A few weeks ago, I took part in an amazing Star Wars product preview event in California hosted by Disney. During this presentation, there was one thing shown that no one was allowed to speak of...until now.
I was able to preview the Episode I app and can tell you first hand that it's FUN! The graphics are fantastic, the detail is stunning, it uses real movie sounds & voices, and James Arnold Taylor does all of the narrations. With the 180-degree parallax, sitting in an office chair and moving from side to side provided the best results.
There are three different options on the opening screen. The first of which is PROFILES. You can see exactly what these look like in the examples below.
Obi-Wan Kenobi Profile
Qui-Gon Jinn Profile
When you first start the game, all of the profiles are locked. You gain Story Points by going through the other sections of the game which I'll get to in a minute. When you get enough story points for each character, the full profiles are unlocked and you get more details about the character, species or ship.
The next section is called STORY EXPERIENCE. This will take you through key parts of the film and allow you to interact with other characters. Everything is pre-arranged, so you won't be wondering off on your own adventure, but you can wander from side to side up to 180-degrees. The first panel is in space as the Republic Cruiser flies towards the Neimoidian Freighter where Obi-Wan & Qui-Gon are headed to begin negotiations. The narration starts immediately, but you are free to explore the page while it's being said. Afterwards, you can tap different parts of the screen and gain Story Points. When you are done with a page, you swipe your fingers together to move to the next page. To go back, you simply swipe your fingers apart. If you miss Story Points during your first run through, you can always come back to grab them later. There are 20 different panels to work through making up the entire story of The Phantom Menace. You see classic moments like the trip through the planet core on Naboo, Anakin & Padme meeting for the first time, Darth Maul fighting Qui-Gon on Tatooine, Anakin piloting a Naboo Starfighter through space, the Duel of the Fates, and a whole lot more.
The third section is called PODRACING and it's exactly like it sounds. This is where you really earn your Story Points by running in all kinds of different races. Below you see a profile screen of Anakin's podracer. These profile shots are where you find out the various levels for Handling, Resistance, Speed and Turbo. Of course, there are options to purchase upgrades as well as change the skins for each craft. By default, you start with Anakin, but you can purchase the other characters as you gain points. Just like most racing games, you have the option of moving the screen around from side to side or top to bottom and be sure to just sit and watch your surroundings for a minute or two as well. There are some very cool little details that add that classic Star Wars touch. Before each race, you will choose between 12 different tracks and an Easy, Medium or Hard difficulty.
Once you've finished with your choice, it's time to race! You have a few different options here. There's Tournament, Quick Race, Time Trail and Knockout. As you complete races, you'll notice character profiles start to appear with more information which is the ultimate goal here. The graphics are quite impressive and the first thing I noticed was you can literally see as far ahead as you should be able to. In years past, games would only load the map for what was right in front of you, but with this, you get it all at once without having to watch the map be loaded. The controls are pretty simple...tap right to go right, left to go left and push anywhere on the screen to brake. There are two boost buttons which you can use for short bursts of speed to overtake your competitors. Don't hold them down too long or you'll blow your engines and have to spend points for repair.
The game is more geared towards children, but that doesn't mean adults won't spend hours upon hours racing around the galaxy. There are some hidden surprises within the game that I have yet to find, so pardon me while I go fire up the app...
Currently, The Phantom Menace is the only app available, but in the coming months, we'll see the others released in chronological order leading up to the release of Episode VII. The cost for each app is $6.99 and currently, they will only run on iPhones and iPads. What fun challenge is in store for Star Wars Journeys: Attack of the Clones? Perhaps Anakin and Obi-Wan racing their speeder through Coruscant? Maybe the Battle of Geonosis? The droid factory? Only time will tell! In the mean time, check out the official press release below and stay tuned to Rebelscum.com & TheForce.net for your chance to win one of ten app codes for a free download of Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace!
Need more? Check out this cool video!
DISNEY PUBLISHING WORLDWIDE LAUNCHES STAR WARS™ APPS FOR NEXT GENERATION OF FANS
GLENDALE, Calif., May 1, 2014 – Drawing from the success of its interactive storytelling products, Disney Publishing Worldwide today announced the launch of “Star Wars Journeys,” a new episodic series of apps featuring the stories, heroes and villains from a galaxy far, far away. With immersive story content and fast-paced activities and game play, “Star Wars Journeys” apps will introduce the epic Star Wars universe to the next generation of fans like never before. More than half a dozen apps are slated for release for the Kids and Entertainment categories of the App Store; “Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace” is available now and additional apps in the portfolio will roll out in sequential order leading up to the release of Star Wars Episode VII.
Each “Star Wars Journeys” app includes interactive features that fully immerse readers in the franchise’s epic adventures, including a 180-degree parallax viewing experience, infinite zoom scene transitions, collectible character profiles, brand new art, and unlockable hidden content. As The Force is strong with these apps, each will also feature a set of unique activities that deepens the story experience.
“The Star Wars film franchise has continuously excited and engaged audiences of all ages for more than 30 years” said Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “Now, Disney Publishing is connecting Star Wars fans to their favorite franchise through a series of innovative new apps that combine storytelling, play, and technology for an epic experience. We are thrilled to help introduce the Star Wars universe to the next generation of fans, and provide those already familiar with the power of The Force new ways to connect with this legendary franchise.”
“Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace,” which is available now for iOS, reveals the first story in the classic saga in an explosive new way. As readers tap and swipe their way through the story, they are challenged to fast-paced races across four different galaxies in customizable anti-gravity podracers where they can earn special rewards that allow them to complete the story. Additional apps in the “Star Wars Journeys” portfolio rolling out in the coming months include:
• “Star Wars Journeys: Attack of the Clones” • “Star Wars Journeys: Revenge of the Sith” • “Star Wars Journeys: A New Hope” • “Star Wars Journeys: The Empire Strikes Back” • “Star Wars Journeys: Return of the Jedi”
The Star Wars mobile apps portfolio will continue to evolve with the addition of an all-new category of user generated creativity apps, leading up to the release of Star Wars Episode VII. The new suite of apps will offer fans unrivaled storytelling experiences by providing them unprecedented access to the rich Star Wars universe they know and love. Through technology and innovative storytelling tools, these new apps will deliver deeper engagement and unlock imaginations in only a way Disney can.
About Disney Publishing Worldwide Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) is the world's largest publisher of children's books, magazines, and Apps, with over 700 million products sold each year. DPW consists of an extensive worldwide books and magazines licensing structure as well as vertically integrated publishing imprints, including Disney-Hyperion and Disney Press in the U.S. and Disney Libri in Italy. DPW's digital products include bestselling eBook titles and award-winning original apps. Disney English is DPW's English language learning business, which includes learning centers in China and a worldwide retail-licensing program. Headquartered in Glendale, California, DPW publishes books, magazines, and digital products in 85 countries in 75 languages. For more information visit www.disneypublishing.com.
About Lucasfilm Ltd. Lucasfilm Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is a global leader in film, television and digital entertainment production. In addition to its motion-picture and television production, the company's activities include visual effects and audio post-production, cutting-edge digital animation, interactive entertainment software, and the management of the global merchandising activities for its entertainment properties including the legendary STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES franchises. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in northern California.