Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is a galaxy class effort on the DS. Sure, the game doesn't, indeed can't, compete with its console cousins in the looks department, but that hasn't stopped developer Traveller's Tales coming up with a technically accomplished Star Wars game that will be fun for sci-fi enthusiasts and platform fans alike.
It's soaked to the bone in charm. The Lego versions of the classic Star Wars characters, from a gold bikini-clad Princess Leia to the bumbling Lego Darth Vader, are sure to make you smile. Although the cut-scenes, which possibly suffer most from the DS's deficiencies, are choppy and look poorly done, you'll still smile purely because you're watching those classic Star Wars scenes in Lego-vision.
Everything is designed to suck you in. From the opening Mos Eisley Cantina hub, from which you can choose to play any of the six Star Wars films, the game wraps you in a sci-fi infused blanket, gives you a cup of warm milk and calmly strokes your hair. While gameplay itself is easy to pick up, it's also designed for gamers of all skill ranges - when you die you'll respawn straight away - no need to start levels again.
The controls are as basic as they get. The DS touch screen facility was obviously a Traveller's Tales afterthought during development. All you can do is use your thumb to slide the force from within a green box on the bottom screen. You'll quickly find using A instead is better. It's a shame given how well recent DS games like The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass use the quirky controls of the system.
The gameplay isn't massively varied, so it's a good thing most of the chapters are short and sweet - if they were any longer you'd probably get bored. In many ways this lends itself to handheld play - short, sharp bursts of fun. Whether you're tying an AT-AT in knots in a Snowspeeder or darting between asteroids in an X-Wing, the vehicle levels provide a welcome variance in play. For the DS game the vehicle levels have been converted into top-down 2D shoot-em-up levels, which look lovely, but suffer from the dead space between the two DS screens. But again, it's a good thing that they're short and sweet because they can get pretty tedious.
Apart from that TT has done a great job of recreating the console experience of the Complete Saga on the DS. The 3D graphics are great, with large, colourful sprites. There's absolutely tonnes of stuff to collect throughout the whole game, as there is with the console versions, and completists will definitely be happy with the amount of gaming time needed to get everything.
The music is a definite high point. The classic Star Wars score is fully recreated, with hugely satisfying Lightsaber humming and blaster fire. Because of the music it's sometimes easy to forget that you're playing a handlheld version of the game, so impressive is its recreation.
Multiplayer is good fun too, although it's disappointing that you can only play wirelessly if the other player has a copy of the game. But if you do get it up and running it's a solid experience.
If you've already got Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy you might be thinking, why should I get Complete Saga? Well you should, simply because it's infinitely better than the, frankly, broken, Original Trilogy DS game. Built from the ground up by a new developer, the DS has finally got a Lego Star Wars game to be proud of. Whether you're a Star Wars fanatic or DS owner looking for a polished, fun time, you could do a lot worse.