Review: Star Wars Trench Run (update at the bottom)
Star Wars Trench Run, by THQ Inc.
• Awesome Star Wars game
• Cut scenes add to the atmosphere
• Easy controls
• No two play cooperative or competitive modes
• Limited missions and star craft
My daughter has recently "discovered" Star Wars, and with my encouragement has become a big fan of the movies. Of course, this meant I needed to go through and find various Star Wars themed apps for the iPhone. A while back, I reviewed the two player Star Wars Lightsaber Duel. This is another app that we decided to take a look at.
Star Wars Trench Run is a flight simulator/flight battle game based in the Star Wars Universe. It is a great game both in terms of game play, controls, and excitement, and for Star Wars fans this game is almost a must buy.
There are two modes for playing this game – arcade mode and mission mode. In mission mode, you have five stages (not that many) which become unlocked in the arcade mode when you complete them. The five stages are somewhat limiting – once you finish, all you can do is replay those stages. Of course, you can increase the difficulty level to make it harder, but it would be nice to see more stages included (or the possibility of using different fighter craft, playing the battle scenes from the 6th movie, or something like that). Finishing mission mode can take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes, depending on how good you are, and the difficulty setting. Arcade mode simply lets you play the various stages, so you can focus on the stages you enjoyed.
The controls for the game are absolutely GREAT. The tilt control to fly your X-wing is very intuitive, and it has a calibrate mode so you can adjust you “straight flight” angle (which is great since everyone may hold their iPhone at different angles when playing). The controls for shooting are easy – just tap the right side of the screen. You also have a “force” option (tapping the left side of the screen) which slows the game play down. While it doesn’t let you levitate objects or choke people (if you go to the dark side), it does give you limited ability to focus your attacks and become a little more successful. You can also choose a cockpit view or an external view (like many driving games) when you are playing.
The game play experience is enhanced by the sound and visuals. The game design brings back memories of the old “Tie Fighter” and “X-Wing” games for the PC from the 90’s (along with the original arcade version of the game), but the graphics look great on the iPhone. The graphics when are nice – especially things like the explosions when you blow up an enemy ship. The background music is taken from the John Williams score for the movies, and really enhances the game because you feel like you are in the game. The game also features cut scenes from the movie to add to the atmosphere (for example, if you get killed, you get the cut scene of the Death Star blowing up a planet). All told, it really enhances the game play because it feels like you are in the movie.
Having said all that, there are some deficiencies. The game seems short. I would have loved to have seen additional missions – taking down the walkers on Hoth, blowing up the 2nd Death Star from Return of the Jedi, the speeder bikes on Endor…these are all missions that were included in the arcade version of the game, but are not included in this game. Also, it would be great to allow people to choose their ships – want to fly a B-Wing, Y-Wing, or X-Wing? Give us the choice! It would also be fun to be able to play the empire and defend against those pesky rebels.
Lastly, like my complaint about many games, I would love to see a multiplayer option. It would be great to fight against someone else, or have a friend acting as you wing man while you try to destroy the Death Star. Perhaps many of these will come in future games (I would love to see an import of the Tie Fighter and X-Wing games!), but it would be nice to add a little more to this game.
All in all, as a Star Wars fan, I love this game. It’s fun, intuitive enough to play that you can pick it up easily, and gives you the feeling of being in the Star Wars movie. The graphics and ambiance really enhance the game play. I wish it were a little big bigger, including more missions and options, but it’s not a bad game as it is. At $4.99, it isn’t a “cheap” game, and people who aren’t big Star Wars fans, or people looking for a really long-playing game might be disappointed. But if you like Star Wars, have fond memories of the arcade game, or just like blowing up the Death Star, this game would be good for you. Four out of five stars.
(Note, I tried to get a cool picture of a Tie Fighter blowing up, but it would have required at least two or more fingers that I could accurately control to get the screen capture. You can see those images on the images in iTunes)
Update: I received a message saying that an update, featuring more levels and more ships, should be releasing in a few weeks!
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.