There has been a lot of Star Wars merchandise since the debut of the original Star Wars, later renamed Episode IV: A New Hope. Everything from toys, shirts, novelty toilet paper, and probably even sex toys have carried the name of the movie set a long, long time ago. Among the deluge of (mostly) crap are video games.
Star Wars is no stranger to video games, though it’s certainly more familiar with the crap side of gaming. For everyone one good game in the series, there are three mediocre or terrible ones that go alongside it. We all know and love Knights of the Old Republic, but how many of you remember Jedi Arena or Masters of Teräs Käsi. It’s probably for the best if you don’t remember or know of those two actually.
Nowadays it doesn’t matter. With Disney’s purchase of all things Star Wars, they’ve declared that everything outside of the main films up to the time of their purchase is no longer canon. Longtime fans of the epic sci-fi space opera can breathe a sigh of relief that none of these games on this list count for anything anymore.
15 Angry Birds Star Wars
Angry Birds Star Wars isn’t a bad game simply because it’s an Angry Birds game or because its little more than a cheap cash grab. It’s a bad game because it’s a bad game and because its little more than a cheap cash grab. Okay, ignore that first sentence actually.
Angry Birds Star Wars is little more than a combination of the original Angry Birds and its sequel, Angry Birds Space. It has levels that take place on regular planets, and in deep space, with some of the birds wearing Star Wars clothing and an occasional lightsaber just for funsies. Otherwise, it’s the same, bogs-standard generic puzzle game centered around wonky physics.
Something about this title really brings back memories of the boom in crappy Star Wars merchandise during the 9os and early 2000s, when George Lucas would slap the Star Wars brand on literally everything. Maybe because Angry Birds is popular despite not being very good or because this game was ported to everything with a CPU.
14 Battlefront (2015 Reboot)
The original Star Wars Battlefront and its sequel are two of the best Star Wars games ever made. That’s why it hurt so much when Disney announced they signed a deal with EA to allow them exclusive rights to Star Wars video games. EA has a reputation for making generic games at best and filling them with exclusive pre-order bonuses, overpriced DLC, and stripped down mechanics at worst.
Such was the case with their Battlefront reboot in 2015. The game released with no single player mode whatsoever and launched with only the basic multiplayer modes. It took a year of DLC and patches (some free, some had to be paid for) before the game was dubbed “feature complete,” but even then, the game had only a fraction of what the original series had.
EA’s Battlefront isn’t a terrible game on its own, but it certainly earned a spot on this list on principle alone. EA has vowed to do better with Battlefront 2, but we’ll believe it when we see.
13 Star Wars: Demolition
Star Wars: Demolition is what happens when one popular franchise tries to ape another, in this case Twisted Metal. At the time, Twisted Metal was the hottest thing and everyone wanted a piece of that action, including LucasArts. Taking the popular vehicle combat formula, developer Luxoflux simply put a coat of Star Wars paint over their own Twisted Metal rip-off series, Vigilante 8.
The fun from Twisted Metal came from ramming cars together at high speeds and the plethora of weapons. Demolition missed this point, though part of that is due to the vehicles in the Star Wars universe. It’s just not fun crashing a floating speeder into a giant AT-AT, certainly not as satisfying as crashing two high speed cars into one another. There weren’t that many weapons though and that can certainly be blamed on the developers. You have a standard laser weapon and only four other unlockable weapons, same for every vehicle.
It all comes down to there just not being much to see or do. You play one or two levels, mess around with one or two vehicles, and you’ve pretty much experienced the whole game. Vehicle combat can be fun in a Star Wars game, but it needs some effort put into it first.
12 Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles
It probably won’t come as much of a surprise that many games on this list are going to be mobile games. Most mobile games are just terrible and Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles is one such example. Based on a short TV series of the same name, The Yoda Chronicles follows… nothing, really. It uses clips from the show, but they’re too short and are usually out of context.
Whereas the TV show follows Yoda, the game allows you to play either a random Jedi or a random Sith Lord. This leaves the story at a loss, unable to tell an interesting or even coherent tale because it doesn’t know which side the player will pick and the developers clearly didn’t have enough time to make two parallel stories. You can’t blame them, because again, the game has nothing to do with the TV show.
But the real kicker is the terrible gameplay. It tries to be an action-strategy game, but the strategy elements are completely unnecessary and the action barely works thanks to the touchscreen controls. You can’t control the camera so you can’t see what’s going on, you’ll spend most of your time sending your allies around the map in circles, and the difficulty is all over the place. There are better Lego Star Wars games and there even better mobile Star Wars games than this.
11 Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Republic Heroes
Developer Krome Studios really dropped the ball with this Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series tie-in game. All they really had to do was take the art style and storylines from the show and put it in a fairly standard action game, and it would have at least been decent. Instead, they tried something different. Give them credit for that at least, because they don’t deserve any with anything else here.
