The long-forgotten The Quest For R2-D2 was a 12-month multimedia stealth onslaught devised by LEGO to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Star Wars theme that culminated in one of the most endearing LEGO Star Wars games to be made available (and free!).
The campaign began in January 2009 with a comic strip (under The Hunt For R2-D2 title) spread over six issues of the LEGO Club magazine and continued on the LEGO Star Wars microsite in March 2009 as an eight-part video comic strip, with one released each month. The undoubted star of the campaign was The Quest For R2-D2 mini-movie, which came out in August 2009.
The video game of the same name – which had been teased in May when LEGO uploaded a training level that teased that the game would be expanded further – was due to be released at the same time. However development issues meant that the game’s release had to be pushed back to September 2009.
A delayed LEGO Star Wars video game release? Inconceivable!
The game was a three-way collaboration between LEGO, Three Melons and Unity. Argentinian game development company Three Melons had a background in creating fun, highly polished web and smartphone games with a social component while Unity was recognized worldwide as the leading 3D browser-based gaming platform that offered developers and publishers a sophisticated engine to develop and publish online browser-based games.
Reviewers were very complimentary of the game being built using the Unity platform compared to the Flash games they were used to. Others were amazed to see such a quality game playable in a browser. One reviewer even rated it higher than the original LEGO Star Wars games. The cheats – which made the game slightly easier, look different or appear comical – were particularly well-received.
You’re playing a proper, gorgeous, detailed LEGO game in a browser, absolutely free of charge.Source: GameZebo
The game did have its faults though. Some reviewers were not happy with the game being single-player, whilst others struggled to actually play the game without crashing. The controls for the game also caused a few issues with most players having problems employing multi-key moves like the Force push. Perhaps worst of all, the game’s save function was highly problematic.
Though dated by today’s standards, this game is still a fun one to play through. The movements are fluid, and the controls are responsive. The simple gameplay is so smooth that you can simply enjoy playing the game without having to worry about anything going wrong.
For its day the graphics are truly astounding and do a great job of slotting in with the look and feel of the animated TV series. The game plays in 2.5D, but all of the graphics are rendered in full 3D making the minifigure characters, supporting cast members, environments and objects sufficiently complex enough to stand tall next to their more powerfully rendered LEGO Star Wars video gaming counterparts. The one aspect the game lacks, however, is the LEGO-ized play environment that the Tt Games made popular.
The music and special sound effects are excellent. Initially believed to be samples from the Lucasfilm sound archives they were in fact original pieces created by musicians and sound designers from Three Melons in Argentina.
If you are the typical The Holo-Brick Archives reader and played this game the first time it came out, you aren’t going to find it as taxing this time around and will probably complete the game without breaking a sweat. That said, the graphics and challenge of The Quest For R2-D2 would still appeal to the current generation of younger gamers.
In conclusion, The Quest for R2-D2 was an excellent game in 2009 and is still a very good game twelve years later.
Despite LEGO getting behind Unity, which they also used for LEGO Star Wars Battle Orders in 2012, the company hedged its bets by using Flash for LEGO Star Wars Ace Assault and Ace Assault II, both of which were released in the same year as The Quest For R2-D2.
Regardless of the fanfare The Quest For R2-D2 received when it launched, this was the only time the LEGO/Three Melon/Unity triumvirate would work together. Just six months later, Playdom purchased Three Melons and was itself acquired by The Walt Disney Company in July 2010. The Unity Web Player never managed to surpass Flash as the dominant platform and it was ultimately killed off by Google’s decision to drop support of such plug-ins in September 2015 with the release of the Blink 45 version of their Chrome browser.
As Disney effectively owns the remnants of Three Melons (and quite possibly the rights to the game) and the fact that both stakeholders can’t help but tinker with their properties, a future release would not be a shock. With the glitches fixed, and a port to iOS and Android this title would click into the current gaming landscape without much fuss.
With Unity no longer supported on most modern browsers, The Quest for R2-D2 game is officially dead. Thankfully, due to the efforts of a few clever people, the game can now be played. Stay tuned for the third part in our The Quest For R2-D2 series if you want to find out all you need to know to play this long-lost LEGO Star Wars game.
Guest contributor Russ Dawson – having been a one of the co-founders of The Emulator Strikes Back – has been a mainstay of the retro Star Wars video gaming scene for over 20 years, and his abiity to track down old computer and console titles and get them working again is legendary.
Fervent documentarian, effusive AFOL and founding partner, Jeremy manages the daily news content and set reviews.
Having enjoyed playing with LEGO from his earliest years, Jeremy started collecting LEGO Star Wars in 1999 when the theme was first released. He has shared his thoughts and opinions on LEGO via a number of websites – including starwars.com, rebelscum.com and brickset.com – contributed to the LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary series and served the LEGO Ambassador Network as a Recognised LEGO Fan Media representative.