Platform: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows 8/RT
Release Date: October 11, 2013 (Australia), November 8, 2013 (Worldwide)
Developer(s): Disney Mobile and Nimblebit
Have you ever wanted your own Death Star – your own space station of gigantic proportions along with its own planet-destroying laser? Well, now you can. Sort of. It’s tiny and I don’t think it’s going to equip my phone with a laser, although, I may have not got that far yet.
Star Wars: Tiny Death Star is a free-to-purchase business building game, designed to show the wonders of intergalactic capitalism – apparently the only way to fund the nefarious Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine’s evil-doings. And weirdly enough, it’s actually very fun.
The basic mechanics works through trying to expand and gain more levels to your increasingly complex and profit-producing shopping station. Occasionally you get missions from both Palpatine and Vader, and you should probably listen, you wouldn’t like to fail Vader for the last time. Balancing the different types of levels: food, service, recreational, retail and residential in order to maximize profits and cater to all the ‘Bitizens’’ needs. Oh, and did I mention the game is 8-bit? So even the disfigured Emperor looks hilariously and (I despise the fact I have to use this word but) “cute”.
All these levels however, mask the true inner-workings of your Death Star as the basement levels are called ‘Imperial’ levels and are dedicated to reinforcing and building the most dangerous weapon in the galaxy.
The sheer amount of content is staggering, drawing all the different races, characters, locations and music of the beloved film series into one place and putting its own unqiue twist on it. A particularly worthy mention is that of the remixed music, the ‘Mos Eisley Cantina’ song being a wonderful highlight.
Various cameos arise out of the woodwork as well, from Luke Skywalker to my unfortunate first encounter with one and only, Jar Jar Binks. Alongside these are the VIPs, characters that vary in function and help things in your station massively.
This, does indeed, bring me to one difficulty in playing this game and that is doing so without using the damn micro transactions. Your aim in the game is to gain credits but there is a secondary currency called ‘Bux’ which like most things involved in micro transactions, makes the game a hell of a lot easier to play. It can be used to speed up the construction of nearly everything in the game and sometimes, you need stuff done fast.
But, where’s the fun in that? I found even just using the ‘Bux’ the game gave me that it could still be a lot of fun. The comical tone, “cute” aesthetic, great music and the compelling and addictive gameplay makes my dreams of owning a Death Star come true. Even if it is just a Tiny Death Star.