While the game is both really short and super easy, LEGO Star Wars III for the DS is a nice entry in the series.
So the first question that one might ask is what material could they use to make a 3rd Star Wars game? The first game focused on the Prequel Trilogy while the second game focused on the Original Trilogy, with the third game combining both of those trilogies into one game. Well, the answer is the Clone Wars TV series. In the console versions of this game, you start off at the Geonosian Arena from Episode II and then proceed to go through the series, facing off against the Sith. With the DS version, you go through only 13 levels mainly spanned throughout the first season of the TV series. The last 2 levels take place during the second season, but the majority of the levels take place during the first season.
Like with previous LEGO games of this genre, the goal of each level is to get to the end of the level while dealing with the multiple enemies in each level as well as obstacles and puzzles you have to solve along the way. Here, you play through the level as one player at a time. However in each level you have a group of characters who each have an ability which is necessary to complete the level. In order to switch to another one, you can either press the L or Buttons or tap that character's image on the touch screen. That basically is the only thing you use the touch screen while going through the level, although you do use it other times throughout the game. Instead of showing the map of the current level, all it does is show the characters in your party.
As with past LEGO games, each level has a Story Mode where you go through the level using the characters that appear in that 'story' and watch the hilarious cutscenes between each level. After completing the Story Mode, you can go through the Free Play mode where you can use all of the characters you collected in the game in order to fully find all collectibles in the game.
There are a couple of collectibles in each of the levels that you can collect in order to unlock various items within the game. Of course like with other LEGO games, if you earn a certain amount of studs within a level you achieve True Jedi status (which can be achieved in both the Story Mode and Free Play versions of a level). The main collectibles in the game are 10 minikits hidden within each level. If you find all of them in this game, you unlock a ship to use in the flying stages. There are also the Red Bricks, which are used to unlock the various 'cheats' in the game like multipliers which increase your stud total (which are pretty necessary seeing how the extras in this game cost around 500,000 studs or higher) and the always valuable invincibility cheat.
Aside from the platforming levels in the game, the other gameplay in the game are the flying stages. Basically the aim of each flying level in this game is to either take out a certain number of enemy fighters or destroy something like a cruiser or a bunch of satellites. To move around the level, use the control pad to change your flight path and use the L and R buttons to dodge enemy attacks. To attack enemies saw through the and targets, you either press the Y button to fire your lasers or the B button when you target an enemy to fire missiles. However, you can only hold 6 missiles at a time so when you run out, you have to find a ship that is carrying missiles and destroy it in order to refill your stock.
As always, you start off the game in its hub world which is represented in this game by Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi's starship, the Resolute. Here you can select one of the 13 levels in the game to play through, create your own custom character to use in Free Play mode, check out the minikits you find in the game, and go to the store to buy other characters to use in the Free Play mode. These characters range from those who appear in the TV series to some extra characters from the original trilogy including Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.
When it comes to the characters in the game, their main weapon is either a lightsaber (for Jedi) or a blaster (for pretty much everyone else). Jedi can do double jumps unlike the blaster characters, who can only jump once, and can use the force on objects which are displaying an aura. However, only Sith characters can use the force on objects showing a red aura. Also, if you find a red and green colored platform a Jedi can use them to do one of three things. If the platform is positioned in the open, a Jedi will do a high jump allowing them to reach out of reach platforms. If the platform is positioned between a pair of parallel walls, a Jedi will jump up the two walls using their lightsaber to stick to a side of the wall. When that happens, press the A button to get up the walls and to higher ground. Finally if the platform is positioned next to a single wall which blocks your path, a Jedi uses the platform to saw through the wall. Here is another section in the game where you use the touch screen. An outline will appear on the touch screen and you must use the stylus to sketch it.
When it comes to the blaster characters, they come in one of two classes. The sharpshooters can use their own platforms to grapple from one platform to another. These platforms can also be used to pull an item to topple it. The sharpshooters can also fire a pinpoint accurate shot by holding the X button to bring up a crosshair. After aiming it to align the crosshair with a target, release the X button to fire the shot. Heavy clone troopers can activate bombs which can eliminate obstacles in your way. Along with bounty hunters, these troopers fire objects similar to grenades using the X button technique I just mentioned. Some characters can also hover for a short period of time.
