Recently we have had a chance to check out a one level playable demo of Lego Star Wars, currently in development at Traveller's Tales for the PC, PlayStation 2, and Xbox and from what we can tell it's looking very good indeed. So good in fact we had to try out each version a couple of times.
In the demo we started off as Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon on a Trade Federation battleship at the beginning of Episode I as you battle your way through the ship to stow aboard a droid Troop Transport get to the planet surface. While the levels didn't completely follow the film scene by scene, certain areas were recognisable such as the room they started in, the corridors and the droid control ship hangar.
The games controls were very simple, besides the usual movement buttons, you had one button for attacking (using a Lego lightsaber), one for using the force, one for jumping and an action button. Using the force you can get Lego coins out of objects (used for enhancing your character's attributes in the full game), manipulate objects or assume control of other characters (such as droids required for activating switches, and Jar Jar Binks, who can jump higher than either of the Jedi). Also by using the force you can stack crates and larger objects so you can reach higher platforms. In a video we saw of a level set on Naboo, Qui-Gon used the force to build a bridge over a large gap using blocks of Lego stacked nearby.
The game does have a nice action and puzzle split and while the puzzle elements are not the most taxing, it does not suffer from it at all, Instead it provides a nice break from having to run around chopping or blasting enemies into bits. The game will eventually feature locations from Episode II and Episode III and from the videos we saw, all of the locations were easily recognisable. The Lego Character models and animations were also done really well, and besides Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon we got to see the Trade Federation's Battle Droids and Droideka (Destroyer Droid), Yoda, Darth Maul and Jango Fett in action.
One of the nicer aspects of the game is its attention to detail. The game does faithfully recreate most objects out of Lego blocks, all of the crates and pickups look like they were built out of Lego and other objects such as the flowers on Naboo look like their real life Lego counterparts. While this does not apply to the whole world there is some Lego detailing of some kind. Another great feature is how objects are destroyed, a crate for example won't just explode into tiny bits and disappear from the screen like other games, parts of it will break off into actual Lego blocks. We tried this on various objects and characters and found to our surprise that you can attack droids and one of the legs would fall off, causing it to hop around on one leg, which was quite amusing.
Lego Star Wars is looking like it could be next years surprise hit. Keep an eye out for further previews and more screenshots. Lego Star Wars is due in April 2005.