The idea is solid, but the implementation is harmful as the assist only kicks in half of the time and seemingly at varying degrees of strength. Sometimes, it just won't trigger at all, thereby demanding precision where previously the game has taught that none was required. The result is a sort of disorientating vagueness to the controls, a hazy difficulty that jars with the sparse, simplistic environments. Exacerbating the problem is the intermittent unresponsiveness, which sometimes outright ignore inputs or, at very least, delay them by enough milliseconds to cause a disconnect between player and avatar, not to mention a string of death leaps into empty space.
Throughout the game Yoda acts as your guide and mentor, explaining in rudimentary terms the controls and objectives in his characteristic back-to-front patois. In contrast to the Star Wars movies, which employed his unique patterns of speech sparingly, here every line is inverted, lessening the impact of the joke, such that it is. Elsewhere the game makes the most vanilla attempts at humour imaginable. "Nothing gets past me," says one droid, as you jump over the lift in which he's standing. While the Clone Wars universe is intentionally something of a pastiche of the 'grown up' Star Wars, these moments tip the game into awkward parody too often.
Republic Hero's economy is simple. Defeated enemies drop orbs that can be spent in the game's menu-accessed shop on hats and masks, as well as combat upgrades that extend, for example, the length of your combo cool-off period, droid-jack upgrades, droid dances and other more general cheats. The number of points you earn on a level is directly related to the medal rating you're awarded with at its conclusion, so there's a dual incentive to collect orbs. However, as every level has at least one area where enemies will spawn infinitely till you move on, the system is entirely broken. The impromptu 30-second challenges that can be triggered once or twice in each level provide yet more opportunity to mine an area for infinite orbs. In fact, it's theoretically possible to grind one location during the tutorial level to unlock everything in the game.
Each level has one or more artefacts to collect, indistinguishable trinket orbs usually found lying just off the beaten track. However, there's no way to tell which levels you've collected artefacts from without actually going into them, something that will infuriate completists. While there's no credit in artificially bulking out a game with endless collectibles, the lack of any compelling meta-game challenge is notable in comparison to LEGO Star Wars' red bricks, mini-models and other assorted treasures.
To simply state that Krome Studios should have worked harder to replicate Traveller's Tales various successes is perhaps to undermine what the LEGO developer has achieved. Good game design for children is difficult and demands not only diligence and inspiration at the planning stage, but also an awful lot of observation of how children react as they play. Right from first touch, it's clear that Republic Heroes hasn't undergone nearly enough of this sort of testing, and the uninspired foundations are further compromised as they are built upon. As a result, this is a product that will make children frustrated and unhappy, the very opposite of that to which Star Wars should aspire.
3 / 10