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iPhone  header logo

Star Wars: Battle for Hoth

For: iPhone   Also on: Windows Phone

I'm not the father

Product: Star Wars: Battle for Hoth | Developer: FluffyLogic | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: iPhone | Genre: Tower defence | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0.0
 
Star Wars: Battle for Hoth iPhone, thumbnail 1
More than 30 years has passed since the theatrical release of The Empire Strikes Back. From the look of Star Wars: Battle for Hoth, I wouldn't blame you for thinking it was released in tandem.

The graphics aren't the only thing outdated in this Star Wars-themed tower defence title - time has passed over its unsophisticated gameplay, too.

It's an unfortunate situation because Star Wars: Battle for Hoth starts with a promising idea that never gets going due to poor tactical balancing, fiddly controls, and a disappointing presentation.

Whiteout

As commander of the Rebel Alliance outpost on the icy planet Hoth, your job is to maintain defences as Imperial forces arrive at your doorstep. AT-ATs, speeder bikes, Imperial infantry, TIE fighters - it's an all-out assault on the rebel base that can only be stopped by deploying an array of defensive units.

You're limited to Rebel infantry, heavy weapon soldiers, and funnelling enemies via trenches during the first few missions of the 15-level campaign, more exciting units such as X-Wings and laser turrets become available later on as you dig in against Imperial forces.

The sad reality is that none of these fanciful units matters much due to sloppy design that renders them no more useful than your starting arsenal.

It's not only possible but advisable to buy scores of heavy weapon soldiers (i.e. machine gunners) instead of spending a load of cash on exotic defences such as low-riding Snowspeeders and anti-infantry turrets.

More expensive units are no hardier than their cheap counterparts, so you're better off pocketing the cash for upgrades to boost attack power.

There is no try

Not only does this sap all the challenge out of the game, but it also strips away tactical considerations that define all good tower defence games.

Battle for Hoth
plays more like a time-management game than tower defence. More time is spent managing upgrades and filling gaps whenever a soldier dies amid a maze of cheap units than contemplating strategy.

Other problems play a role in diminishing the good idea that was Battle for Hoth. Finicky controls often result in the unintended selling off or upgrading of units, confusing maps make it difficult to determine where enemies appears, and there's a sense that the economy hasn't been weighted appropriately.

It's disappointing because it's easy to see how this could have been a phenomenal game.

The silver lining


Even so, there are sparks of brilliance. The interface that lines the edges of the screen is smartly designed and a clever reward system involves tapping command point icons from defeated enemies.

Whenever command points appear on the screen, a quick tap deposits it into your bank. Extra points are awarded by sliding over multiple command points, acting as a multiplier.

My favourite feature is the low number of waves per level. Rather than artificially raise the level of difficulty by packing 40-50 waves per mission, each level consists of no more than 30 waves. It's one of the few tower defence games to understand that short is sweet.

Unfortunately, these intelligent features aren't enough to save Battle for Hoth from its bland gameplay. With the tactics essentially stripped out of the game, it's difficult to see how it could offer a satisfying tower defence fix.
 
Star Wars: Battle for Hoth
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 6 August 2010
Poor design prevents the cool idea that is Star Wars: Battle for Hoth from becoming a great tower defence game
 
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