The universe of LEGO and Star Wars have often collided to create some memorable, and not so memorable, collaborations in both the film and gaming industries. This time, the two have teamed up to bring us Microfighters, a mobile arcade game. Whilst Microfighters was released on iOS a while ago, it only recently hit Google’s Play store, and with some improvements.
The Story – What story?
I’m going to be straightforward here and say that if you’re looking to be swept away with an enthralling story, detailing more about the Star Wars universe, then this game is not for you. There is no character development, no plot, nothing. You don’t even know the name of the character you play in this game.
Having said that, the lack of a story is perfectly acceptable as the game is in the arcade genre. It’s about jumping in and blowing things up, not captivating cut scenes or intricate character backgrounds. You get to choose whether to play for The Force or the Dark Side. The game spans 18 levels, during which you will visit four different planets, namely Endor, Yavin, Hoth and Geonosis.
Gameplay – Keeping it simple
Depending on what side you play on (Dark Side or The Force), you play as rebel fighter or a droid. Choosing sides is purely cosmetic, with the various faction specific microfighters (you get to play 6) having no differing weapons or mechanics. The controls are very basic. You place your finger on the screen and your unit will follow it wherever it goes, all the while firing its weapons.
As the number of enemies on the screen piles up, you’ll need fast reflexes to dodge all the projectiles. Whilst the first few levels are exciting, the game soon falls into a trap of repetitiveness that leaves much to be desired. The boss levels do spice things up at times, but only barely.
As you kill enemies, powerups randomly appear to level up your weapons system, either making you shoot more powerful projectiles, or increasing how many you fire at once. Classic arcade upgrade system. The annoying aspect of this however, is that every time you complete a level, you lose all your accumulated powerups. It would have been better if they let you keep your powerups as long as you didn’t die and simply increased the difficulty until you did, like previous arcade games have done.
Another upgrading system comes from collecting LEGO ‘studs’ and ‘bricks’. Bricks unlock various powerups which you can buy using the studs you collect. These powerups include extra health, magnets (they suck up all the studs left by dead enemies instead of you having to fly over them) and super weapons, just to name a few. As with your weapons upgrades, you lose all the purchases you make at the end of a mission which is rather frustrating.
Graphics and Sound – Nothing to write home about
From the iconic “In a galaxy far, far away…” introduction, right through to the soundtrack, Microfighters never deviates from the well-known Star Wars ‘package’ we’re all used to. In the heat of battle, with a variety of enemies firing at you and you firing back, your screen is a canvas of chaotic light and colours, but otherwise the game isn’t really pushing the envelope in terms of breath-taking landscapes or beautifully crafted enemies. Admittedly, this is a LEGO game and thus, there is an iconic look that they need to keep.
Much like the music, the sounds of firing weapons are consistent with the Star Wars universe, and the satisfying boom of LEGOs exploding after killing dead enemies is pretty great, however due to the repetitive gameplay, you will soon tire of the beeping and the ‘pew pew’.
To wrap up
Microfighters is nothing fancy and it doesn't try to sell itself to be. This is a game for you if you’re looking to waste time and you’re a big Star Wars fan. The game is simple and a great, pick-up-and-play, but that does mean you’re not going to get a highly memorable experience. Due to how cheap it is, I think it’s worth it and not a bad buy at all, if only to kill time.
Microfighters is available on Android and iOS devices. The damage to your wallet is R10.42 and can be purchased on the Play store here and iTunes here. The size of the game is 211mb and the developer notes that it requires a lot of memory, so it is recommended that you close any apps while playing the game. I played the game using my Nexa Orion 10.1, a powerful yet affordable Quad Core 10 inch tablet, helping me zip through enemy fire and defeat the Dark Side.
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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd