Mobile Gaming

Star Wars: Force Arena – First Impressions

Hello and welcome to the new year!  While I’ve never talked about a Star Wars game on this site, I figured this might be a great place to start.  After all, Star Wars is a part of the Disney Empire and Force Arena comes to us from Netmarble, the creators behind the devilishly fun Disney Magical Dice that I wrote about a while back.  While the competitive nature of Force Arena might not be for everyone, if you are looking for a fun Player Vs. Player battle across the galaxy, look no further.  Star Wars: Force Arena has you covered.

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Force Arena lives in the category of games known as MOBA’s.  To fully understand Force Arena, we need to understand what MOBA’s are.  In a MOBA, a player takes control of a character and usually are a part of a team working to push against the defenses of another team until either team takes the home base of the opposing team, crowning them the victor.  For PC players, you’ll be reminded of games like League of Legends, Dota 2 or Heroes of the Storm.  For mobile players, you might think of this more akin to Vain Glory or even Clash Royale.  In Force Arena, you’ll play a hero and you’ll use the help of A.I. controlled minions of all sorts to help you move across the battlefield, defeating opposing heroes, their minions and eventually their base.

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I started my game out with Luke Skywalker…obviously.  The tutorial is super fast.  Unlike many games I’ve played where I feel like the sheer technicality of the tutorial is a massive turn off for newcomers, I found that Force Arena had me up and running within minutes and nothing was very far beyond comprehension.  In truth, this is because Force Arena is the most basic form of a MOBA.  There aren’t plentiful abilities to level up with your hero, nor are their tons of different ways to reach your objective (at least not at first).  Force Arena gives you the bare essentials and slowly builds upon them.  For MOBA players, this might seem like a miss as you will feel like your customization is limited.  Fortunately, customization comes in droves once out of battle, which we’ll get to in a second.

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My biggest cringe moment came from realizing that this game uses a card based system to summon minions much like Clash Royale.  I am NOT a big fan of card systems like this as I often think there are far more interesting ways to create a team than having trading cards.  In most MOBA’s, minions spawn from your home base and run down 1-3 (or sometimes more) ‘lanes’ in order to reach the enemies base and help destroy it.  Along the way, you’ll run into defensive turrets which deal massive damage and must be destroyed before proceeding.  Ideally, you want to let your minions enter the turrets range first, distracting them so that you can jump in, do a bunch of damage, and get out before your last minion falls.  All that being said, Force Arena allows you to summon minions ANYWHERE with use of a your deck of cards.  As your power increases while you play, you are able to spend it in order to summon troops to your side.  You can even summon large tanks or an air strike.

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Because you are summoning your cards anywhere and everywhere, it provides this interesting sense of strategy and tension.  Unlike a typical MOBA, I might have no idea I’m about to be crushed by an air assault or that my opponent is about to call in a tank.  There’s this fun element of surprise to run in alone and then summon a group of troops, yet because of the power meter needed for these, it never felt unfair and being on the opposing side of this, should you manage to survive, felt that much more rewarding.

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Outside of battle, you’ll find yourself opening card packs, leveling up cards, trading cards and the like in order to build your perfect hand and find characters which play the way you want them too.  The characters and their play styles are varied quite a bit.  Princess Leia feels very different from the Inquisitor and it’s fun to play with the difference characters, finding the ones that match your play style.  Even better is that you can have separate saved decks for both the rebels and the Imperials and you can easily switch between these in between battles.

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The battles come in the variety of 1v1 and 2v2.  So far I’ve mainly played 1v1, as I don’t particularly love relying on another player, but given the right circumstances, I could see team play becoming where this game thrives.  And that brings me to my favorite part of the game which is that it plays so fast.  Rounds last a matter of minutes and I never felt like I needed to set aside a huge chunk of time just to jump into the game.  This is important for a mobile game.  After all, we play these games because they are quick bites.  If I wanted to play a long game, I’d hop on my PC.  As it is, Force Arena provides a fast a furious battle that’s over long before it overstays its welcome.

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There’s a lot to discover here.  From weekly events to new packs of cards to increased difficulty and map size as you level up.  All in all, I have been wonderfully surprised by the game.  While any game like this has some technical hiccups that will surely be fixed in an upcoming update, I found that the game ran smoothly and was easy to jump into.  The graphics are decent and the action manages to always be entertaining.  My husband mentioned, as he listened to me play, that it sounded awesome, and he’s right.  The sound of the game is top-notch and really makes you feel as though you are in your own Star Wars battle.  Force Arena is free to play and I highly recommend it if you like yourself a good blaster battle or crushing your enemies with the force.  And if you’re playing, let me know what you think in the comments!

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