LEGO Star Wars: TFA Review

LEGO Star Wars: TFA Review

Aug 18, 2016

Two things I hold dear: Star Wars and LEGOs. The former opened a world of imagination, and the latter gave me the tools to physically build it.

The continual amalgam of virtual LEGO characters and major franchises is almost always welcome, as is the new LEGO Star Wars: TFA, based off the latest Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens.

As with most LEGO-themed games, this one relies somewhat on the relevant source material to cobble together an adventure that encompasses more than one movie period. The imagery is quite LEGO-ey, with adjusted looks and interesting constructions. The animations are quite smooth, and the game does an engaging job of creating several different type of playing environments with the same template. It looks fun, relives the movies and pops visually.

Controls-wise, a simple gesture system makes things happen; a big part of the game is exploration and interaction. There are a lot of things to research, and this allows the game to take on a bit of an adventure path. Beyond the crafting aspect, one sees opportunities to battle enemies.


If getting involved with movie characters is one’s thing, this game shouldn’t disappoint; starting with Poe, there are quite a few to invest in. I found the different type of fighting enjoyable. Dogfighting, gun battles and the like. Interestingly, there are new fighting mechanics included that further set this iteration apart from early stablemates.

All content isn’t available for free though; a paid All Season Pass unlocks everything, plus feature additions. The game is Family Library-eligible.

All in all, it should be a visual feast — even for folks who are used to LEGO entries. It doesn’t try to match the movie plot point for plot point, and I think that serves it well. It stands on its own, and that’s all someone can ask for.

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga

May 31, 2016

I’ve played plenty of Lego games in my time. From Hobbits to Batmen, I’ve enjoyed the platforming fun they provide and appreciated the humour they manage to cram into their levels and their cut-scenes. I’ve never, however, played one of these games on a touchscreen mobile device.

So it took me no time to decide that I wanted to get my hands on LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. It’s essentially an action platformer set in the first 6 episodes of the Star Wars. Whilst some Star Wars fans will want to deny all existence of the prequels, fans of Luke Skywalker and Jar Jar Binks alike will have something to look forward to.sw2

The game itself is fairly straightforward. As it’s an action platformer you’re required to make your way through the levels, jumping from ledge to ledge and taking on all manner of enemies. Where it gets interesting is the way the LEGO license is used, as some puzzles within levels can only be completed by putting together LEGO bricks to make bridges and all manner of level-specific objects.

What’s amazing is the sheer amount of content that’s on offer. Each film, of which there are 6, is made up of multiple levels. Each level has multiple cut-scenes, all of which are full of humour and sure to delight kids both young and old. All of your favourite characters are playable (as well as some of the more obscure ones) and they all have different skills which means replaying levels is well worth doing. C3PO, for example, can’t run or jump but he can access control terminals which will unlock areas otherwise impossible to get to.

The only issue I encountered is the controls. This is a platforming game and as such it requires quite some precision to be able to complete some of the harder jumps. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga offers you two options. The first option is your standard on-screen controls, where you drag your thumb around and it acts like a normal controller. As is always the way with this type of control scheme, the lack of physical feedback when pressing buttons makes it less than ideal and will see you falling into Rancor pits.

The other solution is ‘tap controls’. This dumbs down the control scheme so that all you need to do is tap to where you want to go. For the more difficult jumps all you need to do is tap close to the ledge and then swipe upwards and the game does the difficult jump for you. This is too easy. I hate sounding like Goldilocks, but there’s no control scheme that’s ‘just right’ so I found myself with on-screen controls that were too hard or tap controls that were too easy.

It’s a real shame, as this would otherwise be a game I recommend without any hesitation. As it stands this is a game that I recommend but with the caveat that you need to be prepared to battle some wonky controls.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is Now Available for Amazon Fire TV

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is Now Available for Amazon Fire TV

Feb 28, 2015

The well-received Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is getting the Amazon Fire TV treatment; in other words, owners of the dual streaming/gaming set-top box can now play the game with controls specifically remapped for the Fire TV game controller.

An epic Star Wars role-playing experience with unique characters, creatures, vehicles and planets.
Learn to use the Force with over 40 different powers, plus build your own Lightsaber.
Adventure through iconic Star Wars locations, including Tatooine and the Wookiee homeworld Kashyyyk.
Choose your party from nine customizable Star Wars characters, including Twi’leks, Droids and Wookiees.
Travel to eight enormous worlds in your own starship, the Ebon Hawk.
A streamlined user interface custom-made for the touch screen helps immerse you in the action.
Full HID controller support for those gamers that prefer the original control scheme.
For the first time, Star WarsTM: Knights of the Old RepublicTM has achievements!

The game is available for $9.99 on the Amazon Appstore.


[Check out our reviews of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Amazon Fire TV]

Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic Review

Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic Review

Jan 20, 2015

Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic on Android is the same fantastic game KOTOR has always been. Taking control of a sightly mysterious rebellion soldier, the player works their way through a thrilling plot with a party of interesting, varied allies and plenty of tactical, turn based combat. Players can build their character in many different ways, whenever as a melee fighter, a blaster toting desperado or a charismatic manipulator that talks their way out of trouble. Later in the game when the player becomes a Jedi, a whole lot more skill options become available, some of which are dependent on how dark the player is Allies are also interesting and each is different and has an interesting backstory. KOTOR allows you to find out as much or as little about you allies as you like and indeed love can blossom as well, much like Bioware’s later games like Mass Effect.

Screenshot_2015-01-19-20-24-04KOTOR offers players a lot of choice as to how to handle quests and encounters. There is almost always non-violet ay to settle matters and at the same time you can be a jerk to anyone you choose, ignoring attempts to talk peacefully and manipulating and strong arming others for your own benefit. Of course being evil affects how far between the light and dark side your player leans and this has major ramifications later in the game. KOTOR is excellent stuff and a must play for any player who values a good story and deep gameplay
KOTOR is a very long game. Despite the original game being rushed and having content cut, KOTOR is a very full experience and it will take at least a few dozen hours to finish.

KOTOR has rather annoying controls. The player must swipe up to move forward and there ar e a lot of tiny icons. The game doesn’t scale well to smaller screens and moving forward can feel quite awkward. Frustratingly this is the only control method available. There is no virtual pad or tilt controls or anything. It is a mystery why the controls are so set in stone. The small font is a serious problem. On a Note 4 (with its nearly 6-inch screen) dialogue proved to be all but unreadable and skill icons are way too small to use easily. This is helped by the pausable combat. If the game was real time the poor interface would be much more notable.

Screenshot_2015-01-19-19-53-25KOTOR has the same graphics as the original game. KOTOR obviously looks dated by today’s standards but it doesn’t get in the way of gameplay at all. The sound is well done and very Star Wars. The voice acting isn’t as good as more recent Bioware games but it gets the job done. A problem with KOTOR’s sound is that it isn’t that well mixed. Unless the music is turned way down in the options it is tough to hear what characters are saying.

Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic is a great experience tempered by some slightly shonky controls and an interface that could be a lot better. It is still a must play for any modern gamer.

Star Wars Galactic Defence Review

Star Wars Galactic Defence Review

Dec 19, 2014

Star Wars Galactic Defence is a pretty basic tower defence game. Enemies of different types run along lanes in each level. The player must build a series of towers to prevent the m enemies reaching a certain area . After each level the player receives a rank depending on how many enemies they managed to stop. Player can also select 1-3 heroes for each level. These heroes can be freely controlled.

Screenshot_2014-12-16-12-41-55Sar Wars Galactic Defence doesn’t stray far from this formula and indeed lacks fairly basic tower defence features, like an upgrade system or hero skills. The only hint of progression in the game is new towers that are unlocked at certain levels.

Galactic Defence doesn’t just encourage players to replay previous levels, it requires it. Every level after the first is so difficult that it is nigh on impossible to proceed without repeating earlier levels to gain money and hero experience. Enemies simply flood in and getting three stars is difficult indeed. This is the polar opposite of fun and is compounded by the fact that to unlock later levels the player must acquire a certain amount of stars.

The game also features numerous one time buffs and abilities like aerial bombardments that chew up large amount of in game currency and are all but required to beat levels with a three star rating. This is designed solely to drain the player’s money.

