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The Best Darth Maul Is LEGO Darth Maul

PlayStation Plus just added one of the best Star Wars games ever made.

The box art for Lego Star Wars II
Traveller's Tales
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The LEGO games are unavoidable hits. Few series not produced by Nintendo have been as reliable at providing a family-friendly experience deep enough for kids and parents to enjoy all the same. And LEGO’s reliance on recreating some of pop culture’s most enduring movies and TV shows has meant a game for every kind of gamer.

While LEGO Star Wars games have seen quite a bit of evolution over the years, there’s something still so fun about the more focused, level-based games released early on in the series. Now, the best game in the classic LEGO style — LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy — finally available on PlayStation Plus.

Long before Indiana Jones, Batman, and Harry Potter got brick-filled platforming collectathons of their own, Star Wars established the tried and true formula. The first-ever LEGO game, 2005’s LEGO Star Wars, was a fun retelling of the divisive prequel trilogy and a surprise critical hit thanks to its robust replay value. The following year, LEGO Star Wars II expanded on the first game to perfection, adding new vehicle sections, a wacky character creator that felt true to the LEGO conceit, and even more unlockables and Easter eggs for Star Wars nerd to enjoy.

The second game in the LEGO Star Wars series adds flyable spaceships like the X-Wing.

Traveller's Tales

Though the first game made light of the operatic drama of George Lucas’ prequels, LEGO Star Wars was released right at the new trilogy’s conclusion. With LEGO Star Wars II, developer Traveller’s Tales had the luxury of poking fun at 40-year-old movies full of iconic scenes and moments that truly bridge the generational gap.

While later LEGO games feature voice acting or clips from the movies they’re based on, the early ones were like silent short films, with mini-fig versions of beloved characters pantomiming key moments in the franchise. I’ve always felt the LEGO games were at their best when they weren’t full of dialogue ripped straight from the movies, and LEGO Star Wars II is a large part of this preference. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen LEGO Darth Vader reveal his relationship to LEGO Luke. Tonally, LEGO Star Wars II is a cross between Spaceballs, The Muppets and Looney Tunes — a novel way to relive these classic films.

Darth Maul is still pretty intimidating as a LEGO figure.

Traveller's Tales

In the gameplay department, LEGO Star Wars II is exactly what you’d expect from a LEGO game. Players blast, bash, and hop their way through levels based on scenes from the movies, collecting LEGO studs and secret items like Gold bricks, and uncovering hidden parts of the game’s levels.

The sequel adds vehicles like land speeders, X-Wings, and AT-AT walkers that break up the combat and level exploration. With over 68 playable characters to unlock, many of the weird little guys you can spot in the background of those original movies show up here as playable characters. Players can also create weird amalgamations of their favorite Star Wars mini-figs thanks to the ability to mix and match the heads, bodies, legs, and weapons of unlocked characters in the hub world's Bacta Tank. Want Greedo’s head on Chewbacca’s torso with Darth Vader’s legs and lightsaber? This game not only allows you to do just that, but it also lets you take down the Empire as this odd LEGO freak.

The elephant in the room regarding LEGO Star Wars II is developer Traveller’s Tales releasing a definitive Star Wars experience in 2022. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is an excellent game in its own right, adding deeper combat, more vehicles, and of course access to 45 levels spanning nine films. But there’s something refreshing about the simplicity of the original LEGO games. They’re perfect for turning off your brain, grabbing a friend, and blasting through levels without much friction. The more casual design of LEGO Star Wars II also makes it easier for onboarding kids and less overwhelming for non-gamers in your life charmed by the game’s cute art style.

In the era of massive games that take dozens of hours to beat, going back LEGO Star Wars II is a welcome, fun, and approachable alternative to the open-world LEGO games of today, especially as part of PlayStation Plus’ free library of games. LEGO Star Wars II is a throwback to a simpler time in the LEGO lineage but is every bit as fun as it was nearly two decades ago.

LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy is available now on PlayStation+ for PS4 and PS5.

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