We couldn’t think of any better combination of Gizmodo’s stereotypical interests than checking out Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on the iPhone (…iPhone LEGO Star Wars would of course be the Holy Grail, but we only speak of the possibility in hushed voices). After a brief hands-on, we’re left even more excited about the capabilities of the iPhone gaming platform, though a bit skeptical of the game’s unique control scheme.
Force Unleashed really is a pretty game. Crystal clear 2D backdrops give the levels a lot of pizazz despite that they are, you know, 2D. And light sabers glow properly on the screen.
But where we’d hoped to run around and slice our foes with laser swords, the mechanics never gave us a chance. Much like the classic PC series Rebel Assault, you don’t actually move your character through rooms. Instead, you reflect your foes’ laser shots with properly timed/angled swipes of the finger and activating force powers (like throwing baddies or electrocuting them) by drawing out symbols on the screen.
As lame as this may sound on paper, the battles can grow enjoyably hectic as you block fire and toss your enemies aside. And it’s all promised to be backed by the same soundtrack we’ll hear in the Xbox/PS3 versions of the Force Unleashed (we just heard placeholder music during our hands-on).
Oh, and something really cool. You can rotate the game between portrait and landscape mode. Neither gave the characters the stretched look.
In addition to all of that, THQ promised us an uncharacteristically rich storyline for a mobile game and 2 1/2 to 3 hours of gameplay. For a mobile phone game, it looks extremely good. But compared to something on the PSP/DS, it’s going to be a tad disappointing. So depending on your expectations of the iPhone, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed may be worth checking out when it hits this September.