Having played a beta Star Wars: Tiny Death Star two weeks ago, I was eager to see if the folks at Nimblebit fixed all its bugs. A merging of the Star Wars and Tiny Tower worlds seemed like the perfect marriage, and the app did show promise during its beta mode. But the dress rehearsal is over, and now the game can be judged as a finished product. If all those kinks were fixed, this 8-bit driven journey would be a trip worth taking.

Unlike many Star Wars titles, you are not some perplexed soul choosing between the light or dark side of the Force. You won't be piloting a tie fighter or go bounty hunting. Maybe you were an adventurer in some other life, but with Star Wars: Tiny Death Star you are simply a good soldier out to do the Emperor and Darth Vader's bidding. Since a bloody, intergalactic war needs funding, it's your task to open up businesses and residences within a building.

As your money grows from rent and selling food and merchandise, you'll use the currency to build even more floors, and eventually those profits will trickle straight down to the Death Star's spending account. Basically you're in charge of the making money for the Dark Side, and whether it's more important to build up a population, establish eateries, or simply follow orders, those choices are entirely up to you.

The control mechanic mainly relies on touching or tapping your screen to carry out your multitude of commands. Visitors flock in and out of your building, and you will press an arrow up button to lead them to their intended floor. There is no real control challenge behind this game. The main goal is to build as many floors as possible and keep that money flowing.

Speaking of flow, credit goes to Nimblebit for a spot on rendition of John Williams iconic Star Wars score. Various iterations of the film's theme is featured throughout the app, so the music never gets redundant. If you want to hear The Imperial March find its musical footing in a pixelated world, now's your chance.

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star excels in all its subtle nuances which you may not even catch the first time around. While you're spending money to build your workout center, you may  not notice the green alien who's furiously running on the gym's treadmill. Each person who lives in your building also has their own hopes and ambitions, so if you have them quit one gig and land them their dream job, their production will increase. With so many floors to eventually manage and tasks to accomplish, you may find yourself lost in the weeds for the first hour or so, but that's one of the app's many appeals.

Although it may not be the most intellectually challenging app out on the market, the sheer busy body nature of the game play, along with its beautiful 8-bit visuals and perfect integration of the Star Wars culture, makes this app a first rate experience. It's also one of those rare apps that doesn't get lost as a free to play title. Although you can always purchase premiums to speed up your tower experience, you'll have a great time building your empire piece by piece even without spending a nickel.

If you're waiting for your select projects to be completed, I suggest clicking on the menu and heading over to the "Holonet," where the Death Star's "bitizens" post Facebook inspired status updates. Due to my inquisitive and voyeuristic nature, I've also spent way too much time clicking on the bios of my various bitizens to see how I can either change their costumes or actually land them their dream job.

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star has fixed its bugs and has emerged as a thoroughly engaging and addicting app. Don't be surprised if you spend way too much time making money for Darth Vader and good ole Pakpatine. This time, the force is definitely on their side.


App Store Link: Star Wars: Tiny Death Star for iPhone & iPad | By Lucasfilm International Services, Inc. | Price: Free | Version: 1.1 | 60.0 MB | Rating 9+

9.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating