Star Wars dorks and fiends unite! If you’re one of the millions and millions of fanatics that are instantly excited by any new wrinkle to the iconic universe that George Lucas created, there’s a special treat that has come to you courtesy of THQ. Star Wars: Trench Run is an original iPhone game that largely rides the coattails of the climatic end of the original 1977 film. Not a shabby piece of lore to steal from, but does it hold up enough to be the underpinning of an entire game? Sort of…
Throughout the game’s Mission mode, which serves it’s main campaign exhibition, you’re taken on a whirlwind tour through some classic scenarios you saw in the original film. In all five interlocked missions, you play Luke Skywalker while piloting an X-Wing. Though you have a one-off dogfighting mission, the rest of the game is spent on the surface of the Death Star. In the trenches, maneuvering your X-Wing around obstacles while taking out stationary Empire cannons comprise the bulk of the experience. There’s no pauses or checkpoints as you go, so it’s completely possible to play through the game while thinking it was one long mission.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….
The game is solidly put together, but the lack of gameplay variety and length is a hindrance. Tilting the iPhone influences the flight path of your X-Wing. Actions are split into four quadrants on the iPhone’s screen, and they respond perfectly. Holing the bottom-right fires off your lasers, while holding the bottom-left triggers a bullet time slowdown effect to help with aiming. Rarely used options to toggle your cockpit view and pause the game use the upper regions of the iPhone’s screen.
As we alluded to earlier, the problem is that there isn’t enough core game to use these great mechanics. We were able to complete the game within 10 minutes. Completing the game lets you upload your total score to online leaderbards, but you can only view the top 10 scores. Though you can replay the Mission Mode in different difficulty levels, it’s not a good enough Band-Aid for the lack of game here.
Who would shoot at an adorable little TIE fighter?
On the side, there are two quick play modes dubbed Trench Arcade and Dog Fight Arcade for scenarios where you have a few minutes to kill. Both modes reuse the art assets from the Mission Mode to create never ending endurance style modes that keep going until you die. The objective of scoring the most points you can is undermined by the fact that only the ten best scores are viewable.
Star Wars Trench Run has an awesome presentation layer baked in. Everything looks and sounds like Star Wars, and there aren’t many rough edges at all. In all the standard measurable areas (e.g. object models, frame rate, special effects, soundtrack, etc.) the game delivers brilliantly.
All things considered, this is a good game in a variety of respects. Though it’s lacking in substantive depth, there’s a lot that fans of the brand will totally love. Everyone else, weigh the pros and cons mentioned here and make your own determination.