Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner Review
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Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner Review

Our Review by Blake Grundman on November 22nd, 2010
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: DECENT FLIGHT
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A long running series takes the next step to Augmented Reality with a high-end developer and sweet iOS action.

Developer: THQ
Price: $4.99
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Star Wars is one of those bulletproof franchises that no mater how much it chooses to abuse gamers, for some odd reason, it can really do no wrong. In another interesting test of that theory, THQ has decided to plunk players directly into the gunner seat of everyone’s favorite smuggling spacecraft, the Millennium Falcon. So is this a chance to finally shoot the lights out, or are we looking at another experimental failure with an awesome John Williams soundtrack?

“Augmented Reality” is a term that has been kicked around quite a bit as of late, especially in the iOS space. As should come as no shock, when you attach a successful brand like Star Wars to the concept, our interest is piqued. The childhood days of fantasizing about being Luke Skywalker and gunning down TIE Fighters out of the sky has already arrived, so imagine how awesome it will be to have it set in your own living room! Giving players the feeling of a full three hundred and sixty degrees of navigation, all through rotating the perspective of the camera is amazing, but may require having a fully swivelable office chair at your disposal to play comfortably.

[caption id="attachment_56965" align="alignleft" width="245" caption="Yes, that's my gigantic TV!"]


As neat as the “augmented reality” technology is, the bulk of the game does not reside here. Unfortunately, abandoning this mode also results in the innovative control scheme going the way of the Dodo as well. While playing through a series of classic Star Wars dogfights, engaging in combat with Boba Fett’s Slave 1, an Imperial Class Star Destroyer, or even Darth Vader’s special Tie Advanced, players will flying their way through a Lucas inspired nerdgasm.

The more structured story based missions only involve having to protect against a roughly forty five degree angle of attack that can only be moved slightly by tilting the iOS device. On the bright side, this does seem to make the action much more manageable, as opposed to than having to worry about getting flanked from behind almost constantly.

Broken up into three separate chapters, consisting of a series of shorter missions, the game is structured to be a quick, pick-up-and-play experience. Sadly, this also means that the game can be beaten in one sitting if a player is fairly proficient. Though fully implemented Game Center achievements and leaderboards help to add legs to the replayability, the base content just seems too short.

On paper, Star Wars: Falcon Gunner seems like one of the neatest ideas to come along in quite some time. It may deliver on some of the potential, but it seems to be far more Phantom Menace than A New Hope. Give it a look if you are interested in getting a glimpse at the future, otherwise it may be best to wait for a price to drop.

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