Krome tried to go the Ratchet & Clank route, mixing frenetic combat with 3D platforming, and boy did they ever fail. The camera angles set you up to fail and most jumps are either too far or too high. There’s an auto-landing system, probably designed to compensating for the floaty jumping mechanics, but more often than not, this “helpful” feature will send you cascading off a platform to your death.
Beyond that there are the other basic problems, like repetitive enemies, dull combat, and a tutorial system that never turns off throughout the game, in the form of Yoda constantly jabbering at you to do things you’re currently doing. May the force be with you, indeed.
10 Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
The Rogue Squadron series by Factor 5 was a beloved franchise for its arcade flight combat. Factor 5 must have taken inspiration from Star Fox Adventures. The Star Fox series was known for its arcade flying combat, but with Adventures, they randomly forced the player out of their plane to partake in terrible missions on foot. Rebel Strike did the same thing, except even worse.
Many of these on foot levels saw you armed with nothing more than a blaster pistol. The camera was at a fixed angle and, more often than not, you’d find yourself walking off the side of the screen before the camera could catch up to you. It was impossible to aim as well, meaning you had to rely on the broken auto-aim system that prioritized random enemies miles away instead of ones near you.
What sealed the game’s fate as terrible however were the usually great flying levels, which controlled like crap. As a result, Rogue Squadron III would be Factor 5’s last Star Wars game and their penultimate game before closing their doors for good.
9 Star Wars: Obi-Wan
Poor Obi-Wan Kenobi can never seem to catch a break. Either he dies early on, gets a terrible movie franchise, or indeed a terrible video game. Maybe it’s just him.
The game is shot in the foot right out of the gate by taking place before the awful prequel series. What’s more, the game’s combat system wasn’t well implemented. Released on the Xbox in only its second month, this was during a time when developers didn’t really know what to do with the second analog stick. For Obi-Wan, that second stick was used to perform all the attacks, flicking it around in the direction you wanted to swing your lightsaber.
This mean combat was incredible loose and felt inaccurate. You sometimes couldn’t get the kind of attack you wanted, as more often than not you ended up rotating the analog stick at random. This also meant the camera had to be controlled automatically. It wasn’t up to the job though, as more often than not it would get stuck behind the scenery or even enemies. Aside from that, levels were big but empty, the whole game was just about mowing threw wave after wave of enemies, and the graphics were terrible even at the time.
8 Star Wars: Flight of the Falcon
Flight of the Falcon’s defining feature is also what makes it truly terrible. Somebody, bless them, thought it would be a good idea to make a full 3D game on the Game Boy Advance. It wasn’t the first or last 3D game on Nintendo’s handheld, but like a vast majority of them, the limited capabilities of the GBA rendered the game virtually unplayable.
As the title implies, you control the Millennium Falcon over the course of the original trilogy, in levels that playout like Star Fox. Unlike Star Fox though, the levels are completely bland. Most of the levels are set in the black void of space and you simply move up and down to shoot middling enemies. The levels are long, too long for a game that features almost no gameplay.
In a lot of ways, Flight of the Falcon feels like a Tiger Handheld Electronics game, only slightly better looking. But those ever so slightly improved graphics come at a cost, mainly with the framerate. Have any more than a couple of enemies on screen at one time and the game chugs to possibly negative numbers on the FPS count.
7 Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi
The late 90s and early 2000s were a time when LucasArts was desperately trying to ape popular games at the time in an effort to stay relevant. Like with Demolition, Masters of Teräs Käsi was itself one of these rip-offs, this time of the fighting game genre, especially Tekken 3, which came out in Japanese arcades in the same year.
Masters of Teräs Käsi embodies every terrible fighting game trope you can think of. It has a terrible, poorly conceived story that desperately tries to explain why a bunch of Star Wars characters are fighting one on one and it has terrible fighting mechanics.
The fighting is poorly balanced. The characters jerk around the screen like its stop motion, making actually offensive or defensive maneuvering difficult. It also suffers slowdowns on a constant basis. The characters with force powers (i.e. Luke and Vader) are vastly more powerful than anyone else in the game and you can camp on one side of the screen and beat anyone just using those powers. It makes sense in cannon, sure, but it makes for a terrible fighting game.
6 Star Wars: Yoda Stories
What if I told you a game called Star Wars: Yoda Stories had almost nothing to do with Yoda? At this point, you probably would believe me and you’d be right for doing so. In Yoda Stories, you play as Luke Skywalker and only once in a blue moon do you ever talk with Yoda and, even then, it’s just so he can give you a quest.
