Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner Review

By on January 9, 2011
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From a fraction of a parsec you come out of Hyper Drive and you’re a budding Jedi.

“You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon? It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.” Han solo

In a galaxy far far away, something epic was penned that has entertained us for decades and will keep on doing so through numerous iterations over the course of time. Whether you buy into the folklore or not, it has made its impact on our lives. There are those among us who await the arrival of functional light sabers as industrial power tools or mere swordplay baboonery, keeping themselves eagerly informed through blogs of its ongoing development.

Then there are those who  approach it as a reference on looming daddy issues and wish their fathers, when disciplining them, would do so in the Vader fashion through James Earl Jones’ now infamous asthmatic voice “I’m your father” to stamp their authority on your hind.

The new release of this cash cow from THQ Wireless sees itself incorporating the best of the iPhone’s hardware – accelerometer, tilt sensor, gyroscope (iPhone4 & New Gen iPod Touch), Retina Display; the trump up its sleeve being A.R. (Augmented reality). A new form of visual infotainment, the initial apps that sought its use were for tourists and on-the-go apps where upon focusing on certain landmarks, books, movie posters, distinguished art pieces, music album sleeves or FMCG products, relevant information would appear via popups within the live feed of your environment. For example, focusing on a poster would jump you to an IMDB style profile of the movie or a trailer; landmarks would list a history on the architect and the historic significance of the site you stand on. Well known apps for these purposes are Layar & acrossair.

But in recent months we’ve seen this being adopted for games, which for the most part are indie, or catering only to Japanese audiences. This is the very first time a well known license has stepped on the heels of this tech and the end result is nothing short of cosmic gold dust.

The gaming experience harks back to the good old days of Rebel Squadron on the PC. When you first took to the depths of the Death Star with Tie fighters hot on your tail; the only difference being your part of the Millennium falcon crew and the events kick off from Star Wars IV: A new Hope. On the presentation side of things you’ve got quality cut scenes from the movie, the soundtrack and background is by John Williams (at his best) plus you’ve got in-house sound production form Skywalker sound studios.  So yes, it reels you in whether you have a pair of cans on or not, it’s an auditory attack on your senses. There’s complete voiceover from the original movie that sits well with your gaming experience,  so you’ll have Han solo throwing insults at you, C3PO in his ambiguous fretting tone, Chewy with his Wookie hurls, R2D2 being his cute incomprehensible self and Leia being a Galactic princess.

On the graphical end the game is stunning, the color tone and palette is unmistakably Star Wars. I don’t know how many of you have realized this, but the color grey is heavily used in the franchise; from all the aerial fighters from the Rebel Alliance to the Empire, the Death star is a big ball of grey, asteroid fields, R2D2 and space itself is murky and grey, heck even a grey Jedi existed at one point!  “Grey Jedi”, a concept brought up by Lucas in reference to Qui-Gon Jinn. Some fans have taken it to mean that Grey Jedi do not see in terms of Light or Dark. Instead, Grey Jedi perceive that all else, including the Republic, and the Jedi Council, are secondary to serving the Force itself – no matter what the consequences – “I shall do what I must.”

The game, however, beautifully produces all these shades of grey amongst the backdrop of space with itty bitty stars in the distance, all on your iPhone screen. And when the colors come through bursts of sabers and Tatooine sunset backdrops, it is beautiful.

The controls are what you’d expect from the best smuggling ship in the galaxy, they are extremely responsive and if anything, you’ll get quite the workout if your device has the new gyroscope. Because the turret essentially maps your body movement, it’s the closest you can get to a game with an almost 180 degrees experience; it’s such an engaging experience.

And yes all puns intended, “The force is strong with this one”, so go get it.


Best described as an active sponge having a penchant to retain inane info. In some circles he's known as "MOON" the brooding traveler. Being a child of the 80's & escapist at heart allows pop-culture to bleed into the bleak of the real world. Big on hand drawn anime & all things Japan. We have on good authority that he'd snort wasabi if it weren't for his flaring nostrils or the fact it may prove fatal in higher doses.

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