Star Wars: Force Collection brings the card battle craze to a galaxy far far away

Mobile trading card games are a hot commodity right now. One could say they are a force to be reckoned with. As any nerd, gamer, or pop culture enthusiast will tell you, there are few forces stronger than Star Wars. So, it’s not too surprising to see the announcement of Star Wars: Force Collection, Konami’s upcoming card battle game for iPad, iPhone, and Android. We got an early look at the game, and the force does indeed feel strong in this one.

It’s easy for developers to simply cut and paste other mobile card games and slap their own art over it. And Star Wars is a popular enough franchise where it would be easy make such a move. Fortunately, Konami is fully aware of this hurdle and has set out to make Force Collection a game that’s unique, fun, and just so happens to have a Star Wars theme.

Star Wars: Force Collection

A lot of common card battle elements show up in Force Collection, andmost of them work as expected. Throughout the game, you’ll collect cards of various sorts and each of those cards has its own array of stats. Attack, defense, and HP are all standard fare. Each card also comes with a “cost” stat, that determines how much space it will take up. The most unique stat is the “range” indicator, determining the distance at which a card performs best.

Range is important because in a standard battle, the deck of cards is arranged on a three-by-six grid. Similar to eighteenth century warfare, the cards will march toward each other, and if one line is completely destroyed, the next will step forward. Cards with better range will be able to attack from longer distances, useful for mounting a fast-striking offense or providing a relentless defense.

Of course, players can’t just fill all eighteen slots from the get go. Instead, each card has an assigned cost and each player has a capacity. While the total cost can never exceed the capacity, players can increase this amount by leveling up from playing. Even though the actual battles occur passively, success requires careful planning of both offensive and defensive formations. Konami has even implemented a replay feature so you can watch past battles and see where your formation needs adjustments.

Star Wars: Force Collection

Another area where Konami is attempting to make Star Wars: Force Collection unique is the game’s easily-accessible single player mode. While the game covers various storylines from all six films, we were only given the chance to check out selections from A New Hope. Instead of directly re-enacting those scenes, you’ll take control of an outsider who speaks with characters then enters a combat scene. Single player combat is a simple process of choosing a card, then tapping on-screen enemies who will occasionally drop cards and other goodies. The process seems rather simple, but an energy system makes single player look to be great for short sessions.

Where the demonstration really started to shine was with the balance of the force. Every great Star Wars game emphasizes the balance between the light side and the dark side, and Force Collection looks to be no different. When playing single player, you’ll eventually encounter boss battles. The battle we got to check out was a fight between Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker. Given the choice of which side to support, we obviously went with the Fett man, and after a battle with Luke, we joined the dark side, which changed the menu’s color scheme and music. More importantly, your alignment influences how you play the game. Light and dark side character cards will gain bonuses if they match their owner’s alignment, meaning it may be smarter to pass on a stronger card in favor of one that will get a boost.

Star Wars: Force Collection

A lot of the other expected features are still present in Force Collection. You can buy new packs of cards with free and premium currencies. Each card has a rarity level and you can even see how players recently acquired rare cards. As you play single and multiplayer battles, you can collect pieces of blueprints which are used to build vehicles from the movies. There’s also promise of benefits from connecting with your friends, widespread in-game events where light and dark side players face off, and a goal system that helps players earn goodies for use in-game. Players will also be allow to sell off unwanted cards to make quick currency, as well as trade their inventory with other players. Some of these features may not seem all too special on paper, but our limited hands-on time leaves us optimistic that they can all work together and produce a fun experience.

There looks to be a ton of depth to Star Wars Force Collection, and Konami is attempting to grab players who don’t just like Star Wars, but card games as well. Will it be enough to stand out among an ever-growing sea of other card battle titles? Only time will tell. Star Wars Force Collection launches on September 4 for iOS and Android.