If space is the final frontier, Stellar Wars is packing a full suitcase. An app which crams space shooters, real time strategy warfare, and role playing game elements all into a tight enchilada, it's an adventure filled with sensory overload. Ambition and scope, when combined with effective game play, can create an instant classic, and maybe this adventure is as stellar as its moniker.

Created by Liv Games, the folks behind Legendary Wars and Monster Wars, the storyline centers on robots who are trying to find their way in the galaxy, and their attempts at rebuilding a civilization are threatened by enemies all across this universe. Whether it's on the ground or out amongst the stars, these robots are in constant battle mode.

During each of their expeditions, they are on the hunt for nova crystals and ore, two materials which will help them create new fighting machines, upgrade their ships, and strengthen their weapon arsenal. As the leader of this motley crew, figuring out how you distribute these elements gives the title a solid strategic backbone. Is building a higher brand of robot more important than stocking your ships with bombs and missiles for future air strikes? Upgrades are always a welcome addition to any adventure, but in Stellar Wars one must actually think before they leap.

For example, it took me over an hour to clear a level since I didn't have enough ore to pay for my aerial attacks. To solve the problem, I retraced my steps and completed earlier missions to boost up my ore reserves and make the much needed purchases. Below are a few of my bots struggling against several purple monsters.

Since your ground battles will consist of learning proper formations in attacking these aliens, the combat style of Stellar Wars gets a tad overwhelming. Even though you simply touch and tap your targets to attack, properly vanquishing your foe isn't as simple as furiously touching your device. As the creatures attack, other units will be mining ore at a nearby area, and you must tap on that area to expedite their movements. Without ore, you can't build your army, and if these robots aren't created quickly they may get swarmed by the aliens, leading to the eventual destruction of your ship.

Choosing the right robots to battle these vicious hordes, as well as knowing when to pull the trigger on air strikes and organizing your troops in a strategically favorable fighting position are important skills to learn when clearing the game's more difficult levels. Since I've failed numerous times during my landing excursions, I'll often go back to my more successful flying missions and attempt to earn a little bit more ore before I head back out into the breach. Plus, the space shooter aspect of the app, though less complex, is just a nice breather from all that ground congestion.

To access your missions, you will click on a Stellar Maps icon, but if you get a bit combat weary you can always head over to the mother ship. Under this area, you'll spend your ore for your requisite upgrades. Most of these sections will have an unimaginative menu pop up and you'll pick your improvement by clicking on an icon. It's a slight touch, but having all several robots on the space ship floor is pretty cool. To start my improvements, I just touch one of my fighters and an upgrade tab appears for me to spend my 264 units of ore. The two nova blasts I carried were eventually spent on turning one of my robots into a more efficient 2.0 version.

Gamers who crave for a difficult epic should definitely check out Stellar Wars. I've spent several hours exploring this app and am still hooked by its surprising amount of depth, as most of its creative decisions have been right on point, including their decision to use electronic music for the game's soundtrack. I still haven't checked out Legendary Wars or Monster Wars, but considering the quality of this app, I probably won't be disappointed with either option. There's a whole wide world out there, but once you get into space, all bets are off. Whatever you do, just keep that ore flowing.


App Store Link: Stellar Wars for iPhone & iPad | By Liv Games | Price: $1.99 | Version: 1.0.5 | 195 MB | Rating 9+

7.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating