch up and exchange fire.
Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles tries to offer some incentive to play it with objectives and achievements. Every mission has three objectives to complete, and these usually fall into “find this guy” or “do this mission in this time” categories. It offers some reason to replay a mission, but the repetition in missions will outweigh any desire to backtrack. Achievements range from completing a number of optional objectives or collecting a certain number of studs. Again, the aggravation of repetition will outweigh the feeling of completing a checklist.
Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles strayed from its roots, and that can be seen as admirable. Unfortunately, there’s no expected charm here – no minikits, no red bricks, no humorous plot. The objective of the developers must have been, “Let’s make what we think an iOS game should be and under-utilize our Lego and Star Wars licenses.” It just doesn’t feel like a proper Lego game, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it becomes so when the attempt at something new is no fun.
*Editor’s Note – Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles will have additional planets available for download at a later date. Unless these dramatically alter the game, consider this our definitive review.