Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace
Feel the force as you control characters and ride a podracer in Disney’s new Star Wars interactive story
With the announcement of Star Wars Episode VII film coming to cinemas next year, Disney and LucasArts have already started the hype train with the first in a new series of apps. Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace is essentially an interactive storybook app, with extra bells and whistles and even a podracing game to keep you coming back for more.
There are three main focuses within the app. First is the story, which takes you through a hand-drawn and partially-animated version of Episode 1’s plot. Each ‘page’ is actually a 180-degree parallax, so you either spin your iPhone or iPad to view the whole page, or swipe across to see more.The story text is written along the bottom (sadly it doesn’t crawl up the screen), but can also be aloud by the narrator. Tapping on different area of the screen will also animate characters.
Secondly, as you read and tap you’ll trigger hidden content, including so-called ‘Story Points.’ These profiles give background information about each character, and unlocking them soon becomes something of an fixation.
The final part of Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menance is arguably the most fun – podracing. Pick a character (at first only Anakin Skywalker is available) and you can jump into quick races, tournaments and time trials. The racing actually looks really good; it’s fast paced and while the tracks don’t have a huge amount going on in them, it still looks smooth. The touch-based controls scheme is a little fiddly, as you’ll have to switch between steering and boosting as you turn. Accelerometer controls work much better, especially when you have to deal with fixing your damaged podracer while driving. The limited number of tracks (effectively just different routes around Tatooine) slows things slightly, but the draw of extra profile-unlocking story points will keep you coming back.
The high price tag is the only downside to this fun trip through Star Wars: Episode 1.
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