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Star Wars: Tiny Death Star

Little death star

Product: Star Wars: Tiny Death Star | Developer: Disney Mobile Studios | Publisher: Disney Mobile Studios | Format: iPad | Genre: Casual, Simulation | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Star Wars: Tiny Death Star iPad, thumbnail 1
It's a little-known Star Wars fact that for every torture chamber on the Death Star there was a karaoke bar, and for every storm trooper stomping around there was an Ewok buying toys at a pun-named toy shop.

Thankfully, all of this comes to light in Tiny Death Star, NimbleBit and Disney's mashing together of the Star Wars universe with Tiny Tower to create a twee simulator populated by familiar faces, races, and jokes.

It all works pretty well, and while there are no huge additions to the Tiny Tower formula the in-jokes and references make the whole thing a bit of a joy. As strange combinations go, this is more peanut butter and jam than bacon and shoe polish.

Tower of fun

Essentially, the game is all about playing on the side of the evil Empire. You're creating the Death Star, a weapon of unimaginable power that will one day wipe out entire planets. But the Empire has run out of cash, so it needs to start earning by renting out rooms in the soon to be WMD.

So you create a capitalist society within the curved walls, slotting in shops, apartments, recreational facilities, and the odd interrogation room to earn the cash the Empire needs to finish off its big Alderaan-smashing laser.

Everything works in a delicate balance. You need houses for your bitizens, and places for them to work and play too. Each of the characters in your space station has a dream job, and a set of skills that fit one type of employment.

Juggling the needs of your populace has its own rewards. Better suited workers work better, and create more money, which you can then use to build new floors or upgrade the shops and apartments you've already got.

Tower power

Much like its non-Star Wars themed predecessor, and the rest of NimbleBit's work, the focus is very much on expansion. Your housing blocks will fill up quickly, and you'll find yourself with plenty of unemployed bitizens sat around waiting for you to build them somewhere to work.

IAPs explained
There are two currencies in the game, Imperial Bux and Imperial Credits. You can buy bundles of Bux to swap for credits, and to speed up wait timers and skip quests.

25 Bux will set you back £1.49 / $1.99, while at the top end of the scale 2,000 will set you back £69.99 / $99.99.

The prices are as you'd expect, but you never feel like you're being forced into spending money you don't want to.
Each floor costs more to build than the last, so you need to make sure you're maximising your earnings and completing as many of the quests the Emperor sets you as you can. These range from simple things like visiting the store to more drawn-out tasks like building a certain floor, or employing the right kind of person.

While there's quite a lot going on, there's still not that much to do. You need to transport bitizens to the right floor in a lift, and make sure your retail outlets have enough stock, but as far as gameplay goes there's not much else.

That's par for the course in NimbleBit games, which tend to be endearingly twee, and addictive in a repetitive way, but often lacking when it comes to interaction and excitement. This is very much a game that happens in the background, regardless of what you're doing.

Star taps

Not that there's anything wrong with that. This is the perfect game to dip in and out of when you have a spare minute - which means it's the perfect game to play on a mobile phone. The Star Wars setting is the icing on a sweet but vaguely empty cake.

Tiny Death Star is almost exactly what you'd expect. It's twee, funny, and hollow in all the right ways. NimbleBit can still push the right buttons, except this time they're attached to planet-destroying lasers.
Star Wars: Tiny Death Star
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 7 November 2013
A clever blending of two licences, Star Wars: Tiny Death Star does exactly what you'd expect it to
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