App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Star Wars: Force Arena sounds like a great game on paper. Who doesn't want to play as Darth Vader while commanding an army of Stormtroopers and striking down rebel guards? While this game lets you do exactly that, there's a lot of issues with Force Arena's design that keep it feeling as cool as it should.
To say that Force Arena is a MOBA is a bit of a misnomer. It's more of a multiplayer brawler with some Clash Royale elements thrown in.
Playing Force Arena involves managing both a hero character and an army. Your hero, which can be anyone from Boba Fett to Princess Leia, is controlled by tapping around on the screen to move and target enemies for attacks. Your army is managed via a deck of cards at the bottom of the screen that you can deploy by dragging them onto the battlefield.
In every match of Force Arena, there are two opposing sets of turrets, and it's your goal to destroy as many of them as possible while protecting your own from the enemy. It's a very straightforward goal that isn't complicated by any sort of side objectives that are common in MOBAs.
When you first start playing Force Arena, you'll have access to the most basic heroes and cards of the Star Wars universe. As you win matches, complete objectives, or spend money, you'll be able to open packs of cards that may unlock new units for your army or allow you to upgrade your existing units.
These cards can really change your strategy, but the idea of upgrading existing units also allows for disparities to develop between players who have invested more in the game than those that haven't. When some games have systems like this, they can avoid these issues with smart matchmaking, which Force Arena unfortunately seems to lack.
The dark side
Even if Force Arena did a better job of pairing players with similarly powerful decks together, the game would still suffer from being a little clunky. Controlling both a hero and an army in the game feels really awkward.
It seems like the developers knew that this kind of multi-tasking would feel pretty overwhelming, which must be why Force Arena is such a slow-moving game. Characters crawl across the screen, even when running, which goes to make the whole experience feel a little less exciting than it should.
The bottom line
The ideas behind Force Arena are strong, but the game's free-to-play design, slow pace, and awkward controls make it hard to stick with. As much as I want to keep jumping into games to blast away as Han Solo, doing so just doesn't feel particularly good.