Star Wars: Yoda Stories was a part of a Desktop Adventure series developed by LucasArt back in 1997. It was preceded by Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures and ended up being both the second and last game in the series—for, what I have discovered, was probably good reason. I used to play this game a lot as a child, but unlike other childhood computer games I had, I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed it all that much. Yoda Stories mostly appealed to me because it was Star Wars, and since I love Star Wars, I had to play it.
Since the new movie came out and got me all nostalgic for the original Star Wars, I decided to go back and revisit this game. I was about fifteen minutes into the first mission when I threw my hands up in the air and screamed, “screw it! I can do better.” Then I pulled out my original trilogy edition of Star Wars Monopoly—which somehow managed to have a playable figure of Leia, even though she’s a girl! What a shocker!—and played that instead. Because even playing fucking Monopoly is better than playing this video game.
It’s kind of hard to adequately describe the gameplay for Yoda Stories and what it is about without resorting to screaming the words “total garbage”, but I’ll do my best. Normally, I do like to explain the plot of the game at this point in the review, but Yoda Stories doesn’t seem to have a plot. The game takes place between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and consists of Yoda giving Luke random missions to Tattooine, Hoth, or Endor to go complete some arbitrary task. And that’s about it. Most of the missions are really dull. If I remember correctly, characters like Darth Vader, Jabba, Ghost Obi-Wan, and Carbonite Han show up on occasion, which I suppose could have been interesting, if everything else about the game wasn’t so mind-numbingly awful. Indiana Jones also shows up on a few missions, for… some reason. It’s not like any of Luke’s tasks are particularly compelling or that any of the characters have some vital role to play. Carbonite Han literally just sits in Jabba’s palace. If I remember correctly, Luke rescues him on one mission, but I don’t have enough shits to give in order to go back and actually replay it in order to find out.
Not only does Yoda Stories really lack any kind of plot, it also needs work on its character development—for a game that takes place right after Luke discovers his true parentage and is trying to come to terms with it, it doesn’t seem all that concerned with exploring his internal conflicts.
These are all unforgivable aspects about the game, but the badness doesn’t stop there. Remember the Pokémon Gameboy Color graphics? That’s more or less the design of Yoda Stories. Except, unlike Pokémon, Yoda Stories isn’t any fun at all. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of fun. It’s like a Dementor somehow possessed my computer and started sucking out my soul every second I was playing it. Not only do the graphics suck, the version of the game I found online recently somehow managed to have even worse graphics. Back in the 90s, I remember the game looking like this:
Now, it looks like this:
Okay, how? How exactly have the graphics gotten worse nearly twenty years later? Normally, the opposite happens. I’m sure there was a way I could find the original version and play that, but I honestly didn’t care enough. Regardless of the graphics, it’s not like the game is enjoyable anyway. The battle system is horrible—changing between weapons is a pain in the ass, and the random enemies move so quickly that it’s nearly impossible to hit any of them on purpose. There were a couple times I stood around swinging my lightsaber at an empty square, not hitting anything, and yet somehow I still managed to kill all the enemies out of my range. In other words, the battle system is so messed up, that fighting sometimes seems as though it’s based on nothing more than luck.
And, well, there’s really nothing more to say about this game other than that it sucks and you shouldn’t play it. If you want to check out a Star Wars game, pretty much any other game in this universe would be a better bet. I hear Force Unleashed, a game about Darth Vader’s Sith apprentice, is really good, though I haven’t played it myself. I also really liked Knights of the Old Republic, a game about my favorite Sith Darth Revan, when I played that. Although none of the games are actually considered canon anymore, pretty much any of them will be a better playthrough than Yoda Stories.