Are you ready to stand up against the Empire and join the rebels? Become a galactic hero in Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions [Free]; a full paced action platformer based on the new Star Wars Rebels animated series which is set 5 years before Episode IV of the movie franchise. Blasters, light sabers, mines and vehicles in a side scrolling platform action adventure... there’s finally a Star Wars game on the app store worth savoring.

It's an exciting time in the Star Wars universe, these are the dark times; the Jedi's have fallen and the empire is wrecking havoc and hunting down the last of the Jedi. The sound effects, music and the atmosphere take us closer to the Star Wars we love. It's just the thing to fill the gap while we wait for J. J. Abrams to finish up “The Force Awakens” later in the year. True fans now have a new iOS game to play based on the Disney XD series and it's phenomenal.

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There have been a lot of Star Wars titles released on IOS over the years and lets be honest not all of them have been amazing. Disney Interactive and indie developer Gigataur, who have had the fortunate success of working with the largest entertainment companies in the world including Marvel and Mattel, have collaborated on Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions. The game is big budget and top quality! The graphics, which are metal optimized for IOS, are gorgeous and the game play is furious and well paced. The platformer is like no other, and the world is realistic with powerful visual effects giving players a life like and rare Star Wars Rebels experience.

You join a group of rebels who have come together to fight against the Empire and save the citizens of Lothal. You start out the game as Ezra, with a blaster for a weapon. The controls are smart and easy to use; there's a one speed run, jump, double jump to get those hard to reach objects, and a 'hold and drag' virtual joystick which you use to aim at enemies, alarms, droids, fight your way past hordes of Imperial enemies, dodge TIE fighters, blast storm troopers, and drive an Imperial AT-MP walker, the highlight of the 3rd free level. The short movie clips in between levels are also excellent, and help draw you into the story, explaining the missions ahead with voice overs and animated action from the TV show.

To maximize how well you do try practicing firing while moving and jumping, it's a little tricky to master but once you get your fingers trained you'll be able to easily avoid blaster fire and enemies while taking them out. Most games like this require you to hit the fire button continually, but this one has auto fire enabled so you can concentrate on your aim. Blaster fire also ricochets off platforms which can be really handy for hard to reach enemies. Make sure you don't move too fast through the levels, if you find yourself ahead of an enemy then destroying them involves changing direction; which makes shooting really difficult and you can find yourself loosing energy really quickly if you're surrounded. The mines are also a lot of fun to use and master, which come in really handy in later levels. Another cool feature is infinite ammo, you can fire and wield your light saber forever without running out, so it pays to keep firing most of the time ahead of you to clear the way as you go. Also keep a look out for alarms; leaving them functional brings endless enemies your way.

The free to play game initially gives you 4 levels to get you trained up, and then you can unlock 31 more levels with 50+ unique challenges behind a pay wall. The bulk of the game is locked behind this purchase, including additional missions and grueling boss battles. After playing through I can confirm it's worth the US$4.99 to unlock. This bundle also unlocks two more characters for play: Kanan Jarrus and Sabine Wren who are clearly the greats of the show. If you're not willing to delve into the full unlock there are 2 half packs, the Jedi and Mansalorian packs, for about half the price which unlock 15 levels each. The levels past the pay wall are brilliant and full of amazing content. The fight against the TIE fighter (below) is a major highlight not to be missed. You also don't get into the true Jedi Light Saber fighting until you get past the pay wall. That said, the first 4 levels are still worth playing just on their own, there is a good hour or so of trooper blasting, walker driving entertainment to get you hooked. There are also some cool free training challenges, you can find with the character Kanan next to the ship in the sanctuary, if you want to try out the light saber and mines before unlocking all the levels.

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TIE Fighter Boss Battle

The developers have been really careful to make it clear that Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions holds IAPs, it is stated in the App Store description multiple times and there is a warning screen on first start up which cautions parents and allows them to turn off the IAPs which I thought was really responsible in this age of IAP excess.

The other side to Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions is the building of your rebel haven. I know, it sounds like a typical freemium game where you earn coins to build homes; but this one is a bit different and the IAPs are not overly intrusive. In each level you collect Hope Emblems, the game’s main currency, while you work at collecting three gold medals scattered in each stage. These medals give you additional collection goals. In between missions, you return to the Rebel Haven, which can be customized with shelters, towers, generators, satellite dishes, a droid factory and more. The more shelters you build and decorate, the more citizens you can save from the Empire. Saving people gives you a chance to unlock new abilities like upgraded weapons, and other levels and goods. It adds another layer to the game, but to be honest I found it to be an unwanted distraction from the main platformer action, and often requires you to complete dull tasks to unlock levels and other features. It feels like 2 games stuck together to try to jam some more IAPs in there. From a revenue generating perspective I guess it makes sense, it adds a level of replay value to the game, and a purpose to collect currency during game play.