Screenshot_2014-12-16-12-53-25It sure doesn’t help that Galactic Defence apparently has no idea how certain things in Star Wars work. I have watched exactly one movie in the series and even I know that rebel pilots, as in the guys in orange flight suits that fly X-Wings tend to, you know, fly spacecraft. Not in Galactic Defence. You’ll see these unarmoured men die in droves alongside other rebel trooper fodder. They are also much stronger than rebel troops, taking many more shots to die, which is strange.

Also, it is just plain weird seeing rebel troopers forget about shooting and enter melee with Stormtroopers. It takes Darth Vader 4 or 5 lightsaber attacks to kill a single rebel. Turbolaser towers have about a 20 foot range rather than the anti-spaceship level range they had in the movies. Speeder Bikes dawdle along at a walking pace. The game just makes no sense.

The controls in Galactic Defence are needlessly bad. Moving your hero around is frustrating as they tend to simply ignore enemies near them, allowing them to escape and the whole system feels imprecise. Both building and upgrading towers involves tapping on tiny icons and the lack of icons for off screen enemies or other events is annoying.

Galactic Defenc
e looks nice, everything looks as it should, but the game environments are boring and all look the same. Still, it is sharp and colourful.

The sound is a mixed bag. A lack of speech and dull combat sounds don’t add any atmosphere. Imperial lasers sound completely wrong and towers don’t sound like they should. At least the music sounds good, although there are far too few tracks.

Star War: Galactic Defence is a dull, regressive tower defence game with zero innovation. It would receive no attention whatsoever if it wasn’t for its license. It is poorly designed, embraces pay to win and gets the basics of Star Wars lore wrong. It is best avoided.

LEGO Star Wars Yoda II Review

LEGO Star Wars Yoda II Review

Oct 13, 2014

The new Star Wars movie release grows closer, so it’s about time new Star Wars games start popping up. Lego Star Wars was the very first and successful title in the modern wave of Lego games, so it’s not surprising to see Lego making another one. Unfortunately, Lego Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles isn’t that exciting, but it’s a nice collection of mini-games to pass the time in, while waiting for the more interesting stuff.

Lego Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles lets the player complete various missions, on all sides of the conflict, and throughout different points of Star Wars history. The two sides of the conflict have basically the same missions, and only differ in the characters and their surroundings. Which isn’t that bad, actually. Although gameplay gets repetitive after a while, the various landscapes definitely work for a while longer.

There are four kinds of missions: run-and-gun, where the player plays as a trooper or a jedi, moving forward on a path and shooting or striking the various infantry on his way, while evading the enemy fire; air strike (Hoth defence FTW!), where the player pilots an airship and his mission is to destroy small support airships, and huge battle tanks; space Yoda II 3battles, done surprisingly well for such a small-scale title, similar to air strikes, but in space, and solely against other aircrafts; and weird falling sequence, which has pretty uncomfortable controls, where the player falls into some sort of pit, while evading the obstacles and enemy fire. Although the games are endless by their design, the player only needs to keep up fighting until he collects enough blue pieces, after which the mission will be “complete”, furthering his progress and unlocking a more challenging version of the same level. Some games are not yet released as of this writing, so there might be more stuff later.

In general, Lego Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles is a great way to kill some time. It’s varied, has that iconic Star Wars feeling about it, filled with characters and places from all over the Star Wars universe, and it’s entirely free! High-quality stuff. Even though the games get a bit repetitive after a while, it’s definitely a treat for all fans of Star Wars, or Lego.

Tiny Death Star Review

Tiny Death Star Review

Nov 8, 2013

Brilliant. A Star Wars game. Let’s see if I can avoid using cliched quotes from the films.

So, where to start with Tiny Death Star? Let’s begin by explaining that Tiny Death Star is a reimagining of the already hugely successful and popular Tiny Tower. What this means for Tiny Death Star is that instead of being in charge of the development of a tower-block full of apartments and shops, you are now in charge of developing the Galactic Empire’s ultimate weapon – the Death Star.

