Lego Star Wars Boost: Droid Commander could be the coding robot set you're looking for

R2, Gonk and an Imperial Mouse -- but where are C-3PO and BB-8?

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
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Scott Stein
2 min read

If you love putting together Lego robots, and you love Star Wars ... you're in luck. Lego's new set seems like the ideal gift for the droid-lovers in your life.

Lego Star Wars Boost: Droid Commander is a semisequel to Lego's excellent 2017 robotics coding kit, Lego Boost. Boost brilliantly combined bricks into programmable guitars, cars and even a cat. The same team behind Boost created Droid Commander, a kit using Boost's internal robotics hub and sensors, but with bricks to make Star Wars droids. Carl Thomas Merriam, product lead designer, and Steve Geist, digital product lead designer for both Lego Boost and Droid Commander, talked about what's new and what's changed.

One good thing this time: You don't have to destroy your droids. The 2017 Lego Boost recycled its pieces, so new projects meant dismantling old ones. "Kids put things together, but don't want to take apart their friends," Merriam admits. The Boost hardware can now be swapped between all three Lego droid models. Merriam and Geist relate it to how Nintendo Labo allows players to move the Nintendo Switch components to new cardboard creations.


Programming in Scratch, just like the first Boost set (but with more Star Wars stuff).


R2-D2 looks like the star of the show. It's like Lego's version of the now-gone Sphero R2-D2. The old-school Gonk (which has boxing arms and buzzsaw attachments now, apparently) and classic scooting Mouse droid (MSE-6) may not be everyone's most-wanted droids, but they look cool.

The Lego Star Wars Boost: Droid Commander kit has 1,177 pieces, and the companion app for iOS, Android and Amazon Fire has a Lego Star Wars-type game that has challenges to play along with. It uses the three droids in five original-trilogy locations: Tatooine, Bespin, Alderaan, the Death Star and Hoth (no Rise of the Skywalker content, as far as we know right now). There's an included bag of pieces to make accessory props that control some of the app games, like a computer interface that R2-D2 uses to fly an X-wing. The new kit also has digital in-app building instructions, similar to Nintendo Labo.

There's a storyline that flows through the whole game, with expectedly weird Lego-style plots (you're planning a birthday party for Grand Moff Tarkin in one part).

Watch this: Lego's weirdest new robots are heading to schools

Like the first Boost kit, or the new education-targeted Spike Prime, the robots can be programmed using Scratch in the app, and audio effects can be remapped from a catalog of actual Star Wars droid sounds. The new Droid Commander set also works with the original Lego Boost app, provided you're fine with finding extra pieces for new projects.

Why no C-3PO or BB-8 , though? "You never know," Merriam and Geist say. "We don't even know!"

Lego Star Wars Boost: Droid Commander arrives Sept. 1. Pricing is TBA.