Commuter Gamer focuses on mobile games that can easily be played in bite-sized chunks. Please game responsibly and never while driving!
Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions is the latest mobile game set in the Star Wars universe. I haven’t been a big fan of most of the other mobile Star Wars games I’ve tried, so I was a little hesitant to give it a try, but Star Wars Rebels did not let me down. The game is available on iOS, Google, and Windows.
You start the game as Ezra, and, as you play through the tutorial, you learn the game mechanics and meet the cast of characters, all of whom will be familiar to Star Wars Rebels fans. One of the first things that struck me about the game is that the voice acting is really well done. One of the biggest turn offs on some of the other Star Wars games for me was poor voice casting for known characters.
GameplayThe core of the game is pretty easy and straightforward–you move Ezra through a side-scrolling world, jumping and shooting, and collecting Hope (think “coins”). The controls require two hands on your device and work very well–movement with your left thumb, jumping, aiming, and shooting with your right. Most of the enemies are droids and Stormtroopers of various flavors and increasing difficulty. As for target age, if you think your kids are old enough for Star Wars Rebels, then this game is appropriate for them.
Missions are broken up into fairly small chunks, which is great. You can complete a single mission in just a minute or two, perfect for quick gaming while still feeling like you’re making progression. For a gamer on the go, this is essential. As an added bonus, the entire game, with the exception of in-app purchases, works even without any signal at all. This is very rare these days and earns this game a huge gold star from me.
When travelling through missions, be on the look out for secret areas. They get you a bunch of Hope and are very reminiscent of the secret areas in many classic games like Super Mario Bros.
There are several rewards earned when completing missions–Hope, spins, and buildings for Haven. Your goal is to build up Haven to 100% completion to shelter as many refugees as possible and to be a beacon against the Empire.
Like many mobile games today, Star Wars Rebels also rewards the player by assigning challenges. By completing these challenges you earn more of the above types of rewards, or unlock characters and upgrades.
The secondary gameplay takes place at Haven–your rebel base. This is where you interact with the other Star Wars Rebels characters. Each character has a different function which adds a little more flavor to the base than it just being a management menu. Zeb builds structures in Haven, Hera pilots Ghost to take you on missions, Kanan trains you to buff up your skills, Sabine decorates your base with graffiti, and Chopper is where you spin the prize wheel when you earn spins.
Haven is also where you interact with refugees you have saved on missions. By spending Hope on your refugees, you help them with whatever difficulty they are having which then unlocks and improves your character’s skills. Calling it Hope instead of some sort of money is the tiniest bit cheesy, but it’s also nice to not have characters constantly throwing money at the problem. The fact that you can’t buy Hope with real-world money is also a big plus to me.
The game does a really great job of showing you where you are in the game and what else there is to do and collect. As a completionist and a data geek, these types of screens are really awesome and something I wish more mobile games did. The Haven status screen shows you how much of Haven is built, how many levels you’ve unlocked, your total Hope earned, Stormtrooper helmets collected (which unlock graffiti), secret areas found, and which NPCs you’ve discovered.
The citizen stats shows you how many times you’ve helped a citizen against the Empire and which citizens you have rescued.
The enemy stats gives you counts of how many enemies you’ve defeated, your shot accuracy, bosses defeated, and the different types of enemies you’ve encountered.
The last screen is the boost stats which show you what characters, boosts, and upgrades are available and which you’ve obtained. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate these screens that help provide the player with a guide. We’ve all come to expect these sorts of tracking screens from PC and console games, but they always seem to be left off of mobile games.
As I already mentioned, you can’t purchase Hope, the in-game currency, with real-world money and this makes me very happy. What that leaves for in-app purchases are some content packs and extras that are by no means required to enjoy the game; however, for fans who want to play all the characters and all the missions, purchases are required.
There are three content packs for the game. The Master Pack includes both Kanan and Sabine as playable characters and unlocks all 31 levels of the game for $4.99, the Jedi Pack only unlocks Kanan, his 15 levels, and the TIE Fighter boss for $2.99, and the Mandalorian Pack only unlocks Sabine, her 15 levels, and the TIE Bomber and AT-DP bosses. Obviously if you’re planning on wanting everything, the Master Pack is the better deal.
There is also a current special available for a limited time (the game does not say how limited) for $4.99. The Founder’s Pack is essentially the same as the Master Pack with the addition of five unique graffiti stencils for Haven. Again, if you want to play the whole game, right now this is your best bet as you get a little extra above and beyond the Master Pack.
The last type of in-app purchases are the Extras. For $2.99 you can double the amount of Hope you collect. This feels a lot more reasonable to me than games where they ask up to $100 for in-game currency that doesn’t go very far. Then there are also boost packs for both Kanan and Sabine, but I’m not sure how much they cost or the details as they aren’t available unless you’ve unlocked those characters by purchasing the associated Content Pack.
If you’re a fan of Star Wars, and especially if you’re a fan of Star Wars Rebels, I highly recommend downloading this game. It’s really fun, easy to play, and can be played in very small chunks anywhere you go.
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