We may have to wait until the end of the year to see Episode VIII, but you can get a new Star Wars experience on your mobile phone right now.
Publisher Netmarble launched Star Wars: Force Arena today for iOS and Android. You can download it from the Apple App Store or the Google Play market for free. As I previously reported after playing an early version of Force Arena, it mixes together elements of developer Supercell’s hyperpopular Clash Royale mobile hit with the hero concept from multiplayer online battle arenas like Dota 2 or League of Legends. By combining those concepts with the beloved Star Wars license, Netmarble could have a major hit in the $36.6 billion gaming market.
In Force Arena, you build decks of units as either an agent of the Rebellion or the Empire. You build these decks under the leadership of a hero character. So, for example, one of your empire decks might have you in control of Emperor Palpatine in charge of units like stormtroopers, AT-ST walkers, and a Devaronian mercenary. You can drop those units into battle as long as you have enough energy (which is always replenishing), but you’re also always in control of your hero. That’s the one major departure from Clash Royale, and it adds a layer of complexity that I’ve enjoyed in my time with Force Arena.
Of course, in this free-to-play game, players can always spend money to unlock more characters and units. It was always discouraging to get demolished as Han Solo because the other player had already unlocked an AT-ST, and you’re still just using rebel soldiers.
“We are thrilled to introduce Star Wars: Force Arena to Star Wars fans and mobile gamers alike, whether they defend the Empire or take up the Rebel cause,” Netmarble marketing chief Seungwon Lee said in a statement. “Players can collect their favorite Star Wars characters including Darth Vader, Han Solo, and Jyn Erso to create their ideal battle squad and face off in real time within the Star Wars universe.”
The game has over 80 characters from the Star Wars universe, and — as Lee mentioned — that includes heroes from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. That should attract diehard fans of the franchise, and the game may have enough depth to keep those players engaged and spending money.