For Jon-Paul Dumont and the team at Disney Mobile, the creation of Star Wars: Tiny Death Star was a balancing act. On one side, there was NimbleBit and their hit game, but also their aesthetic of gameplay and of how they approach free-to-play that forms the spirit of their games. On the other side, LucasArts is very protective of Star Wars, and even with Disney owning the brand now they work diligently to make sure that anything Star Wars fits in with the brand.
Getting to work with NimbleBit for Disney’s internal mobile studio was a dream come true, and Dumont had been in touch about working with them but he couldn’t find a partnership that would work out until Disney bought Star Wars. And how did Tiny Death Star come about? Well, Dumont says “Somebody just sort of blurted out, ‘What about Tiny Death Star?’ and lightbulbs sort of went off and it sort of wrote itself from there on out.”
Once the idea was formed, making a game that would feel true to NimbleBit was key. “The team sat down with the guys at NimbleBit and learned from them, what were the fans of Tiny Tower really excited about? What did they love? What were things that they felt like could be improvements?”
“One of the things that we really loved about Tiny Tower was the delightful randomness of the game, and how you never quite know what the next floor is going to be… who the next character is going to be who gets into your elevator. So we wanted to add to that by taking all these fun, iconic villains and heroes and species of Star Wars and giving you a reason to want to see all of them.”
“Even though we built this internally at Disney, this should feel 100% like a Nimblebit game. David and Ian [Marsh] were involved in the game and they reviewed builds often, and helped us stay within what is really important to them as game makers. The great thing is that we were starting from something like Tiny Tower that was very successful and I think really innovative in the market at the time, so we didn’t really feel the need to reinvent their formula. So in the same way that we were really reverential to Star Wars, I’d say we were really reverential to Nimblebit.”
And making the game fit in with the Star Wars brand was important for them and for LucasArts. “The team started working then with LucasArts to figure out, how do we adapt that fun, humorous, 8-bit style that NimbleBit has over to Star Wars? It was the first at least recent 8-bit game for LucasArts, there was a lot of work and back and forth to make sure that our versions of the characters really worked but still had that tongue-in-cheek style.”
“[LucasArts] are really rigorous, and it makes sense given that Star Wars is a property that has lasted so long, and that they have plans to keep it going for decades to come. They are just making sure that the characters fit and that things are logical within the universe. They’re also making sure that they are making the right creative decisions for the future. They have a kind of legacy to protect. And so when they look at an 8-bit Stormtrooper, they’re trying to figure out not just how does it work for this game, but what does 8-bit mean in Star Wars for next year, 5 years, and 10 years in the future?”
This even came down to making the game make at least some sense narratively. Dumont says “We needed to know even if it’s goofy or silly, like our premise is intentionally, it was important to have that central focus of knowing why is an Ewok on the Death Star? Why is Lando Calrissian around your cantina? So, that gave us a grounding element. It was also really important to the guys at Lucas. They really are the guardians of this legacy of Star Wars. So no matter how silly or goofy the game is, they want to make sure everything fits together. And there are things that we followed along that were important to them. For instance, our game is set roughly in the classical era of Star Wars, which means that characters who died in the prequels are not going to show up in this game. Even for something as cute as this, there are really important sort of structural rules that are important to us and LucasArts.”
“I would not call this game canon, they’re not basing movies on it or anything like that, but having something that fits and makes sense is actually really important to us and we feel like it is important to our audience of Star Wars fans who take things, even goofy things seriously. It is really fun to play around in a version of Star Wars that doesn’t take itself that seriously, so it allows us to have a lot of the fun and lots of fun humor and gags.”
And with Tiny Death Star out now worldwide, players can judge for themselves if Dumont and Disney Mobile found their own balance of the Force between the inspirations from NimbleBit and Star Wars. Thanks to Jon-Paul Dumont for his time.
Posted November 7th, 2013 by Carter Dotson Our Rating: :: FULLY ARMED AND OPERATIONAL
Tiny Death Star is Tiny Tower but all decked out with Star Wars. The Star Wars parts are great, but those who got their fill of Tiny Tower already might not find much else new here to get hooked to again.
NimbleBit and Disney have teamed up to make Star Wars: Tiny Death Star, a Star Wars take on Tiny Tower. Right now, the game is in testing in Australia (you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy) but we were able to sneak past their defenses and get a shot at the exhaust port in this edition of It Came From Australia!
Now, the game at its heart is essentially Tiny Tower but with Star Wars, and that’s a-okay. The game’s formula hasn’t been changed: players build residential levels for new bitizens to live in, and businesses for them to work at. Each bitizen has certain stats for certain job types that makes them more effective at their job, allowing players to earn more credits. One of the key gameplay additions are new Imeperial levels that help to advance the story by collecting Imperial Officers. Otherwise not much has changed, which isn’t a bad thing: there’s the two-currency system, but Galactic Bux can still be earned through VIPs and by completing certain objectives like putting a bitizen in their dream job.
The Star Wars theme is well apparent. Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader have been brought to pixelly life as bitizens, and all the other recognizable Stormtroopers, Rebel soldiers, and much of the non-human life from the series make appearances. The music is all based off of the classic John Williams music but in a light, jazzy theme. That almost justifies the game’s existence alone. The whole game is light-hearted fan service for Star Wars fans who get to build levels of the Death Star after recognizable places and themes – the developers have clearly had fun trying to cram reference after reference into the game. The whole thing is just whimsical.
There’s no telling if the Tiny Death Star will ever be blown up by a plucky orphan from Tatooine, though. The game’s likely to come out soon: it works offline so it’s quite likely that this is just a monetization test, or to see if certain elements play well with a real-world audience. So soon the game should be fully armed and operational for the whole world. Until then, watch our video below.
Disney today announced Star Wars: Tiny Death Star for release very soon. It’s a version of Tiny Tower based in the Star Wars universe. It’s about time Disney started putting out Star Wars games! Though I don’t think this is the first one I would have thought of. What do you think, is this a good first release for Disney and Star Wars?
The Empire needs your help! In collaboration with LucasArts and Tiny Tower creators NimbleBit, Disney Mobile introduces Star Wars™: Tiny Death Star™, a new game for mobile devices. Live life on the dark side and join Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader on a mission to attract Galactic bitizens, run intergalactic businesses, and build an all-new Death Star. Construct unique Star Wars themed locations to attract iconic characters and species to your space station in this 8-bit style game. Star Wars: Tiny Death Star will soon be available worldwide.
Need to know the latest and greatest apps each and every week? Look no further than 148Apps. Our reviewers comb through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
Ten years ago, BioWare released the revolutionary Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR). This took the Dungeons and Dragons combat that BioWare were masters of in the PC niche they had carved out, placed it in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and had a non-linear story where decisions have a major role in what happens. BioWare made all this complexity accessible in a way that both new and existing audiences–including console gamers–fell in love with KOTOR. The success propelled the gaming company to become one of the most important game developers of the past decade, with wildly successful original franchises like the Mass Effect series. Flash-forward to today, and a new generation of gamers gets to play KotOR thanks to renowned port producer Aspyr, known for bringing many titles to the Mac. While the game isn’t always a perfect fit for the iPad and shows its relative age in spots, KotOR is still as transcendent an experience as it was a decade ago, thanks to its sheer depth. –Carter Dotson
Rodeo Games knows strategy. Hunters was a fantastic game that seemed to come out of nowhere, and Hunters 2 pretty much set the bar for a lot of iOS strategy RPGs that would follow it. In fact, they set the bar so high I was worried that Warhammer Quest wouldn’t quite measure up. Either that or end up feeling like more of the same. Turns out I worried for nothing. Warhammer Quest puts players in charge of a group of warriors as they travel the realm seeking fame and fortune. Mechanically the gameplay is similar to Rodeo’s earlier titles with its top-down view and simple but intuitive tap interface, however there’s a much bigger emphasis on close quarters combat since there aren’t any sniper rifles or machine guns to be found. There’s also a liberal sprinkling of more traditional RPG elements such as extra dungeon encounters or even random events, such as a hero getting partially digested by a slime monster, that can keep even the most well prepared players on their toes. –Rob Rich
Find it tough to wake up? I know the feeling. While I struggle to get to sleep at night, I have as much trouble trying to wake up. That snooze button is all too tempting. Wake Alarm is out to stop any such problems and ensure that one gets up at the time they want to. Immediately simple to look at, the app works on a scroll wheel basis, one that’s immediately reminiscent of the classic iPod interface. Simply spin the virtual dial to set the alarm and away it goes. That’s the most basic way to use Wake Alarm, but there’s a little more to it. –Jennifer Allen
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If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:
Recently, I was given the chance to try out the Crayola Light Marker. This piece of hardware, as the name may describe, allows children to use this chubby crayon-like tool – part laser pointer of sorts – to draw and in other ways interact with the free app associated with this Light Marker. Included with the Light Marker is a simple but nicely functional green plastic stand for the iPad that is thoughtfully included as this app is used on a propped iPad, with children standing between two and three feet away from their target. –Amy Solomon
