Developer: Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.2
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★½☆☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Ever since the launch of the new Star Wars trilogy back in the summer of 1999, people have been second-guessing George Lucas’ decisions as a filmmaker. With that in mind, it seems like it was only a matter of time before he threw up his arms and said, “Oh, you think you can do better?” Though that scenario may be fictionalized, the resulting application is very real: Star Wars Scene Maker. Is the application powerful enough to let fans bring balance to the Force, or will the lack of free content leave the sandbox more barren than Tatooine on a summer day?

IMG_0571Lights. Camera. Action. It is hard to deny the allure of a big Hollywood production. In Star Wars Scene Maker, the user gets to sit in the director’s chair and design their own scene set, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” Everything from the camera angles and positioning to the actions being scripted and performed bends to the will of the director. Even the dialog can be spoken and inserted directly into the application. Simply put, the storytelling potential of this tool is virtually limitless. As long as you are willing to pay the price, of course.

For those wanting to have the full arsenal of Star Wars characters and scenes at their disposal, they might as well pony up now because the free base download has a very limited subset. Only the Battle of Endor set is included in the base download, with the Cloud City Duel and Death Star Attack packs available at an additional cost. While the base pack has some top-tier characters available such as Han Solo and Darth Vader, in order to fully play within the Star Wars timeline the additional $3.99 seems like a necessity to let this toolset live up to its full potential.

IMG_0573Pretty much everything that an aspiring visual storyteller could ever need has been included in the application, complete with the ability to have an intro and credit crawl. There also are some slightly odd ways that the interface is laid out, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of things. Is this a functional and compelling storytelling template for would-be directors? Sure. Unfortunately it feels like they should have just made the application a for-pay download instead of giving folks a microscopic taste of the big picture.

It is hard to look at what was done to the new Star Wars trilogy without thinking, “I could do better than that!” Well now Star Wars Scene Maker gives folk the chance to put some money where their mouth is. Granted that money is in the form of microtransactions, but it is a small price to pay for the ability to tell whole new stories in the fictional universe that defined an entire generation.


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