It’s the first Saturday of the month and in order to make the month to come a little bit easier, as well as hopefully highlighting some games that you may have otherwise not played, GodisaGeek.com is here to show off some games from the Mac App Store.
This time on Mac Medley, we’re taking a look at a couple of Star Wars related games in order to celebrate today being Star Wars Day (that’s May the Fourth for those of you who are uninitiated). The games we’re taking a look at are Angry Birds: Star Wars from Rovio and Star Wars: The Force Unleash from LucasArts.
Keep reading for a full review of each game, and even a handy little button to allow you to download them for yourselves. Don’t forget to check back to GodisaGeek.com for more Mac Medleys in the future.
Titles are available from the Mac App Store unless specifically stated otherwise. If you like what you read, click the small black “App Store” button to load iTunes up and purchase the title!
ANGRY BIRDS: STAR WARS:
Angry Birds has gotten so massive over the years that almost any collaborative license wouldn’t seem too small. We could have gotten an Angry Birds anything and it probably would have fit together to form something that millions would have played. However, it makes sense for the new master of marketing and merchandising – Rovio – to come together with a license that also has its roots firmly set in making the masses buy anything with its name on – Star Wars. The outcome of this bizarre partnership is the Star Wars-themed Angry Birds game, unsurprisingly named Angry Birds: Star Wars – as well as countless forms of merchandise, no doubt.
Everyone should be familiar with the gameplay in Angry Birds by now, and this Star Wars version of the avian launcher is no different in terms of the fundamental mechanics. You still load birds into the catapult, you still launch them across the screen towards the many structures that have been created to house the enemy, and your task is still to destroy all of the pigs in each of the levels with as few birds as possible. The major difference is that the birds are now Star Wars hero characters – Luke, Obi-Wan, Chewbacca, etc – and the pigs are Stormtroopers. Pretty simple conversion so far.
While those are the basics of the conversion, there are several other alterations besides. Each of the birds, as previously mentioned, are based on one of the Star Wars heroes, and some of have special abilities based on who they’re modeled after as well as which part of the story you’re currently playing through. For example, you may have the Luke Skywalker bird – the in-game analogy of the typical Angry Birds red bird – and at the start of the game you can only use it as normal; however, once Luke receives his father’s lightsaber from Ben in the story, the Luke Skywalker bird is able to cut through the pigs’ defenses at a simple secondary tap of our feathered friend. Each of the birds has their own special abilities and half the fun of Angry Birds: Star Wars is figuring out what they all do, and then using it against those hapless piggies.
The Mac version of the game is, understandably, a little more difficult to control than its iOS counterpart, mostly just because using a finger to pull back the catapult and then let go has become second nature to most players of Angry Birds. Using the mouse isn’t bad though, and most people will only take a few minutes – perhaps a level or two – to get to grips with everything. Before you know it you’ll be doing the Kessel Run in less than 12 Parsecs, or, in English, you’ll be completing the levels without any problems whatsoever, as quickly as you would be on your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch.
Angry Birds: Star Wars is a game that fans of both franchises should already own – however, even if you’re not a fan of Star Wars, there’s still enough that’s different in this iteration of the formula to at least warrant a download of the ‘Lite’ version. Owners of iPads, who play regularly on any of the other versions of Angry Birds on their larger iOS device may want to continue that tradition with Angry Birds: Star Wars, as it’s much easier to control the game with touch than a mouse, but that probably wouldn’t be the case for iPhone/iPod Touch players who, if they played Angry Birds: Star Wars on their device, would be missing out on some of the gorgeous visuals afforded by a larger screen. In short, if you have an iMac and don’t mind using a mouse to play the game, get it on that; if the controls are going to be a problem, go for the iPad.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED – ULTIMATE SITH EDITION:
When Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was first released back in 2009, I was understandably excited. Not only were we getting a third-person hack and slash game (one of my guilty pleasures when it comes to video game genres) set in the Star Wars universe, we were getting a game that had gone through the correct narrative channels to be able to class itself as part of the actual Star Wars canon. To me, that’s always going to be exciting, and the moment that you realise that what you’re playing is the very start of the Rebel Alliance – not to mention that Darth Vader himself technically starts the ball rolling – you’re genuinely taken aback. LucasArts managed to make a game with The Force Unleashed which, in its first 30 minutes, tells a better story than the entire prequel trilogy combined – and I actually enjoy the prequel trilogy more than most.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed follows the adventures of Starkiller, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, as he travels around the galaxy performing tasks for his master, the Dark Lord of the Sith. The comedy that’s evident throughout the title becomes apparent in the opening scene of the first act – after the tutorial where you get to play as Vader himself – where Proxy, Starkiller’s training droid, attempts to kill his master, fails, and then proceeds to apologise. The Force Unleashed isn’t a comedy game, and at times it’s downright dark and foreboding, but these glimmers of comedy keep it more in line with the original trilogy of films rather than the prequels, giving the audience a comic relief character who we didn’t want to brutally murder.
With a name like ‘The Force Unleashed’, you would assume that force powers are the main point of focus on the gameplay, and you’d be right – as long as you also count the expert use of a lightsaber as a force power. The powers that Starkiller is able to wield are impressive, but when you add the gameplay systems that exist to make the use of those force powers, you start to see why The Force Unleashed is a glorious game to play for any gamer who secretly wished they could wield the Force. Picking up the various objects that litter the ground and slamming them through space station windows, sucking all of your enemies into space due to the vacuum that’s created, never gets old. Neither does smashing the Force Lightning button and watching your enemies melt inside their suits while shouting “Unlimited power!” at the top of your lungs – although the last part is something that I would shout, not something that’s actually in the game.
The version of the game that’s available on the Mac Apo Store is the ‘Ultimate Sith Edition’, which means that for your £13.99 (at the time of writing) you will not only be getting the excellent single-player main campaign, but also a selection of extra levels which were previously sold as DLC as well as a whole host of character skins that allow you to run around the levels dressed as some of your favourite characters from the Star Wars universe – my personal favourite being Obi-Wan Kenobi from Episode IV: A New Hope. The DLC levels that that are unlocked from the moment you start the game up do assume that you’re at least competent with the controls and mechanics however, so if this is your first foray into the world of The Force Unleashed, then you may want to play some of the main campaign before you dive head-first into them. They’re definitely fun though, some of them are even relatively difficult and of a decent length too, and certainly worthy of inclusion in the Ultimate Sith Edition.