Released in 1997, Yoda Stories was an odd mash-up of a kids learning game and an RPG similar to Ultima, if Ultima was as bland as a saltine cracker without any salt. As Luke, you walk around big, open worlds trying to complete a variety of objectives. However, these worlds are practically empty, as there are few enemies and nothing to do other than look for the objective. That’s right, the game doesn’t tell you where the objectives are, you have to either stumble into them or find a map that tells you were to go. Needless to say this gets old, fast.
The game is also played in a tiny window, with half of the screen being taken up by generic system fonts and menus displaying your inventory. To call Yoda Stories an ugly game would be doing a disservice to Flight of the Falcon and Obi-Wan.
5 Star Wars Episode I: Racer (GBC Version)
The console and PC version of Episode I: Racer was a competent racing game. Unfortunately, that competency was lost in translation when it came to the Game Boy Color port. Just like with Flight of the Falcon, the system’s hardware was just too much of a limiting factor.
Rather than go for 3D graphics like Flight, Episode I: Racer instead moved the camera to an overhead perspective. The camera was also placed really near to your vehicle as well. Because of this, it was almost impossible to figure out where you were supposed to go, as you could see any twists, turns, or fellow racers ahead of you until you had already gone off course or crashed into them.
The game tried to get around this by place big arrows on the top of the screen telling you where to go before the turns and other obstacles came up, but it was no substitute for actually being able to see. It’s not so bad though, because most of the time the one opponent you’re racing against sucks just as much as you do and the game is so slow you’ll end up winning more often than not.
4 Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (DS Version)
The standard console version of The Force Unleashed II was already a mediocre game at best, but when it came to the Nintendo DS port, it got really out of hand.
For some reason, the developer thought it would be a good idea to have almost all of the controls on the touchscreen. You move the character around with the D-pad, but all forms of attack come from either pressing or swiping the DS screen with the stylus, as if it were a mobile phone game. The game also stripped away most of the gameplay elements of the console version, leaving you with little more to do than endlessly swipe away at the screen, killing hundreds of enemies that pose no threat to you.
Like many games on this list, it was ugly even for its time. It was released in 2010 on the DS, but looked like one of those terrible 3D Game Boy Advance games mentioned earlier. The Force Unleashed II would be the last Star Wars game developed by LucasArts before the studio was sold to Disney, who in turn shut them down. Not how you want to go out.
3 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
I don’t like Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like its video game adaptation. Actually, it’s way worse, not soft or smooth at all. Forget I said that, let’s kiss now.
What happens when you make a video game adaptation of a terrible movie on a handheld? You get Episode II: Attack of the Clones on the Game Boy Advance of course, which received a 2.2 out of 10 from Electronic Gaming Monthly and a 1 out of 10 from Game Informer. The critics noted the simplistic difficult, the terrible controls, the ugly graphics, terrible camera, boring level design, and a pathetically dated password save system, but don’t take my word for it.
“The graphics have a certain flair to them, the likes of which you’d see oozing out of a defective bar toilet,” Game Informer noted. “Call this the most worthless thing associated with George Lucas since Jar Jar Binks.”
2 Star Wars: Jedi Arena
It’s hard to call Jedi Arena a Star Wars game at all. It looks like a bunch of multi-colored squares are randomly being waved back and forth in a white circle while another square randomly flies around. In fact, that’s exactly what’s happening. There’s no rhyme or reason to anything on screen.
As you may have guessed, those to stick things waving back and forth are supposed to be lightsabers. You play as Luke in some kind of arena on a training exercise trying to learn how to use the lightsaber, somehow. Really, the game amounts to nothing more than waggling the joystick left to right and hoping you score points. There is no winner in this game.
You might be tempted to forgive it since it’s on the Atari 2600, what else could they do? A lot, as it turns out. Another game on the system, simply titled Star Wars, is vastly superior. Sure it’s literally just the Atari 2600 version of defender with Star Wars sprites, but it goes to show what could be achieved on the system.
1 Kinect Star Wars
Does this come as a surprise to anyone? Developed exclusively for the Xbox 360’s motion sensing camera the Kinect, Kinect Star Wars allowed the player to wildly thrash around their living rooms and fool themselves into thinking they were doing Star Wars stuff or something. In reality, the handful of mini-games were almost all terrible and unrelated to Star Wars, and they barely worked.
The Kinect just didn’t work the way it was pitched and neither did Kinect Star Wars. You’d have to use totally exaggerated and slow movements for it to register what you were doing. Meanwhile, the gameplay modes themselves were lacking. Jedi Destiny had you trying and failing to play a jedi, attacking and blocking with a lightsaber. The pod racing made some players feel sick, and the dancing game was repetitive and a complete joke anyway.
In a lot of ways, Kinect Star Wars was the final nail in the coffin for Lucas and Star Wars. It was clear that man and the studio were truly out of ideas, and if the franchise was going to carry on in a meaningful way, the property had to be sold and that’s exactly what happened.