At a recent press event, we were able to get our hands on a one-level demo version of Lego Star Wars, which Traveller's Tales is currently developing for the PC, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. The game looks exactly as a Star Wars game set in the Lego universe (or vice versa) should, and we're pleased to report that we enjoyed the demo level enough to play it through both on our own and cooperatively with an Eidos representative.
The level we played through was set on a Trade Federation battleship from the beginning of The Phantom Menace, and it saw us assuming the roles of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon as they battle their way through the ship to stow away aboard a droid army ship headed for Naboo. The game's controls seemed pretty easy to learn from what we saw. In this particular level, they required little more than movement, jumping, attacking (with a Lego lightsaber), an action button, and a "Force" button. You'll be able to use the Force in a number of ways in Lego Star Wars, including "pushing" enemies, assuming control of other characters (such as droids required for activating switches, and Jar Jar Binks, who can jump higher than either of the Jedi), flicking switches, and, perhaps most appropriately, manipulating objects made of Lego.
Some Lego objects aboard the Trade Federation battleship, for example, could be stacked on top of each other to construct platforms for reaching areas previously out of reach. Other objects would give up the same Lego coins that are dropped by enemies when you kill them and which, in the final version of the game, will be spent on enhancing your character's attributes. During a video of a level set on Naboo (complete with Lego flowers) we also witnessed Qui-Gon using the force to build a Lego bridge across a large gap using blocks that were in a pile below. All of the force powers are activated with a single button press. You're really not required to do anything more than that--the results were still pretty satisfying, though.
Given that the puzzle- and combat-based gameplay in Lego Star Wars is relatively simplistic (though none the worse for it), the most impressive thing about the game has got to be its visuals. All of the locales from the Episode I and Episode II movies that we got to see (the game will also cover Episode III) were instantly recognizable, and although very few of them looked like they could be constructed entirely of Lego blocks, all of them featured authentic Lego detailing in some form or other. The Lego character models and their respective animations were also pretty easy on the eyes, and among those that we got to see in action were Darth Maul, Yoda, Jango Fett, and the Trade Federation's battle droids.
Lego Star Wars is a definite contender for the pleasant surprise of the GameStars Live show right now, and we look forward to bringing you more information on the game as its April 2005 release date closes in.