Lego Star Wars: Microfighters Review (iOS)
If you’re a Star Wars fan, or just don’t know you’re one yet, then the arrival of Lego Star Wars: Microfighters in the App Store should cause you a great deal of excitement. While you might have played other Lego games in the past, Microfighters is of a decidedly different breed in that it’s more akin to a top-scrolling shooter than the traditional platforming adventure games. The only question is if it packs the same amount of brick-blasting fun.
Lego Star Wars: Microfighters puts you in control of some of the franchise’s most iconic starships. This means you’ll get the chance to pilot the X-Wings and TIE Fighters you’ve always wanted to fly. There are 18 levels in all, spread across the planets of Endor, Yavin, Hoth and Geonosis. I personally geeked out a little when I started shooting at AT-ATs on the planet of Hoth. Whether you’re a fan of the Clone Wars saga or the original trilogy, you’ll find something to excite you.
And why shouldn’t Lego Star Wars: Microfighters excite you? There’s plenty to do in this tiny game, and you can play on either side of the Force. Whatever side you choose affects the types of starships that will be available to you, but all of the choices just seem to be cosmetic, since there don’t seem to be any differences in the way each ship moves or attacks. So really, you can just pick the style of ship that suits you the best. Your side of the Force also has exclusive missions, so keep that in mind if you plan to do the famous Trench Run.
As in past Lego games, you’ll be able to collect Lego studs that are dropped by destroyed enemies. Every now and then, you’ll pick up Power Bricks from fallen enemies. Studs act as your currency and can be used before missions to purchase various power-ups, depending on what you’ve unlocked. You’ll unlock more power-ups to help you in battle the more Power Bricks you collect, so it’s a good idea to blast all of the enemies that you can in the hopes of getting them to drop.
Controls in Lego Star Wars: Microfighters are dead simple. You drag your finger around the screen to move your starship around while flying towards the top of the screen. The act of pressing your finger down also causes you to fire all of your weapons, so it’s a good idea to just keep firing. While you might be tempted to use your thumbs as if you were playing with a virtual thumbstick, believe me when I say that using the very tip of your forefinger is a lot more accurate and will let you see more of the immediate area around your ship, just in case any errant enemy lasers come near you.
While Microfighters isn’t as tough as your run-of-the-mill shoot ‘em up, you’ll still find that the screen will fill with projectiles and enemies. If you have deft fingers, you’ll be able to weave your way in and out of all of the enemy fire. If not, then you’ll die often. The trick to staying alive is using the fingertip control method and collecting as many studs as you can so that you’re able to purchase an extra heart at the start of each mission. This extra bit of life can go a long way in keeping you alive. You’ll also be able to stay alive long enough to compound your power-ups so that a hailstorm of neon death streams forth from your cannons to atomize your foes. Learn to repeat the pattern enough and you’ll make it through most levels with at least two of your lives left.
The best thing about Microfighters, besides the addictive gameplay, is how sharp the visuals and sounds are. Though cartoony and small, the Lego Star Wars minifigs and structures look fantastic, even from a top-down perspective. All of the Star Wars trappings are there, from the technicolor explosions to the screen wipe transitions. The attention to detail is great, but it’s even better when it comes to the sound. The combination of Lego pieces clattering and being collected, coupled with the Star Wars “pew pew” laser fire make for a symphony of special effects for the ears.
Lego Star Wars: Microfighters has plenty of great content for a such a small, inexpensive package. You can play it for bits of a time and progress at your own pace, without the need for pesky in-app purchases. This is a solid title that gives you all kinds of bang for your piddling amount of buck.