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The IAPs, other than unlocking the level pay wall, consist mainly of boosts to help you in the action levels, giving you the ability to double the amount of Hope you gather, or extra light saber abilities; like block which makes a huge difference. It's basically a premium title that lets you try it out for free; a formula which I personally like over the typical freemium model. There’s no timers, or annoying ads within either to restrict game play. Expect to pay around $8 if you want to get the most out of game. It's worth unlocking all the levels and grabbing at least 1 of the boosts to help you through.

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Overview of game controls

There are many elements from some of my favorite Star Wars games of all time like Knights of the Old Republic, The Force Unleashed and Jedi Academy, the architecture of the buildings and the design of the game elements, environments and soundtrack holds true to the franchise, but don't be mislead this is a IOS platformer and controls and abilities have been simplified to improve ease of play. The light saber wields in quite a crude way compared to most other Star Wars games, and your chance to wield force powers like push, pull and lightning are few and far between; but these kind of elements do show up in enemies later in the game. As a platformer for IOS the game play is pretty smart and I found the controls easy to use. The only thing I'd change is the intro, which you have to skip through every time you start up the app; otherwise it's a great experience.

I originally intended to devote about an hour to Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions to try the game out but ended up playing it right through with only a few levels to go. It's such an amazing game, one of the best platformers I've played. I really enjoyed it and it's absolutely worth a look. If you're a fellow Star Wars fan, search your feelings you know it to be true, is there ever really a bad time to indulge in games paying homage to that galaxy far, far away?

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Maglor

    ★_ヽ ♬ ♪♪
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     ♬  > ⌒ヽ
       /   へ\ ♩♪
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       レ ノ   ☆つ
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     ( (ヽ Oh Yeah~~~!!!
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    ノ )  Lノ
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  • Archimedes

    Mfi controller comparability?

    • gringoire

      I tried it with my moga... Doesn't work unfortunatly.

      • http://buzzabit.com/aaron/ Aaron Sullivan

        Nuts. Was hoping. Still may give it a try after I catch up on the episodes. About 4 episodes in, the show gets much more solid and hooked me.

    • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

      Not yet, but since this is getting so much positive attention, I would not be surprised if it were added in later.

  • worldcitizen1919

    The one major flaw is that there aren't enough high quality Star Wars games like this. I hope they bring out more. Love everything about this its just so awesome. Just playing even losing gives you that WOW factor. Love the physics, love the graphics, the special effects the entire game is one of the best this year.

    • mattacuk

      I agree, this Star Wars game really does look awesome and the art style is amazing!

  • iAjent

    You mean 'The Force Awakens'. 'The Force Unleashed' was a series of games on the PS3 and X360.

    • Endscrypt

      Good but no were near what Star Wars Battlefronts is gonna be on the PS4, can't wait to see what a master dev team like Dice has done with the franchise.

  • Dailon Huskey

    I downloaded but haven't played it yet and now im scared off by auto firing I hate that a lot but still gonna give it a go as it sounds like the rest is good. In the end I don't see myself paying 5$ for a game with auto Fire it's like all the racing games with auto gas, it ruins the gameplay overall.

    • houseofg

      There is no auto fire.

    • andywynn

      It's not actually auto fire, its hold and drag to shoot. Which makes sense. Im not sure how you could run, push a direction to aim, and hold a button to shoot at the same time. Not enough thumbs.

      • Dailon Huskey

        Oh well that rocks then

      • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

        Yes, it works well. If you ever played Gunstar Heroes on the Sega Genesis, it's a little like that.

      • Dailon Huskey

        Really liking it!! I had downloaded just hadnt played it yet and I'm an old school gamer so this Speaks to those days with metal graphics that shine nicely oh and I'm a huge Star Wars fan so it's win win they will be getting my 5$

    • Brendan Charles

      No auto fire anywhere that I can see...

  • Toddias

    What I like is you get the chance to really experience the game before you decide if it is worth paying more for. There is almost no reason to not at least try this game and see for yourself if you like it.

    I ran into one potential bug and I am curious if anyone else has hit it: when moving the fire/aim virtual stick, if I bring it too far to the right (and hit the "edge" of my ipad screen), it gets stuck there. It just keep firing and is stuck at whatever angle I last had it in. It cannot be moved into any other position.

    The only way to fix it is to hit the pause button on the game and then resume play.

    It happens every single time I move the virtual stick too far to the right. Even after a full iPad reboot. Weird.

    Otherwise, I liked what I played but I am still not sure about buying the whole game. I feel like I might get tired of it after another 4, or so, levels.

    • Brendan Charles

      I also really like the "Try before you buy" model for this game. I tried it, liked it, and bought the level/character pack. It gave me a taste for the game but never seemed too pushy to upgrade or insulting my intelligence like most freemium games.

