Again, the concept is fantastic.
The catch is the execution.
While I’ve been reading about this game for some time and even more about the latest update of it, there are still some issues. Before we get to those, we must start with the good things about the game.
If you ever wanted to pilot and X-Wing or the Millennium Falcon this game provides you with that chance. Yu get a nice first-person perspective in this Star Wars simulator that allows you to re-create the action of the original movie. The process is simple, as you jump in the gunner’s seat at the beginning of the game and knockout TIE fighters. It’s the exact scene from A New Hope when Luke and Han are manning the guns on their way to meet the rebel forces; right before the final strike on the Death Star. You get everything you want out of this scene including the ‘don’t get cocky’ from Han that people know by heart.
On top of this you get a beautiful John Williams soundtrack from the original score to heighten the excitement of the moment. You get all of these things in the game, with each level, and more. The look and feel of the title is stunning for an iPhone app. You get some great gyroscopic views that hearken back to the first releases of X-Wing and TIE Fighter on the PC. Of course, the game doesn’t provide as much depth, but the presentation can be very comparable. The graphics of the game are solid, as the surface of the planets and the motion from your enemies is nothing short of smooth. The TIE Fighters truly do look like TIE Fighters and not blocky N64 models.
In other words, the look and feel to the game really puts you in the mood to be a part of Star Wars (more so than the prequel movies).
Added to the presentation are the updated, upgraded features from the first. You get a few more options in battle and, more importantly, you get a smoother gameplay flow. The developers at Infrared5 went back and updated some things to make the overall gameplay a bit steadier. For example, there are added enemy forces when you’re in the trenches. Instead of breezing your way through you’ve got more guns to contend with; this adds a bit more challenge.
If you’ve never played this title then you will be assimilated perfectly, and easily, with the controls. You’ve got a fire button that takes up nearly one-half of the rightside of the screen. You’ve got a ‘slow-down’ button that takes up the leftside of the screen. On the top left you can toggle between cockpit and third-persn view during a fight. On the top right you can pause the game. It’s truly that simple of a button scheme. As for the actual flying through space, you get a new calibration system (that determines how accurately you think you can hold your iPhone) that gives you the best possible chance to have the perfect tilt/whirl experience as you’re flying.
I’m impressed with the game up to this point.
The things I don’t particularly like about the game are few and far between. The first thing I don’t like is how bland the missions can become. Fighting off TIE Fighters in the first few stages is fun, but after a while you’ll realize how stagnant your ship is as you move through the level. Having shorter missions that have a bit more connection with the movies could improve this game dramatically. Infrared5 has done an amazing job getting the game close to that, but it doesn’t flow as well as the Star Wars Trilogy arcade game does or the other Star Wars simulators out there. I do realize that the budget is limited, but move the game along like the movie and you’ve got yourself a hit. Do something simple as bringing more X-Wing fighters into the trench stage that are destined to blow up it puts the user a bit more into the action.
The other thing that must be done to make this game even better is to improve the hit detection. There were times where I would be dangerously close to running into a TIE Fighter, but I knew I could avoid them, and the game would automatically blow me up. It’s like i was a good half-inch away from the actual fighter on screen and it would automatically assume I wanted to collide. That has got to be corrected because that was frustrating.
Other than those two major complaints, the game is fun. You can’t really go wrong with a game of this caliber and look that only costs $4.99. That is an absolute steal of a deal. For those iPad users out there that might wondering how it looks and feels on the iPad, well you might want to wait for the next go around. While you can certainly play Star Wars: Trench Run on the iPad it wasn’t made for the device; you’ll know that right away during the calibration stage of the game (at the beginning).