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Star Wars: Battle For Hoth
by Paul Byron on Monday 9th Aug 2010

Lacking in Jedi

Two of my most cherished toys when I was younger were the AT-AT and AT-ST from my Star Wars collection.  The majesty of the four legged white beast as it trampled the cold Hoth snow in Empire Strikes Back struck a chord with me.  Even now I look fondly at the shelves in the toy shop and long for another AT-AT.

With this in mind, I had great hopes for Battle for Hoth, the new iPhone app from THQ and Fluffy Logic.  It’s based loosely on the background to Empire, with the rebels fighting a battle against a seamlessly relentless enemy of stormtroopers and their menacing machines of death.  The game takes the form of a Tower Defence battle, not too dis-similar from Fieldrunners, but differs in several important ways.

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that there are some nice videos to accompany the intro to the game and when you lose or win in a cetain way.  It’s a nice touch that adds atmosphere, but this is immediately lost as soon as you catch sight of the graphics. Despite trying to add a level of detail which shows off the characters, Battle for Hoth ends up being a mess.   It’s more to do with layout and sprite design than detail though and there are moments where it does shine.  The AT-ATs, for instance, are still pretty menacing when their shadows first poke their way from the left hand side of your screen. 

 

Hoth was pretty busy at rush hour

Unfortunately even these beasts lack their movie-like fear when you realise that they can be taken down with three rebel troops firing like madmen from a trench.  Ah, yes, trenches.  Another new addition.  Where other games have walls, Battle for Hoth has trenches.  What’s more, you can place your troops in to the trench to aid their defensive abilities.  It’s odd and took me a bit of time to get used to, I still found myself planting troops outside the trench on second level, but when you finally get used to it the trenches are quite a useful addition to the game.

The other major difference between this and other Tower Defence games is the way you gain points to ‘buy’ new equipment.  When a bunch of enemies are killed you get a token on the screen where the last one died.  Pressing on this token will give you precious points but waiting will cause it to change colour which, in turn, reduces the points you get.  The idea is interesting but in the heat of battle it’s very easy to miss a token floating somewhere on the other side of the frozen battlefield when you’ve zoomed in to upgrade a bunch of rebels.

 

Synchronised firing

The music, far from being a rousing rendition from the films is an endless loop which soon gets on your nerves.  Only the sound effects seem in place, though there seems to be an over-eager R2 unit warning you of every enemy attack.

Fifteen levels later and it’s all over.  Despite the Star Wars licence and the setting I don’t feel like I’m likely to go back, even if it does have AT-ATs.   For a big Star Wars fan who also likes Tower Defence games it’s still a good bet that you’ll get some enjoyment out of this game, but I couldn’t help feeling that there’s a better use for the licence than this.

 

 

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  • Sound: 6
  • Graphics: 5
  • Gameplay: 6
  • Longevity: 5

5

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