To be fair, with regards to the Star Wars universe on the big screen, the Mandalorian did breathe some life back into the live-action side of the franchise. And, while many may not be fans of the cinematic universe, the gaming side of Star Wars has historically managed to keep the spirit of the universe alive and well.
Star Wars: Squadrons, for example, is one of the best gaming titles released that features the Star Wars universe – even though it’s basically a modern version of the X-Wing and Tie Fighter titles from the 90s. There are more, too, that equally let the player immerse themselves into the Star Wars lore, taking on the role of the Jedi and rebellion, or fighting with the Sith and the Empire. Most of these titles are for the consoles and PC platforms, though. What we want is to take our Star Wars on the go. Here, then, are some of our favourite mobile Star Wars gaming titles.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
While the first of the new trio of Star Wars films may have been a rehash of the original A New Hope, it did rekindle a love for the series – beyond the nightmarish middle trio of films. Stepping up to take on the gaming side of the newer trio is the ever-amazing LEGO gaming brand.
There’s not much that LEGO hasn’t turned its hand to – although we’re still waiting for a LEGO Star Trek game – and although the formula for LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is similar to that of the previous LEGO gaming titles (such as Harry Potter, Avengers and so on), in that there’s the story to follow, and along the way you get to unlock new characters, vehicles etc. while utilising different abilities of each playable unit to reveal hidden areas and objects.
The first three levels are free, then you’ll need to pay to unlock the rest. At least you can test play it for a while before deciding to buy it or not. Either way, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently one of the best Star Wars universe mobile gaming titles to play.
Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner
This ain’t like dusting crops! Do you remember Star Wars before it became the vacuous, merchandise-vomiting marketing Blitzkrieg that it is today? There was a time when the opening strains of John Williams epic theme tune made the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and every boy in the land wanted to be Han Solo. Now the iPad delivers the most compelling Star Wars video game experience since Rogue Leader blasted onto the GameCube more than 10 years ago.
Falcon Gunner doesn’t have the depth of Knights of the Old Republic (more on that very soon!), hundreds of playable characters like Lego Star Wars or an original story like The Force Unleashed. What it does is sit you in the gun turret of the Millennium Falcon and throw wave after wave of TIE Fighters at you, and it’s brilliant. You don’t pilot the Falcon as such but you can tilt the iPad left and right to rotate the view and up and down to change pitch. In Addition a thumbstick on the left enables you to aim your laser cannons anywhere on the screen and the fire button is on the right. Keep the fire button pressed for too long and your guns will overheat, so you need to keep an eye on the temperature bar. As you progress missions get more challenging and there are upgrades to buy with credits earned.
The best feature is the AR mode. Turning this on removes the spacescape background and engages the iPad’s camera so you see the room “through” your iPad as if from the Falcon’s turret and it’s as though TIE Fighters are whizzing around in the room with you! This mode also engages 360-degree control. This is best experienced in a swivel chair. Hold the iPad in front of you and swivel in the chair to rotate the view. It’s quite simply some of the best fun you can have on your device. With headphones plugged in and the volume turned up you’ll actually believe you’re shooting down TIE Fighters in your own living room! To try it is to love it!
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Faithfully based on the classic 2003 Xbox game Knights of the Old Republic is set roughly 4,000 years before the original Star Wars trilogy, and you control a unique character caught in the middle of the galactic civil war between the Republic and the Sith. Much like BioWare’s Mass Effect, Knights of the Old Republic focuses greatly on the RPG element; for example, selecting specific answers (good or bad) when speaking to characters, you can gravitate towards either the light or dark side of the Force depending on your preference. You will have to diplomatically resolve disputes, solve murders, and side with certain characters; and your answers and the actions taken in the game will determine your destiny! The choice is yours. This means that there are two completely different ways to play the game, which makes its longevity exceptional, and well worth the asking price. The game is controlled using a variety of on-screen commands, and your character’s movement is controlled with a touch screen or bluetooth joystick. All combat revolves around real-time strategy turn-based attacks, much like Final Fantasy games.
