Image via WikipediaYep, Force Unleashed is now avialable for mobile is it any good? Surprisingly, it works quite well, even though deep down it's basically a rail shooter.
You all pretty much know the plot already: Darth Vader had a "secret apprentice", who was unnamed here, but was called "Starkiller" in other other versions. Vader first told the apprentice to help eliminate some remnant Jedis, who's likely attacking a TIE fighter factory. However, no one must learn of apprentice's existence... EVERYBODY, including Imperial guards, must be eliminated. As you can guess, that's just chapter 1 out of 6, and there are a couple twists and turns that even I didn't quite see coming.
Boiled down to the essentials, the game is basically series of battle scenes where a battle is played out. In the battle, you go up against a bunch of enemies, and you have an objective. Usually, it's just to get to the exit, by killing all enemies. Sometimes, it's a bit more involved, like how to break down a door. You have only force grip at the beginning, but as the chapters go, you will learn force push/pull, force lightning, force drain, force heal, force speed, force confound, and so on. So how do you deploy the force? By hitting a pattern on the keypad. It's easier to show you.
For example, to "cast" force heal, you need to do a "diamond". Look at the numeric pad, it'd be 42684 (or 26482, or 68426, or you can go the other way around as well). If you want to do a force push, it's 5684. Force speed is 8462 (it looks like an S too).
After you finish the "weave", if it's a defensive power like heal, it goes into effect immediately. Offensive powers needed to be "cast" by hitting SPACE or OK or 0, depending on your handset.
Depending on the item being used and the specific force power, your force "meter" will be drained a bit. When you run out, you can't do any more force powers, until they regenerate.
Enemies will be shooting at you, and you defend by hitting the 4 corner keys. In case of the numeric pad, it'd be 7913. A red circle with specific quadrants will light up and you need to press the respective "defense" key to deflect the attack, and sometimes the deflected shots will kill other targets, just like the movies.
Not all enemy will be in range of your force powers initially, so you may have to defeat the front few in order to reach the remainder. And some enemies may be invulnerable to certain force powers. It is up to you to figure out which attacks work against whom.
So a battle goes like this... Starkiller runs up to this path, where there's a bunch of Clone Troopers. Starkiller engages force grip, two guys floats up in the air, third, further back, keeps shooting. Starkiller defends against a few shots, force threw the two off to the side, who drop to their deaths. Starkiller advances on the third guy, who's now in range. Starkiller does a force pull, pulling the guy within lightsaber range, and one sweep (automatic) finishes the guard. However, several more take their place both ahead and behind. Starkiller goes defensive and the reflected shots takes out one, two, then all three guards...
You can imagine you'll be hitting the keys A LOT, and yet, you don't need to aim or anything. It's all about weaving the pattern, and deciding which force power(s) to use. Some, like AT-ST walkers, are vulnerable to combinations, or can only be stunned, not defeated outright (unless you can force push one off a ledge, not that easily arranged). Others will succumb to a variety of attacks... Push, pull, grip/toss, lightning...
For anything else I'd say this "cellweave" user interface is gimmicky. For something as mystical and fantastical as "The Force", this is right on. I can imagine this game mechanic being used to cast different spells, or create units, and so on. It is an innovation.
Each level is also VERY cinematic, yet shows you exactly where the enemies are, esp. with the force indicator above each enemy. Gray means "out of range". Blank circle means "not affected by current force power". And so on and so forth. It's not simply an overhead view, but a variety of views, some ground level, others higher up, lower down, from front, back, side, different elevations... It's almost like participating in an action movie.
At the end of the level, you come upon a boss, who will have a bunch of attacks up his sleeve... Either lots of enemies, or some special attacks you need to deal with. You'll see prison wardens, Jedis, Shadow Guard, and more. But the battle mechanics are the same... Find out what sequence of force powers the boss is vulnerable to, then use them without getting hurt too much (use force heal if possible).
As for the plot... It can get a bit melancholy as this is one of those sad endings that actually makes sense, even though it ties up a few things a bit too conveniently. You see... Starkiller knows that he's a slave, and he's NOT fully on the Dark side of the force just yet... By the finale, he will make the ultimate sacrifce... in order to save the Rebellion from being crushed by Vader before it was even formed. And let's just say... he has enough Force pull to pull a TIE fighter... and something even BIGGER... MUCH bigger. And clearly, this game lost a LOT of stuff from the other "more complete" versions, yet the ending is one of the best available on a mobile game... VERY... melodramatic.
All in all, I like the innovation of this "weaving" as a battle technique, though I don't quite like the rail-shooter aspect of the game, as I wish a bit more freedom to explore, but I understand why it's done so.
WARNING: you need the unlimited data plan, as each of the chapters must be downloaded separately, even after you download the main program. And if the chapter refuse to download properly, you'll need to restart the program and try the download again. All those bytes can add up quickly.
All in all, Star Wars Force Unleashed 3D really does have you feel, momentarily, like a Jedi, yet without waving light saber around. The six chapters are a bit short (done in a couple hours, with no bonuses other than the "boss" levels being replayable as a 'survival battle'), but that new "weaving" combat is innovative enough. I can give this an 8.0 out of 10.
Overall rating: 8.0 out of 10
Pros: "weave" the force attacks, views are VERY cinematic
Cons: weave feels somewhat gimmicky, heart of a rail shooter
About This Place
First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?