Star Wars: Trench Run Brings the Force to the iPhone


Star Wars: Trench Run is finally here and this thing is utterly beautiful, packed with authentic audio and video from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and boasting impressive gameplay visuals.

Trench Run is based around the Rebel assault on the Death Star at the end of George Lucas’ classic 1977 movie. Piloting an X-Wing fighter, you begin the game high above the Empire’s dreaded Death Star in an aggressive dogfight with TIE fighters. Once you’ve dispatched them, it’s time to descend into that famous trench and make your approach to a small (two meter wide) thermal exhaust port, which, if memory serves, you’ll find right below the main port.

Oh, and, the shaft is ray-shielded so you’ll need to hit it directly with proton torpedoes. The doubting Dodonna’s amongst you might think that impossible — even for an iPhone — but, y’know, womp rats, T-16’s and all that.

The game starts with a fierce dogfight with TIE fighters above the dreaded Death Star…

…and culminates in the famous trench run.

Trench Run uses the iPhone’s accelerometers to great effect. I’m usually wary of extensive tilt-control. That might be because I’m just rubbish, or because developers sometimes use accelerometers unnecessarily. In Trench Run it’s not too bad, and there are options for adjusting pitch and sensitivity.

The on-screen controls are cleverly implemented; there are no virtual buttons cluttering the screen. Instead, the two main controls (Force Power for slow motion and, of course, Fire) are activated by pressing the left or right hand sides of the screen. Easy.

The few controls are activated by hitting large areas of the screen

Video sequences of the X-Wings approaching the Death Star (S-foils in attack position, naturally) and the spectacular explosion of the Death Star itself (the 1997 bang, by the way) really help set the scene. But it’s John Williams’ breathtaking score that puts you slap bang in the middle of the action.

All Wings report in…

One quibble; the difficulty levels are a bit… odd. The easiest level was selected for me at installation so I bumped it up a level (usually labeled “Normal” but Trench Run goes directly from Easy to Medium.) So, with Medium selected, I dove in… and failed. I’m normally good at this type of thing but after 15 minutes of failure I was starting to hate this game. So I tried again on “Easy.”

10 minutes later I had destroyed the Death Star and defeated the evil Empire. I had finished the whole game. See, once the dogfight’s over, the actual trench run is appallingly easy. THQ Wireless say the game has “tons of replay value” but when the difference between “Easy” and “Medium” is actually “Pointless” and “Practically Impossible” I don’t see myself playing this again any time soon. (Now in your best Yoda voice, croak “That is why you fail.”)

THQ also says there are hidden features in the game. You could always stretch out with your fingers and ask Google what they are, but that’s probably the path to the Dark Side.

If you love Star Wars, this is a game you should own. I doubt it’s worth the $4.99 asking price, but hey, there’s profit to be had, and Lucasfilm ain’t finished beating this Tauntaun just yet.

Star Wars Trench Run is out now. Go buy it – and may the Force be with you.

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