Star Wars is definitely one of the pillars of science-fiction. The original trilogy revolutionized how the general public perceive the genre and has left it’s trail in almost all areas of life – be it toys, CCGs, books or videogames. Even on the iDevice the franchise has left quite an impression, with Star Wars The Force Unleashed and the recent Star Wars: Trench Run being the most noteworthy titles. And now they have been joined by arguably the best Star Wars game on the iDevice to date in the form of a Tower Defence – Star Wars: Battle for Hoth.
The Tower Defence genre seems to be a natural fit for a Star Wars game – with the multitude of huge battles turning one into a TD title doesn’t strike as an extraordinary step. Though most of you are probably familiar with the plotline, I will reiterate for those who’ve been living under a rock for the last 30+ years. The events pertain to Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The Empire has just discovered the Rebel base and now you have to hold off the dark forces while the Echo base is evacuated.
Battle for Hoth is almost a typical example of an open-map TD. The enemies come in from one or more entry points and try to reach one of the exits of the rectangular map. To make things a bit more interesting, the maps have plateaus spread throughout that not only block enemy movement, but also can be used to house your forces. In addition you can control enemy movements by placing trenches, which give an additional defense bonus to your soldier units placed within.
It’s quite difficult to imagine anything new in a TD, so the quality of the title in many ways is affected by the balance of the enemy and defending forces. On the Empire side you will see all major units, from the Snow Trooper and Attack Drone to the Tie Fighters, Walkers and the dreaded AT-AT. On the rebel side the array is not as impressive, with the X-Wing and the Snowspeeder being probable the most well-known appearances.
There are the infantry units, which don’t require power and can be placed in trenches. Then there are the 3 tower types culminating in the ultra-powerful ion cannon that have to be supported by a well placed generator (as do all other structures actually). Next there are the above-mentioned X-Wing and Snowspeeder controls, which call in support against Air and Ground units respectively. And finaly there is the power-hungry energy shield that serves to protect against enemy fire. No Jedi or Wookies, sorry…
Overall the array of defences presents a nice field for tactical combat, though the unit upgrades felt kind of wonky and too cheap. Also, enemy fire is quite strong, so be prepared to replace your defenders constantly. An interesting feature is the way you receive cash for new defences – each wave leaves behind tokens you have to pick up. And if you manage to pick up several in on swipe, then get ready for a nice bonus. Don’t wait too long though, as the tokens disappear quite quickly and diminish in value as the seconds go by.
Graphically Battle for Hoth is excellent. THQ Wireless decided to go with the good old 2D graphics, ensuring great performance even on older iDevices, as well as gorgeously drawn units. I was a bit disappointed by the audio though. While the title screen features the famous Star Wars theme and all units have authentic sound effects, the in-game music is repetitive and boring. No Imperial march or anything like that… The authentic cut-scenes from the movie do help a bit to return the atmosphere, but they are few and far between.
Star Wars: Battle for Hoth is definitely a worthy Tower Defence game. The unit balance is quite good and the design decisions make for a TD with tactically deep gameplay. Most disappointing is the soundtrack, as well as the absence of any Jedi or Wookie units. Star Wars = Jedi, right? Overall though, both fans of the franchise and of the TD genre will find themselves satisfied by THQ’s Star Wars: Battle for Hoth. It can also be a solid title to start one’s acquaintance with either!
With this I declare Star Wars: Battle for Hoth officially touched!
|Title:||Star Wars: Battle for Hoth||Developer:||THQ Wireless Inc.|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0.0||Min OS Req:||3.1.3|