3 different types of characters can also activate panels that appear throughout the game. All of which have the player completing a small minigame where the aim in each is to match LEGO bricks up. On the top screen, a line of studs appears at the bottom of the screen which decreases by one stud every few seconds. If all of the studs disappear you have to do the minigame again. Panels requiring droids to activate it consist of the player spinning a wheel on the touch screen in order to match up the bricks on the wheel to the bricks that appear on the top screen. Panels requiring Sith characters to activate it have the player doing a simple memory game. Finally, bounty hunter panels have players tap bricks as they fly down the touch screen matching them up with the bricks that appear on the touch screen.
If you find the Red Brick in the very first level of the game, you can unlock the 4 minigames in this title which can be found right behind the shop on the hub level. Here's how each of the minigames work:
Astromech Volleyball: You play as R2-D2 in a volleyball game against another astromech droid. Whoever scores 5 points first wins. Press the A button to serve, Press the B button to jump, and use the control pad to move left and right.
Snowball Fight: You are on a snowy planet and must defend yourself in a snowball fight against your enemies. Press the A button to make a snowball (you can carry up to 3 at a time) and press Y to throw it.
Saberball: Simply putting it, the goal is to hit the ball and land in a certain area to get the max amount of points. Here you start by putting the stylus on a glowing circle and when the ball is pitched to you, slide the stylus up at the right time to hit it. While it's in the air, you can direct it by moving the stylus around on the touch screen.
Vulture Shootout: Similar to the flying missions. Just shoot as many Vulture droids as you can within the time limit.
So that's the game in a nutshell and while I do think it's a solid built game there are some problems with it. First of all, the game is actually really short. I've seen footage from the console versions of the game and it looked like there were a lot of levels (like 18 in total or something like that). Here, it's only 13 and the majority of them are from the 1st season of the The Clone Wars TV series. Only the last two levels were from Season 2. I mean, at the time this probably started being made, this series already was in the midst of its second season. Right now, a 4th season is on the way. For a game based off of a really huge TV series, there's not much use of some potentially awesome stories in the show. For example, the episode that introduces Cad Bane isn't in here. He's only an unlockable character. It would've also been cool to play through the movie that preceded this show too, but that's just my opinion.
The real reason why I say this game is really short is because it's actually really easy. It was really easy for me to get True Jedi status on the Story Mode on just the first run-through. Usually when you lose all of your health, you lose some of the studs you collected. Here, I can recall instances where that didn't even happen. One time even though I had died like three or four times in the last five minutes, I hadn't lost a single stud. It doesn't even happen during the flying stages. I guarantee you can breeze through this game pretty darn fast. Also, even with those minigames, they're kind of shallow in overall gameplay to be honest and won't keep you entertained for long after you beat the game and get every single collectible, item, and cheat.
My last two complaints are in regard to two aspects of the gameplay: The flying stages and the minigames that start when you activate either a droid, Sith, or Bounty Hunter panel. The flying stages were honestly really difficult to control at first. It really takes some getting used to. Also, I really got annoyed when a missile was coming at me and even though I was doing what the game was prompting me to do and evade it, I still got hit about 80% of the time. Finally, when it came to those panel minigames, they don't tell you how to do it. Sure, these aren't even hard but it would've been nice if I was given a quick set of instructions the first time you start them because you have to start these minigames ASAP or you could risk having to start over again.
But does that mean this game is bad? No, not at all. Like I said, I was a huge fan of LEGO Harry Potter for the DS and that allowed me to not get so mad over this game's faults. To be completely honest, that game was much better than this one because it was longer and just a bit harder. But this game still kept me entertained because it kept the same humor that this series has now become known for. There were even funny moments during gameplay itself, not just in the cutscenes. So, the console versions of this title are probably better than this one, but if you own a DS and you like these kinds of games, then I totally recommend this title.