Developing the Death Star floor by floor involves deciding on whether to place apartments or shops, like before, but there’s also the nefarious ‘Imperial’ floors that need to be built. These floors are concerned with crushing the Rebellion and this involves constructing interrogation chambers, building blast doors and detention centers.unnamedCAMXS73U

Tiny Death Star really does a good job of building upon the already established Tiny Tower mechanics of placing your inhabitants into suitable jobs on each floor. You’ll also be tasked with a few missions along the way which helps keep things interesting. These will come in two flavours. Firstly, you’ll get the Emperor asking you to stick to his plan by demanding certain types of floors be constructed. Also, within the ‘Imperial’ floors, you’ll be asked to meet certain criteria such as ‘build 3 droids’.

All of these missions are worth spending time on and for the most part will be completed naturally so don’t require you to go too far out of your way. You’ll be rewarded, naturally, by the way of credits.

To Tiny Death Star’s credit (no pun intended), there’s only two currencies in play. Credits are used to build floors and to re-stock shops whilst bux are used to hurry production along and unlock special characters. Bux are the part of the game that are paid for, though in the game’s defence there is a way to earn bux though it, naturally, takes some time.

Your elevator will require near constant attention as visitors to the Death Star need to be taken to the right floor. These lazy so and so’s that can’t press a button for themselves will tip you some credits and, if the floor they’re getting off on has a task underway, they’ll knock some time off the task’s countdown. A welcome distraction for when you’re waiting for a shop to re-stock or a floor to be built.

That’s right, this is a mobile game that wants you to keep on coming back to check on the progress of tasks underway, and as a result everything has a timer. For the most part, this works well as you’ve often got plenty of timers on the go at once and every time you load up the game you’ll have plenty of new tasks to set and old tasks to complete.

Boiling down Tiny Death Star to it’s most basic components is the fact that it’s essentially a re-skinned and updated version of Tiny Tower. As cynical as that sounds, it’s something that works incredibly well because there’s a real attention to detail within the game and just enough’s been added to the established game design that it feels fresh enough to enjoy all over again.

From the fantastic pixel-art of classic Star Wars characters to the music that we all know and love which has been re-jigged to sound like it belongs in an elevator. Tiny Death Star could have been a lazy update of Tiny Tower but is instead a fantastic piece of fan-service for Star Wars fans and a great update the Tiny Tower game it’s based on.

I did it! No Star Wars quotes!

Disney and NimbleBit Announce Star Wars: Tiny Death Star

Disney and NimbleBit Announce Star Wars: Tiny Death Star

Oct 4, 2013

that they are partnering up with veteran mobile developers NimbleBit for a new game, Star Wars: Tiny Death Star. Details are scant but this will allow players to help build their own Death Star full of Galactic bitizens with Star-Wars-themed locations. The game will be available “soon” worldwide.

Disney has announcedi-8M6P36F

Cryptic Cosmos Review

Cryptic Cosmos Review

Aug 30, 2013

Cryptic Cosmos is a small, tight quest, set in an outlandish base, far in the dark reaches of space. Main Hero is a bounty hunter, whose target is hiding out somewhere in the base, with the game’s main goal being finding it out and disposing of it. Although the story isn’t as convoluted and original as it could be, it’s a nice setup for a space adventure, and serves well enough as the game’s background. Although one of my main concerns about the game was initially its relative shortness, I now think that it’s just long enough. It has enough content, without sinking into repeat or artificially stretching its gameplay. While it is short, it’s long enough to give a good deal of interesting puzzles. Shortness of the game is likely because of an in-game walkthrough, which is a brilliant move in itself, so there’s no need to sweep through all of the previously unlocked locations, searching for the bit that was previously skipped.

Cryptic Cosmos 2Cryptic Cosmos‘ puzzles are numerous and range from quite obvious to seemingly unsolvable. I’d dribble on about the difficult to understand logic of some of them – but again, I remember that if the player can’t solve a puzzle, there’s a hint waiting for him. In any case, the game has enough variety in its puzzles and tasks, so as not to become repetitive. The graphics aren’t all that amazing, and the soundtrack is a bit repetitive, but they’re both quite enough for a smooth, interesting experience. Besides, Cryptic Cosmos has a slick 60-s sci-fi look that is always a pleasure to look at. Perhaps, the only issue I have is an inability to freely go to any unlocked room, as strolling through the similar corridors between them starts getting irritating after a while. Another unusual problem I had was that my eyes started getting weary after playing it for a while. The reason for this, it seems, is that the game transitions between the locations by fading to black, and it’s forcing the eyes to strain. Although I might just getting old from all the sitting behind the screen, who knows.

