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Star Wars: Trench Run (iPhone)

For: iPhone

I have a bad feeling about this…

Product: Star Wars: Trench Run (iPhone) | Publisher: THQ Wireless | Format: iPhone | Genre: Film/ TV tie- in, Shooter | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Star Wars: Trench Run (iPhone) iPhone, thumbnail 1
Some film trivia: George Lucas originally wanted Star Wars to end with a light saber duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader on the surface of the Death Star. It was only begrudgingly that he swapped the scene out for the Death Star trench run.

It was a relatively late addition to the film, but one that preserves the quick pace of the action and ultimately became a seminal piece of cinema.

The same can't be said of Star Wars: Trench Run, where any hope of translating this iconic scene is dashed by poor execution and lacking of value.

Use The Force, Luke

Using the accelerometer to control the action, the game straps you into a Rebel Alliance X-Wing in a daring attempt to destroy the Death Star. Blasting the enormous space station means firing missiles directly at its only weak point: its exhaust port.

Along with missiles and a pair of powerful lasers, you also have the Force to slow down time, making it easier to react to obstacles and enemies as you zip through the trench. You almost certainly need this skill as avoiding the various obstacles isn't easy. Unfortunately, this says more about how the game controls than the level of challenge.

The tilt controls are incredible buggy and inconsistent: sometimes it functions like a dream and others it fails to pick up movement, leading to almost certain death as your flimsy fighter smashes into a barrier.

Don’t think, feel

Control issues are exacerbated by horrendous performance problems, especially when loading up a mission. It's not unusual to find yourself starting a fresh run and hopelessly careening into an obstruction thanks to the fact that the game is jerking around like an electrocuted Jawa.

The myriad control and game engine issues come to a head when you reach the portion of the game where Darth Vader swings into view, determined to take down your X-Wing with his cannons. During this sequence, the action is viewed through the Sith Lord's eyes as he attempts to get your craft in his crosshairs.

It's an incredibly tense moment, but sadly this is more down to the fact that the third-person viewpoint makes it extremely difficult to negotiate oncoming obstacles. The in-cockpit perspective is the preferred choice, but it's not available during Vader's assault.

To top it all off there are some truly excruciating load times - with missions taking what feels like an age to load up - and more than a few times the game crashed altogether, dropping back to the Home screen.

Let’s blow this thing and go home

It's a shame these problems plague Star Wars: Trench Run because there's a lot here that is enjoyable. Dog Fighting mode - which takes place way above the surface of the Death Star - is jolly good fun, at least until you realise that the TIE-fighters couldn’t manoeuvre their way out of a wet paper bag.

Video games based on the Star Wars licence have had a rather patchy reputation over the past three decades and sadly this effort doesn't do much to change that. The concept is relatively sound but the execution is sloppy. As much as it pains us to say it, the Force definitely isn't strong with this one.
Star Wars: Trench Run (iPhone)
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 1 December 2009
The licence promises so much but sadly Star Wars: Trench Run ends up clumsy, value-starved interpretation of one of cinema's most iconic scenes
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