Action is paused when you enter a battle, allowing you to order your three party members to attack the enemy using a combination of tactical moves. You’ll also have to navigate the pull-up menu to switch between your nine available party members in order to heal, throw grenades, and use Force Powers to survive. All of this is done with simple tap and swipe gestures. You can completely customise your party of nine including Twi’leks, Droids, and Wookies; as well customising your very own Lightsabers; and mastering over 40 unique Force Powers! Upgrading your characters is key. Visually, the game looks really impressive capturing the retro appeal of the original with a fresh coat of contemporary gloss. Each character has their own appearance and personality; the expansive levels are detailed and vivid in colour; and the flash of a Lightsaber will have you smiling every time. This goes for the sound effects also, from the sound of Blasters blasting and Lightsabers clashing, to the iconic Star Wars theme tune. There are many main quests to complete as you travel through eight iconic Star Wars locations in your very own Starship, such as Tatooine and Kashyyyk; as well as hundreds of side quests; and a variety of characters to interact with in order to uncover the detailed plot, which is full of surprises and twists and turns throughout. This is truly an amazing game, and in our opinion, one of the greatest action-RPG games of all time.
Angry Birds Star Wars HD
The mind-boggling success of Angry Birds is in direct contrast to the complexity of the game. Commendably though Rovio hasn’t rested on its laurels after milking the original concept for all it was worth. Angry Birds Space threw a significant new element into the mix and Bad Piggies was one of the most original and fun puzzle games of recent times. At first glance though you might not hold out too much hope for a collaboration between two of the biggest cash cows in the world at the moment. How could Star Wars and Angry Birds possible mesh together in a way that would be satisfying to fans of either franchise? Well you can put your fears to bed because, against all the odds, Angry Birds Star Wars is an excellent game. In Fact it’s the best Angry Birds game to date by some distance. Playing as the good guys, the core mechanic of firing your birds with just the right amount of power at the optimal trajectory remains. However now the birds have been revamped as feathery representations of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and the rest of the familiar cast. Likewise the piggies are now clad in curiously porcine stormtrooper outfits to amusing effect.
The interplanetary element of Angry Birds Space obviously lends itself well to the Star Wars theme and the gravity idea is put to good use here. The unique element of Angry Birds Star Wars though is that your characters have their own special skills. Han Solo has a blast that he can use to shoot out obstacles, Luke Skywalker has a lightsaber and so on. This adds a whole new dimension to the gameplay. No longer is it a case of fire and hope for the best. Now you can activate and aim your character’s special ability in flight to your advantage. The result is that Angry Birds Star Wars feels like less of an exercise in trial and error and more like a game of skill than any version before it. A surprisingly excellent use of the Star Wars license!
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes is the latest mobile developed. Launched originally in 2015, and regularly updated since, the game is a turn-based RPG, gacha-style mashup of all your favourite, and beloved Star Wars characters and vehicles. Rather than the usual format of turn-based RPG games, where you follow some quest to do something or other, Galaxy of Heroes instead has you gaming on Holo-Tables in a cantina. There are numerous campaigns available, depending on the table you’re going to play at, such as Light Side Battles, Dark Side Battles, Cantina Battles, Galactic War and more, alongside a PvP Squad Arena battle. There are also guilds, challenges, events, and championships. In-game currency is spread across Crystals and Shards, which can be unlocked daily, and bought for with real-world money.
Overall, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, while an okay turn-based RPG with some unique elements, doesn’t quite hit the mark. It’s probably better than most of the other Star Wars mobile efforts, but it falls decidedly short compared to the other Star Wars gaming titles on other platforms. Fans of the universe will probably love it, but if you’re a casual gamer, and not too fussed about Star Wars, there are better turn-based RPGs available.
Star War Pinball 7
Hands up those of you who remember Spidersoft’s Pinball Dreams, for MSDOS back in 1992? Or even Epic Pinball in 1993 by Digital Extremes? Those were great digital pinball games, that, although weren’t anywhere close to having an original table in front of you, did give you the feeling of playing the silver ball. Enter Star Wars Pinball 7 (we didn’t realise there six previous versions?), where you can choose to play for either the Empire or the Rebel Alliance. The only free table available is the Empire Strikes Back themed, but there are up to nineteen available tables on offer from £1.50 onward.
Is it any good, though? Well, to be fair, it’s not too bad. True playing it on a mobile device doesn’t quite have the kind of feedback you’d experience when at a real table – which is obvious really – and although the aforementioned retro pinball gaming classics lacked that too, they did manage to achieve a kind of digital feedback that was more heard than felt. The mobile version doesn’t seem to manage this, sadly. We think a little extra pounding bass in the right place might have done the job, but then most mobile speakers aren’t up to the job. However, that being said, Star Wars Pinball 7 is good fun. One to enjoy during the tedious rigours of the daily commute, perhaps.
What’s your favourite Star Wars game ever, let us know in the comments below…