Wrapping up, Cryptic Cosmos is another nice addition to the lovely range of short adventures and puzzles on the mobile platform. It has original, entertaining puzzles, plenty of challenges, and a classic adventure-puzzle gameplay to go with them. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go watch Star Wars again.

Angry Birds Star Wars Review

Angry Birds Star Wars Review

Nov 12, 2012

Rovio is at it again, and this time the birds are bringing the Force with them. Its most current reboot of its franchise hit, Angry Birds Star Wars shows us what George Lucas would have imagined Luke Skywalker and co. if he had used our bird heroes as rebels, catapults for space travel and piggies as loathed star troopers.

It’s all about the Jedis.

The basics of Angry Birds Star Wars remain simple: the object is to use propelled bird protagonists to destroy the pigs and whatever unholy lairs they were holed up in. In this variation, the Star Wars story is brought to life by Rovio characters; it was well worth failing a level to get Darth Vader Pig to poke fun at me. The birds get SW-esque powers to replace the ones that might have been familiar in earlier iterations of Angry Birds: look for the Force manipulations and the swiping lightsabers. My favorite? Solo blasting pigs in mid-air.

Fans of the pigs (I hear there truly are sick people out there) will rue the fact that their reputations are further ruined; there is no coming back from dressing as storm troopers and other evil folks in the Star Wars universe. Leia, Solo and a black-robed Kenobi take on roles for the birds; this will be a true treat for Star Wars fans, especially when paired with the developer’s whimsical (but fairly accurate) take on the iconic musical score. Seeing a blond Bird Skywalker was ludicrously appropriate.

In app purchasing is (or rather, can be) a major part of the game; I could purchase more levels at different locations. The Millennium Falcon makes its small screen debut as a solver of sorts (and was a fun diversion), and its strafing runs could be painstakingly earned, or bought in bunches. After 10 stars, I was rewarded with a new unlocked areas or other rewards. These bonuses recurred at star intervals.

Angry Birds Star Wars had plenty of the familiar, but just enough re-imagination to keep me engaged. I literally had to see what was next. I had to find Chewie and C-3PO. This yearning is what makes this game THE game of the season. As long as we don’t see Angry Birds Titanic or Angry Birds Twilight, I’m down.

Oh, who am I kidding. Rovio: bring it on!

KickStarter Spotlight: ROBOTA: Vengeance

KickStarter Spotlight: ROBOTA: Vengeance

Mar 2, 2012

Set in the universe from acclaimed film production designer, Doug Chiang, ROBOTA: Vengeance is a game based off the popular ROBOTA illustrated novels, published in 2003. In this fantasy world dinosaurs and fighting robots clash in epic battles and suffer gut wrenching moral quandaries. No, that was not a typo, I did just say “dinosaurs and fighting robots.” ROBOTA is just the typical post-apocalyptic Jurassic Park, I, Robot hybrid, except all the robots are modeled after General Grievous. The artwork for the novel is quite stunning and the early screen shots seem to hold up quite well, especially considering that they are both very early in production and made for mobile devices.

The goal for the production team was to create gameplay similar, and hopefully superior, to the acclaimed Infinity Blade series and wrap it inside this already fully realized world. Like most modern games, character customization is a fundamental element to gameplay as well as the reliance on touch controls so expect a lot of frenetic swiping and tapping. The main story mode begins with a nameless robotic character awakening to find himself abandoned and unaware of his past. The premise for the whole ROBOTA universe is that humans at some point in the future learn how to transcend their mortal bodies for a more rugged machine frame. The book explores the struggle between lust for power and retention of humanity, so expect those themes to become an integral aspect of the game, forcing the player to make tough, moral decisions.

Matching the incredible success and scale of Infinity Blade is a tall order for from an independent studio, but SiXiTS has the manpower; pulling developers who worked on high profile movies games such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, FIFA, Need for Speed, and SKATE as well as the aforementioned Doug Chiang. As of this writing this project is still in dire need of some funding and any help is welcomed. Because, come on, DINOSAURS and FIGHTING ROBOTS.