Star Wars: Force Arena is a new mobile title releasing soon for both iOS and Android platforms, developed by Netmarble, the same developer behind the successful and popular Marvel Future Fight, also available on the same platforms. I point this out because I genuinely enjoy Marvel Future Fight, which is what caused me take notice of Star Wars: Force Arena in the first place.
That said, the two games aren?t comparable in how they play. Star Wars: Force Arena is essentially following the Clash Royale formula, but with a slight twist. In addition to deploying A.I. controlled units across two lanes in an effort to destroy your enemy?s turrets and base, you?ll also have direct control over a hero unit. This unit is represented by a known character from the Star Wars universe, like Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett, Emperor Palpatine, and so on. You?ll tap the screen to move the character about, auto-target nearby enemies or select a target by tapping them, and you can also employ a powerful ability tied to a small cooldown timer.
This hero unit is essentially the lead character in your deck. The deck is comprised of all the smaller units you don?t directly control, and can be edited as you gain more cards, typically locked behind your overall rank for the season. Season?s play out quickly, currently at a week or two, and rank resets but cards earned are not lost. In order to actually get cards, you?ll need to open packs, typically earned by victories. There are smaller card packs doled out over time throughout the day as well. And of course, you can spend money on in-game currency to purchase more packs.
The in-app purchase mechanic of Star Wars: Force Arena doesn?t seem too bad, compared to other like-minded titles. You can earn a pretty steady stream of cards by earning wins, and matches are short enough that losses don?t feel like a major setback. But you do earn in-game currency at a snail?s pace, so actually buying packs with crystals earned would take quite a while. Having only played a week or so, I?m content to stick with the F2P version of the game, but I could see myself dropping $20 on it here and there in the future.
While the game isn?t officially out, there have been soft launches in other regions, so I?ve not had much trouble getting into 1 vs. 1 matches with other players. Overall Star Wars: Force Arena seems ready to go in that regard, it takes seconds to get a match started, and the game doesn?t have much trouble linking me up with like-ranked players. The only thing I?ve not really been able to sample so far is the 2 vs. 2 mode, which is why I?m holding off on assigning a review score at the moment.
Another area that Star Wars: Force Arena manages to set itself apart from Clash Royale is with its visuals. Netmarble has done a pretty good job of representing the Star Wars universe in a MOBA like setting, with 3D character models that are pretty well detailed for a mobile game, much like they did with Future Fight. The camera opts for a zoomed in approach while playing, but you have a small mini-map so you can track both lanes, and it?s easy enough to move the camera around by swiping the screen.
All in all, I?m so far impressed with Star Wars: Force Arena, and look forward to playing more. I?ll have an actual review up in the near future that delves into the gameplay side of things, but I see no reason why those that enjoy Clash Royale and Star Wars shouldn?t give this one a go at launch.