Jazzy World Tour is a delightful exploration of music around the world, including the same characters and watercolor stylings as seen in the earlier companion app, A Jazzy Day. This app opens up with different countries marked with a flag on a world map. Tap to select a flag to explore the related country. Three sections are included, specifically Learn, Play, and Create. –Amy Solomon
The Conduit HD is probably the finest console-quality FPS available on mobile because it actually is a console FPS on mobile. Originally released as a Wii game by High Voltage Studios, they have now brought it to Android with a fresh coat of paint for HD devices, but with the same gameplay. On mobile scale, it’s quite an achievement, but does the title actually work on mobile? It’s a mixed bag. Players control Michael Ford, a government agent who soon finds himself facing down an alien invasion after being betrayed by a shadow government, and forced to work for the ‘terrorist’ Prometheus who may not be as bad as he seems. Players swap between a variety of weapons and use the “All Seeing Eye” to activate switches, unlock doors, and find hidden items and messages spread throughout the game world. –Carter Dotson
I’m a brave man. I believe a couple centuries ago, I would have been an explorer of sorts. I love a challenge, and few things scare me. Except spiders. In any case, the prospect of switching from a device with a physical keyboard to one with a virtual one made me nervous. I was okay with switching from from one OS to another; I had done my research, liked the new ecosystem and liked the hardware available to me. The thing that really bothered me was the eventuality of having to peck on a touchscreen. I’m here to tell folks: Swype made the switch possible. –Tre Lawrence
“And lo, the hero’s adventure did come to an end because he couldn’t unlock the chest in time.” This is something that does happen in 10000000, the indie match-3 RPG from EightyEight Games (aka Luca Redwood) that has been brought to Android. Sometimes it’s not the enemies that fell the player, it’s the inability to get the keys to unlock doors and chests, leading to one’s doom. Wait, why? Well, in the world of 10000000, players exist on a horizontal scale where they need to keep moving, and anything that slows them down or keeps them from advancing it a threat. Sure, the enemies are greater threats because they’ll actually knock the player back, stopping them on their quest to get ten million points and free the protagonist from his mysterious imprisonment. –Carter Dotson
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a huge game. Especially when starting out, you will get lost. Here’s some tips to help you out on your way early on.
Choose wisely, padawan.
Choosing a class and starting attributes without having ever gotten to play the game is rough, because it really takes getting in to the game and playing it a lot to realize just what is possible, and the path you might want to take with your characters.
If you’re the type that prefers beating people down and being the tank, then the Soldier class is for you. Scoundrels are best at most non-combat abilities like Persuasion and Security, meaning Jedi mind tricks and breaking in to doors. Scouts provide a balance between the two. However, there’s two things to consider when choosing a class early on: one, it’s possible to travel with a party of three, so even if one play style is preferred, it’s possible to have party members fill a different but useful role. Two, the main character is always gonna be there, and there’s certain skills like Persuasion that only they can really use. So, why not have them focus on that? Use the wookiee to beat stuff up.
Focus, you must.
Jack of all trades, master of none. That saying is a warning in KotOR. You’re going to get the best effects and stat bonuses by choosing to focus on particular paths, whether it be a certain set of combat skills, or going down the Dark or Light Side path. Have a plan and stick to it and you’ll get the best results. Again, if you’re worried about any deficiencies, remember that you have three party members and can control any individual character, so you can cover most any area of expertise at any time if your party is set up accordingly.
Blow it up like Alderaan.
Your first playthrough is going to be one giant mass of confusion. Taris, the first planet, is big and confusing and you will get lost often. Plus, you won’t quite know what everything in and out of combat is until you experience it in the game.
By the time you’re ready to leave Taris, you’ve gotten to experience the gist of the game’s elements, so this is time to make a decision: do you want to keep going with your selected main character? Don’t be afraid to start anew at this point. It will take significantly less time to get back to where you started, and odds are, you’ll be far more satisfied with the results. And if not, hey, there’s multiple save slots for a reason. Use them!
Exploit the game like the Death Star’s exhaust port!
Need a quick heal? If you can warp out the area on the map screen, you can get healed instantly and for free. And unlike on the Xbox, loading is so brief that you’ll save yourself thousands of credits on medpacks.
If you have a tough Persuasion roll, know that some characters can be re-rolled by going through the conversation again. This doesn’t always work, but consider it. Just quicksave before making any important decisions.
The structure of the game isn’t perfect – you’ll discover the gaps and how to take advantage of them as time goes on.
Of course, part of the fun of KotOR is the ability to dig in and find a lot of this stuff out yourself. Don’t just follow the guides. Experiment! The quicksave and multiple save slots are there for a reason. Explore! There’s a lot to find, and when you discover it yourself, it’s the most satisfying.
We got a chance earlier this week to take a deep look at Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It’s a very long and involved RPG style game set in the Star Wars universe many years before Episode 1. KotOR has hours and hours of gameplay, and here’s just a bit of those many hours to whet your appetite for the real thing.
You know you’ve made it big today when you’re showing up in memes. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (aka KotOR) while not a modern game by any means, is still one of (if not the) most popular Star Wars games of all time.
It’s not surprising, then, that the internet has taken its own inability to refrain from putting big blocky letters on top of images and mashed that up with images and references to this most geeky of geek games. Here are several of the best from around the ‘net. Click on each image to go to the original source.
Let’s start with a meme from a popular series of beer commercials, the world’s most interesting man.
Yeah, it’s a bit obscure for us, too.
And, keeping within the classic meme concept, here’s a good one, referencing KotOR, the new Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic, and, well, Xzibit.
Seriously, dawg, we did.
Of course, no meme bank would be complete without actual images from the game itself. Here’s one of the main characters, Bastila Shan, who apparently has a bit of a judgmental attitude.
Voiced by Jennifer Hale, no less.
Then there’s the angry droid companion, assassin HK-47, who refers to all non-droids as, well, you get it.
I can haz Jedi-burger?
Darth Malak has Bastila up against the torture table, and leans in close, menacing. Suddenly…
A new fragrance from the maker of “JediPassion,” Darth Malak.
Electronic Arts and The Walt Disney Company announces an exclusive multi-year licensing agreement that allows EA to develop and publish Star Wars video games. EA will develop and publish Star Wars titles for core gamers on all interactive platforms while Disney keeps the right to develop new titles on mobile, social, and online games.
“Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe,” said EA Labels President Frank Gibeau. “Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.”
Touch Arcade has reported that you can now download Angry Birds Star Wars for free through the Starbucks app. If you already have the Starbucks app downloaded, you can go to the messages tab where you’ll find a list of free music, along with Angry Birds Star Wars. If you don’t have the app, go to this link HERE.
Coffee and video games are a perfect match together! So dreamy.
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” a young child was enchanted by the Star Wars Universe. In more recent history, that same boy came down with a chronic case of pinball addiction. So you can only imagine how the child rejoiced when learning of Zen Studios’ intentions to meld their passion for pinball with Lucas’ brainchild. If you haven’t read between the lines yet, allow me to clarify that the aforementioned child was me, cleverly shrouded as an adolescent, in hopes of hiding the fact that I am a grown man rendered shamelessly giddy by the proposition of my beloved Star Wars bleeding into my favorite past time. Oh well, so much for that.
Much to my glee, the good folks over at Zen Studios invited me to get some early hands on time with their newest masterpiece: Star Wars Pinball. The base install will be its own stand-alone pinball hub, consisting of a healthy collection of three tables at launch, set to the themes of The Empire Strikes Back, everyone’s favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett, and the animated Clone Wars franchise. Before moving on to the meat of the preview, it is worth mentioning that each of the tables will also be available for individual purchase in the Zen Pinball 2 hub as well, but there are special features associated with the specific Star Wars Pinball app that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
Trying to please Star Wars fans has become an increasingly difficult task over the decades. With that in mind, the creative team at Zen has taken every necessary precaution to make sure their tables are the definitive embodiment of the franchise, only featuring a steel ball. Lightsabers, sound effects, and even reasonably similar sound-alikes have been brought in to re-create seminal moments of the series. There is no greater example of this than the Empire Strikes Back table. Players have the opportunity to relive the most important scenes of the film, all while still playing an authentic pinball game. Everything from downing Tie Fighters to dueling Darth Vader are on the list of highlights, so it is certainly not to be missed.
Boba Fett is a character from the Star Wars mythos that has taken on a life of his own. A relative bit character in the original trilogy, fans have clamored to know more about the mysterious masked man. Drawing heavily upon his actions freezing Han Solo in carbonite and the resulting events on Tatooine, the Boba Fett themed table follows the notorious bounty hunter in his manhunts across the galaxy. Featuring a set of bounty missions that can scale in difficulty depending upon the user’s confidence, this is sure to once again be a fan favorite.
The last, but certainly not least of the trio of tables takes place in the fairly recent Clone Wars animated franchise. Tom Kane, the narrator from the television program and film reprises his role, informing the player of their immediate activities throughout the action. Of the three tables in the set, this is by far the biggest opportunity to run up the scoreboards. A big key to success is managing to chain together long combos, thanks to the fluid layout heavily favoring ramp play.
No matter what your level of appreciation is for the Star Wars brand, you will find something to appreciate in these tables. Even those that don’t like the franchise will still find plenty of fantastic pinball shenanigans to enjoy, because they are simply awesome tables to sit down and pick away at. We look forward to seeing what other tables are waiting in the wings for the coming months. Stay tuned for our full review of Star Wars Pinball, coming soon.
Posted by Jeff Scott on November 8th, 2012 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
In case you missed it last night, Angry Birds Star Wars (iPhone $0.99), (iPad $2.99) was released at midnight. Carter gave it 4 stars and noted “Angry Birds Star Wars may not come from a galaxy far, far away, but it does add some interesting new variations on the famous gameplay, along with plenty of Star Wars references.”
Rovio has also released this killer cinematic trailer for the game.
Angry Birds have created a new Tumblr page to announce some sort of a Star Wars tie in. Could be a Star Wars level in Angry Birds: Space or could be a while new game. We will hopefully find out on October 8th, when the announcement is scheduled to go up.
With Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace being re-released in theaters with post-processed 3D, LucasArts has released an app called Darth Maul Me. Do note that the name is not an invitation for a Sith Lord to come and maul the user, but an app for turning the user into Darth Maul, Sith apprentice in the first prequel episode of the Star Wars series. Users can either import or take a photo of their face, zoom in and out to line up the eyes and get their head in frame. Then, they adjust the area of their face, and select from one of three Darth Maul effects, from the full-on makeup and horns look to just the crazy Sith eyes. Then, the image processes and the user is ready to go out and share to the world that they are a Sith, and proud of it, and there’s Facebook connectivity to help prove it. The Dark Side will only truly win if they receive enough likes on Facebook.
September 16th isn’t very far away, but for Star Wars fans awaiting the release of the entire SW saga on Blu Ray, the wait is excruciating. To ease the pain, albeit slightly, 20th Century Fox has released a small amount of the discs’ bonus features as an iPad app. Star Wars Blu Ray Extras Early Access is exactly what its name states – a quick look at some of the vast extras that are included on the upcoming Blu Ray collection of the Star Wars films.
Bonus materials included in the app are minimal, but that’s the best way to whet the appetite for more, isn’t it? The introductory menu system for maneuvering between the different films is slick, and it’s fun to play around with some of the ship models and other extras included. Credit to 20th Century Fox for finding a new way to promote and generate interest in a release.
The content won’t keep fans occupied for long, but it’s fun and it’s free – and maybe, just maybe it will be enough to keep the excitement building until September 16th.
Those who can’t get enough of George Lucas’ most popular cash cow will be happy to hear that THQ is planning on launching Star Wars: Falcon Gunner later this month. While many may be quick to roll their eyes at yet another Star Wars game, this one stands out from the crowd by functioning as an augmented reality title.
The game puts players in the gunner’s seat of the Millennium Falcon as you try and fend off an onslaught of TIE fighters and other unsavory enemies. Furthermore, if you have a front-facing camera on your iOS device you can point it at any landscape which will then serve as the background for your skirmish. Thus you might be battling Imperial forces over major cities, in your own living room or even, heaven forbid, flying out of your toilet. The possibilities are nearly limitless and it’s a little wrinkle which should give the game an added bit of flair.
Of course the major question this raises is if the game will be compatible with older model iPhones and iPods that don’t have the camera. THQ is planning to include pre-rendered backgrounds so the augmented-reality portion won’t be mandatory, but since that’s one of the main selling points we can’t help but wonder how much the game stands up without it.
This won’t be THQ’s first rodeo with Star Wars, as the publisher has already put out games like Battle for Hoth and Trench Run, both of which were solid but not particularly spectacular. Has THQ nailed it this time around? We’ll know more when the game launches in the very near future. As always, we’ll make sure to post a review so you can know in advance whether the Force is strong with this one or its Midichlorian count just isn’t up to snuff.
The top prize is an original 80s Star Wars action figure of Luke Skywalker in his Hoth battledress. Second prize is also an 80s action figure – but of a Snowtrooper this time. Both winners will also get a copy of the book Plug In & Turn On: A Filmmakers Guide to Internet – written by the game’s producer and designer a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away – so they can get some hints and tips to use their new found action figures to make fan films! The best runners-up will also get a copy of the book.
In the email we got today, FluffyLogic teased us with the fact of a near-future iPad version coming out. With even MORE sweet new features and levels. Stay tuned for them right here as they’re revealed.
Remember when Minecraft – Pocket Edition first came out and people were disappointed because it paled so much in comparison to the PC version? Well those differences have been slowly disappearing over the past two years. In fact, this latest update (0.8.0) is purported to be the biggest one yet. And based on what I’m […]