Speaking of Star Wars,
Enlist in the Empire With Star Wars: Imperial Academy
By Dan Moren, Macworld
Once again, we return to a galaxy far, far away for the latest in Star Wars
gaming. This week's entrant? The ngmoco and THQ Wireless joint venture, Star
Wars: Imperial Academy, a title that puts you in the shoes of one of the
Empire's "elite" stormtrooper corps. And by "elite" I mean "can't hit the
broadside of a Star Destroyer."
As an Imperial, er, academic, you'll face off against other stormtroopers in
a battle to the death, utilizing a variety of weapons at your disposal.
Along the way you'll earn credits that allow you to purchase new weapons,
armor, and special unlockable items (for example, allowing you to play as
iconic characters such as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Boba Fett).
In order to actually earn those credits, however, you'll need to compete
online against other would-be stormtroopers from around the Internet in
deathMatches of 4 players. You can play a global match against strangers, a
private match against your friends, or hone your skills offline by fighting
clones. The game takes advantage of ngmoco's Plus+ gamer system to allow you
to register your scores on leaderboards, earn achievements, and compare your
performance with friends.
Just in case you don't feel like earning your way up the ladder the hard
way, you can also tap into your bank account and buy bundles of key cards
that you can turn into power-ups and credits (to buy further equipment).
Bundles start at 30 key cards for $5 and go all the way up to 800 keys for
$50. Somehow, the idea of paying for upgrades feels very, well, Imperial.
The game scales for a variety of player skill levels, with features like
auto-fire, adjustable look and move sensitivity, and direction pads that you
can show or hide. Unfortunately, like many touchscreen FPS controls, the
performance is somewhat frustrating compared to traditional physical input
methods. However, its graphics are fairly impressive, tuned as they are for
the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch's Retina displays.
Star Wars: Imperial Academy is a free download and requires an iPhone or
iPod touch running iOS 3.0 or later.
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