Published on May 13th, 2014 | by Jen Schiller0
LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles
The LEGO video games have impressed me for years without exception—until now. As time passed the games have become less buggy, more complex, and easier to play in co-op modes. Unfortunately, The Yoda Chronicles feels like a game from A Long Time Ago and a galaxy where LEGO games haven’t evolved at all. The Yoda Chronicles has two modes of play—Jedi and Sith. I would love to tell you the actual storyline, but the cut scenes kept either crashing the phone or going on so long that the screen shut down. I had to restart the game and skip the cut scenes in order to get anywhere—which is disappointing because of the ever-present sense of humor in LEGO titles. As far as I can tell, the stories differ only in name. In both modes, you start on Courscant. Both modes have the same maps, the same challenges; the same level design from top to bottom. In both you begin as a trainee (either a Padawan or a Young Sith). Yoda trains his Padawan (you) by having you escort Obi-Wan and R2 to Admiral Ackbar. Dooku has his Young Sith (also you) guide some battle droids to General Grievous. The cut scenes between levels are shorter than between planets, but (surprise) they don’t change based on your affiliation. As you move on, you go to different planets, but every level plays virtually the same. Your goal is to literally follow whatever your trainer tells you do to, over and over again. It gets repetitive very quickly, and the story is so vague that it adds nothing to the game.
In other LEGO titles, when you switch from one team to another, the game changes along with you. LEGO Batman allows you to play as a hero or a villain, and while level maps remain the same, your objectives shift. You can access new areas of the levels that were locked to the heroes. Villains have different powers, team up in different ways and can even play different puzzles. In The Yoda Chronicles, however, there is no such variety. The gameplay itself is annoyingly slow. You start off in a giant walker, taking one looming step after another. There’s no maneuverability, no building structures, nothing to do but blast away at heaps of loose LEGO pieces, which result in studs that you collect. The studs are used at satellite stations, which allow you to change your armor or troopers. There are only one or two satellites spaced throughout the level…and if you lose your troopers or whatever, the LEGO heaps don’t regenerate, and you can’t collect extra studs.
Some of these problems might be solved with the codes that make the game easier or harder (apparently)…but they are long, (Y07C04) making them hard to remember, and they only pop up every now and again during load screens. I eventually found the place to plug in the codes…but it was hard to keep track of which code did what without writing it all down. How hard would it have been to allow players to choose their difficulty at the beginning of the game, or each planet, or each level? This is a major oversight, especially for a game that is primarily played by kids who will inevitably be playing at different ability levels. Not to mention, nothing is actually labelled on the menu screen, so good luck figuring out what all of it does. Another missing element is the “bonus levels”. They exist, but you have to go to LEGO.com/starwars to play them, and sign up for a LEGO ID account to connect your app info. Out of curiosity, I tried this. And for some reason, it wouldn’t let me choose my birthday. So the LEGO ID didn’t even end up working for me. That’s an awful lot of effort for bonus levels to a game I don’t even enjoy playing. There is a “mini mission” mode to play, but it is literally just either Yoda and Mace Windu or Dooku and Grievous fighting off enemies and earning higher ranks based on how many you take down. It took me a while of clicking around randomly to even realize I could play “mini missions” because level A is only accessible with a LEGO ID. The Yoda Chronicles could have been another adorable and exciting installment in the growing LEGO video game family. But somehow it was the opposite of nearly every expectation I had for it. And so, my recommendation for the Yoda Chronicles…is to move along.