The new Star Wars movie inches ever nearer, and if you pretend that the last three (Episodes 1-3) never happened, then this will be the first Star Wars sequel since 1983. With JJ Abrams at the helm, expectations are very high. I’m personally getting my lightsaber ready for some hand-to-hand combat with rebel scum at the cinema.
As part of their marketing strategy, Disney has revamped and re-released the Star Wars smartphone (and tablet) app. The new version has received high praise, so I thought I would take a look.
Star Wars Official App (Free)
After playing around with this app for a while, I am impressed. Disney has put a lot of serious thought into the app, with features ranging from entertaining selfies to and virtual reality experiences that use Google Cardboard.
The selfie section is particularly cool. You can pose in a variety of Star Wars outfits, and be photographed alongside an all-star cast including Darth Vader, Yoda, Stormtroopers, and Boba Fett.
There’s now a photo of me dressed as Princess Leia, with the buns on my head… and that photo shall remain forever locked up. But you can see me frozen in carbonite, after I failed to get Jabba his money. I sure hope that big hairy walking carpet is coming to rescue me.
The official Star Wars app also provides GIFs to copy and paste into emails and SMS messages. A soundboard gives you all the best quotes and sounds from the movies (yes, you can turn your phone into a stormtrooper’s blaster).
Force Trainer takes a leaf out of A New Hope, and gives you a small robot that blasts lasers at you. Your phone is a lightsaber and you need to move the phone left and right to deflect the incoming laser blasts. You have no way of knowing which direction they will be coming in, and I’m ashamed to say I failed badly at this one. I obviously didn’t feel the Force enough.
Virtual reality with the aid of Google Cardboard is just amazing, but getting screenshots proved to be extremely difficult. After all, it IS 3D. Here was the best shot I could get, but it really doesn’t do the app justice.
If you own an iPhone or iPad and you’re a big Star Wars fan, then I strongly recommend you install this and try it out for free. It’s lots of fun.
Other Star Wars Apps
Obviously the official app is not the only Star Wars-related download in the App Store. There are some others (not just games), but I was very disappointed not to find a decent lightsaber-fighting app. The ones I did find all required in-app purchases just to open the lightsaber!
That’s the one thing which annoys me about most apps these days. They are listed for free on the App Store but unless you pay up afterwards, most of the app is locked down tighter than a monkey’s bottom. Wouldn’t it just be better to buy the app in the first place?
Wikia Star Wars Fan App (Free)
Wikia allows people to create special fan pages, and Star Wars is no exception (in fact, currently their front page is dedicated to nothing else but Star Wars). They even have an iOS app, so you can discuss Star Wars on the move, read up on all the obscure characters, and revisit some of the famous battle scenes.
You can create your own profile, have discussions with fellow Wars fans, and shake the phone to get a random article delivered to your screen. The Force is strong with this one.
Star Wars Trivia (Free) [No Longer Available]
How much do you really know about Star Wars? Are you a Jedi Knight or a Jar-Jar Binks? Star Wars Trivia aims to find that out. You can play by yourself with friends (via Facebook or Game Stream). It shoots a rapid-fire 15 questions at you and you just have to tap the right answer.
In my first test I got 14 out of 15. The question I got wrong was the name of Luke’s friends who had already gone to the Academy. Since I prefer the Dark Side, I don’t much care for Luke’s friends.
Topps Card Trader (Free)
One of my most cherished memories as a child was standing in the school playground, swapping and examining Star Wars trading cards with the other fans. The guy with the biggest stack of trading cards was automatically top dog in the school.
Topps Card Trader tries to replicate this in 2015 by bringing it to iOS. It doesn’t have the same feel as holding the actual cards in your hand, but it’s better than nothing.
I have two Admiral Ozzel’s and two Yodas. I can trade one of each for other cards I want, and build up my collection. But my Boba Fett card? No-one is taking my Boba Fett card. Fett’s the man.
Scene Maker (Free) [No Longer Available]
Have you ever wanted to be George Lucas or JJ Abrams, and direct your own Star Wars scene? Now you can with Scene Maker.
I actually found this quite difficult, but then again I am bad at games in general. You will probably find it much easier.
You can give figures their own speech, just select a pre-recorded quote or speak your own into the microphone (“Emperor Ryan Dube is most displeased with your apparent lack of effort. We shall redouble our publication efforts!”). Drag and drop figures in and out, and pinch the phone screen to zoom in and out of the picture.
The one big gripe about this is that only the first scene (on Endor) is free. The rest you have to pay for. But if you enjoy it, you may not mind paying for the next levels.
Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes (Free)
Your enemies are out there itching for a fight, so what do you do? Hide behind the couch with Princess Leia and her Death Star plans? Or do you get out there and whip some bottom?
To conquer your foes, you must construct a squad, which means choosing between characters from any Star Wars movie. Then once you have your posse assembled, stand opposite your opponents and let it rip. Kill your enemies before they can get the drop on you. Or you can just be like the stormtrooper and fire your blaster at everyone – and miss.
The game employs both single player play and online campaign against other people, the latter of which is going to have a much steeper learning curve.
Star Wars Commander (Free)
So here’s the scene. You’re building your bachelor pad out in the picturesque desert. You’re hoping to bring back a good looking droid later for some dinner and dancing. But then the worst happens. Darth Vader, that constant party pooper, has crashed the party and is demanding your immediate and unquestioning obedience. So, no biggie then.
You have to decide if you are going to assist him or tell him you have other plans. Considering he can do the whole choking thing by waving his hand, it probably isn’t wise to turn him down. Best call your droid friend and reschedule.
But no sooner have you launched into battle and earned some brownie points with the Empire, than you have Han Solo on the line, asking for a favor. Now you’re in a tough spot. You’ve just helped the Empire and earned some serious street cred with Darth. Helping the Rebel Alliance is going to undo all of that.
Star Wars Commander is one constant battle of maintaining your base, training your troops, and being a general galaxy badass — all while picking your loyalties and deciding whether or not to stick to them.
Angry Birds Star Wars (Free)
No Star Wars round-up would be complete without mentioning one of the most well known Star Wars games of all, Angry Birds. In this universe, the birds are the Rebels, and the pigs are the Empire.
With more than 100 levels, some of them frustrating in the extreme, you have more than enough here to drive you Star Wars crazy for hours. Swing your lightsaber, use the Force, make those Empire pigs tumble.
If you really are stuck, you can use the Millennium Falcon to swoop down and blast the whole level away.
What Did We Miss?
I have obviously only profiled the few I thought were the best. There are others out there that you may prefer. Tell us in the comments what they are. Oh, and enjoy the movie.
My final parting word to you is a question… can you feel the Force?