The countdown is on to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” In the meantime, you can fill the time to the movie’s debut with some Star Wars apps.
In 1977, the spines of millions of moviegoers shivered as the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away … ” crawled up the screen at the beginning of the original “Star Wars” movie. In two weeks, that same sensation is set to unfold again when “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hits theaters worldwide.
While you await the release of the seventh installment of the intergalactic series, there are ways to keep that tingle going with numerous “Star Wars” apps. The programs can help refresh knowledge of “Star Wars” story lines, brush up on the history of the film franchise and dig into original content.
It begins with Disney’s official “Star Wars” app. This free iOS and Android app offers a complete “Star Wars” experience, with trailers, simple games, movie news, a “Star Wars”-themed selfie camera and even a “This Day in ‘Star Wars’ History” section. It also has original “Star Wars” story content. My favorite feature is a sound generator that can make a phone sing out classic sound effects and quotations from the movies.
Yet while the app is well designed and has Disney’s typically highly polished look and feel, it lacks the thrill that the movies deliver. For a bit more punch, try the Lego Star Wars game, available on iOS and Android, which offers plenty of excitement, humor and cuteness.
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The Lego game was a huge hit when it was available for gaming consoles, and that experience has now been ported to mobile devices. In the game, you play as one of more than 120 characters, including Luke Skywalker and C-3P0, and move through well-known scenes from the first six “Star Wars” movies.
As you smash, slash and build your way through the story, you may find yourself laughing at subtle visual jokes and scratching your head at some of the puzzles. The game isn’t incredibly difficult. It’s aimed at slightly younger players, and the gesture controls make moving through the 3-D Lego world simple. But there are many levels to battle and puzzle through.
The game has two downsides: Although the main app is free on iOS, you need to pay a few dollars each to unlock new “chapters” of the story, or $6 for the whole thing. The app itself is also large, so it could take up a significant amount of storage on your phone. The app costs $6 on Android, but recent reviews have noted quite a few bugs as you play.
For a more grown-up “Star Wars” game experience, look to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. This app is a 3-D role-playing game with a complex story, detailed graphics and sound effects that bring events to life.
The game involves moving your character around a 3-D world, interacting with other characters, fighting opponents and solving puzzles. Unlike some similar mobile games, you have a degree of freedom to explore the world as you wish.
There are many features to master, including improving the skills and powers of your chosen character, such as learning how to fight. The game’s tutorials make learning how to play swift and enjoyable, and the game does a great job of making you feel part of the Star Wars universe.
But watch out: The app is an even bigger download than the Lego game. Knights of the Old Republic costs $10 on iOS and Android.
The Angry Birds Star Wars II game app has to be mentioned because of the entertainment factor. The premise is similar to other Angry Birds games: You propel a variety of avians, each with a different power, from a slingshot to destroy evil pigs. This particular game is set in space with planetary gravity systems.
Some of the birds will remind you of “Star Wars” characters like Han Solo, while the pigs, fittingly, use the dark side. The game is entertaining and suitable for players of all ages. It is free on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Finally, you may want to introduce children to the “Star Wars” experience in a more educational, story-based way. If so, check out Journeys: Beginnings. The app mixes storytelling and simple game play to tell the story of “Star Wars” from the three prequel movies. It has attractive illustrations, spoken narration and read-along text that’s a simplified version of the story for younger readers.
The dark side of this app is that though it’s free to download, you have to pay $6 as an in-app purchase to access the entire story. It’s also iOS only.