Working to yield a returns on its $4.05 billion acquisition of LucasFilms, Disney has released a free-to-play strategy game based in the 'Star Wars' universe for iOS devices.
"Star Wars: Commander" is a top-down strategy game that is aesthetically and mechanically similar to "Clash of Clans." But both casual and hardcore fans of either video games or the Star Wars franchise will find a lot to love about Star Wars: Commander, though its free-to-play model won't show any mercy on gamers seeking to avoid in-app purchases.
After picking a side, light or dark, players are tasked with combining components to piece together a base. Players train armies, direct small strike teams and lead large-scale offensives against the enemy.
Iconic character, such as Han Solo and Princess Leia, check in from time to time to offer advice and apprise players of enemy movement. Meanwhile, Star Wars' thematic soundtrack keeps the mood and rogue attacks slowly build into highly organized assaults.
The monetization of the game works no different that most any other free-to-play game.
Players can slowly grind though the game, saving the paltry offering of in-game credits to be more advanced units. For players who have neither the time or patience to collect in-game credit, Star Wars: Commander sells credits for real world cash.
While some players may feel that the game is a cash grab, Star Wars: Commander offers an authentic slice of nostalgia for fans longing for new content. As for the game's reverence for the Star Wars universe, Matt Fillbrandt, Lucasfilm executive producer, said Lucasfilm's story team works closely with all of the developers that working on Star Wars branded games.
"And I think games offer a unique opportunity for storytelling that you don't necessarily get of other, linear storytelling devices like books or TV shows or movies; which is exciting in that we have the opportunity have player choice like we have with this game," Fillbrandt says. "Am I going to be on the Rebel side or the Empire? So we don't really look at it from a canonical standpoint because the player is effectively making up their story and their experience."
Star Wars: Commander was released as a timed exclusive on iOS devices. After 30 days of exclusivity, the game will be available on Android devices.
When Star Wars: Commander finally reaches the Google Play store in Europe, it may not be able to call itself a free game.