      That being said, I do worry about the price and scope of future updates. I was willing to drop 5 bucks for the game in it's current form- but unless future update have many more levels and content, I'm not sure if I'm willing on dropping another $5.

  • Brendan Charles

    I haven't watched the Rebels TV show so I don't have any attachment to the anything beyond the game- but I have to say I'm impressed. Platformers aren't even really my thing but this one is fun and has elements of casual games such as super crate Super Crate Box, which I love.

    My gripes with the game are my usual complaints with casual games like this. I hate that you have to 're-activate' upgrades to your character when you've already unlocked them. This kind of breaks any sense of progression and makes you feel like you're starting over from scratch every level. What's more is it's not super clear what unlocking the powers each level. They just kind of seem to randomly activate as I go through the level. Basically, if I unlock something like ricochet bullets- then it should be permanent- don't make it appear and disappear randomly every level. What, is my character forgetting how to do stuff?

    Also, very early on in the training mission for the jedi I can deflect incoming blaster fire- but it doesn't seem like I can do that in any of the levels. What gives?

    My only other complaint is that there just isn't enough content. I know it's still pretty early on and updates might bring more... but I'm worried it will all be paid. I've already paid $5.79 for extra stuff in the game, I'm just not sure future updates will warrant putting down any more money.

  • L0ck

    My friend Ben Jarris, please learn how to use apostrophes.

  • curtneedsaride

    For anyone who was confused about IAP, consider this game a PREMIUM game that you're allowed to try for free. The game is $5 to unlock all of the levels. The boost unlocks are not necessary. However, I got the master level unlock as well as the full boosts unlock, and I think the total was $9, plus tax. There are not consumables here, so it is in no way free-2-play. Free to try, yes. But this game is Premium done right! GOTY for me, so far.

  • iPhallex

    I would try this game, but the author's writing style is awkward and doesn't seem to match the other articles posted on this site. I only mention it because this review put me off; there's not really any reading flow -- all random facts/opinions thrown together in paragraphs without any direction... Also too many positive points one after another reads like this person was paid to write only good things about the game. Just another reader's opinion to consider.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Well, Ben IS a new writer, this is just his third review. I personally think it reads fine, but appreciate the feedback. Anyway, don't let that be the reason for not trying the game. It's awesome and free to try, there's no reason not to 🙂

    • curtneedsaride

      I'd write such a positive review, you would swear I worked for the developer as well. However, I can guarantee that I do not work for them. It took me a day or two to realize that the developer Gigataur used to be Glitch Soft, and indeed made that sweet X-Men game last year. And I would probably write a similarly positive review for that too. Seriously, their games make me as giddy as that 10-year-old Curtis, unwrapping a brand new Gameboy on my birthday.

  • TheNoobOfTheCentury

    Here's a question to Disney:

    WHY AREN'T YOU MAKING AWESOME GAMES BASED ON THE MOVIES?! THE MOVIES ARE MORE POPULAR THAN REBELS, AND WITH THIS A SUCCESS, MAKING A GAME BASED ON THE MOVIES OR CLASSIC CHARACTERS COULD MAKE TONS MORE $$$$$$$!!!!!!!

    • curtneedsaride

      We can only pray that they trust the Force and do so as the next installment draws near. Otherwise, to the dark side, I assume they've gone.

  • Dman

    I thought this was a GREAT REVIEW! Ben really explained things well and really gave a feel for what the game is like, it's mechanics, and it's "freemium" (really Premium) model. Well done and I hope to read more from Ben Jarris. 🙂

  • RunningWild

    Haven't seen Rebels and lost interest in SW after Clone Wars (CGI series) but Ben - you've just convinced me. Sold. Great review mate!

  • Sojourn

    Any word on iCloud progress syncing between devices?

  • Denis

    Promising but... On iPad, the movement control gets stuck on the left side and you can't come back on the right side. Ruins the game. Any body encountered the same bug ? Hope "they" will fix this soon ? How can one send bug report to the designer? I'd appreciate any help on this. My first time around here. Thanks.

  • star-affinity

    I feel the controls are a bit unresponsive, i.e. there's a slight "input lag" before the character responds to commands. The graphics also looks a bit blurry/low-res (no anti-alias) and the frame rate could be higher (playing on a iPad Air 2, so it should handle it).

    Other than this it seems like a fun game. 🙂

  • fuglyslutRG

    Did my comment get removed simply because I disagreed with he author...?

    • Shaun Musgrave

      It probably just got caught in the spam filter. It's over-zealous by necessity, and while the TA admins are pretty good about whitelisting real comments that it catches, they're all off work for the holiday weekend.

      • fuglyslutRG

        Thanks for the reply and explanation

  • staraffinity

    Played the game some more now and I cannot agree on the five starts. The game feels a bit like it goes in slow motion at times. The controls aren't responsive and the frame rate feels a bit low (like I mentioned before).

Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions Reviewed by Ben Jarris on . Rating: 5