Galaxy of Heroes

Review by Brian

Publisher

Electronic Arts

Year of release

24 November 2015

Platform

Android 4.1 and up / iOS 8.0 or later

Price

Free but with in-app purchases

Star Wars is more than just media we consume. It’s also video games, podcasts (ahem), cosplay, collectables, conventions and Facebook pages and groups. It’s more than movies; it’s culture. And part of that culture I wish to share with you here.

By request, let’s discuss Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes!

Galaxy of Heroes is a phone/tablet app game, free to play, available on Android and IOS devices. It is, quite frankly, a well-tried framework on which a Star Wars skin is hung. But oh, what a skin it is.

Players take on the role of a gambler in a cantina, playing holographic war games on tabletop battlefields. A player assembles a five unit “squad” with which she does battle against other squads.

There are numerous routes to progress in. Light Side and Dark Side battles offer two different campaign modes in which players progress through a series of battles in familiar terrain from the films, the Clone Wars cartoons and Rebels. These campaigns require a squad consisting entirely of Dark or Light Side units.

Cantina Battles offer another campaign mode in which players may assemble a squad of any allegiance. Darth Vader and Princess Leia may team up with two Jawas and General Grievous, for instance!

Each unit is acquired by earning (or buying, there is always that option but it is never required) “shards” sufficient to unlock the unit. Some units are only available, or initially available, through special events.

Building a squad can be as simple as slapping together the only five units you have and running with it. It can also be as complex as spending weeks gathering shards to unlock all five Jawas (Again, ahem)

EA offers regular and varied events, which offer the chance to earn rare character shards and materials for unit gear. For instance, currently ongoing is an event to earn shards for Ahsoka Tano (Fulcrum), as opposed to the existing Ahsoka Tano Clone Wars unit that has been available from early in the game’s life.

Many units have synergy with other units, which can become quite in depth. K-2SO, for instance, has a special attack which, if Cassian Andor is present, when used, will trigger Cassian to assist with a bonus attack. A Jawa has an attack which will call another ally to assist as well, but if that ally is another Jawa or a Droid a third ally will be called.

Many of your favourite characters are present and obtainable, with nice touches added to gameplay which nod cleverly at what we know of the characters. General Grievous has an ability which, when he is reduced to half-life, dispels all debuffs (negative modifiers imposed by your opponent’s units) on him and forces an ally unit to Taunt, meaning they now draw all fire from opponents (giving Grievous a bit of breathing space). Old Ben Kenobi, when killed, buffs (enhances) all allies quite heavily, referring nicely to his sacrifice on the Death Star.

Gameplay is standard for this sort of game. Each battle costs an amount of energy, which replenishes over time. Energy can be purchased in batches using “Crystals”, which are available through a number of means within the game or through the ever present in-app purchase option. A number of daily achievements are available, giving players something to do when they are at a loss for some goal to seek. Which means you will not find yourself at a loss, I assure you.

Recent upgrades have launched a new section of the cantina, where you can try your hand at ship to ship combat. Gameplay and structure is very similar to standard unit games explained above, but with the added twist that you must first have the relevant character as a unit associated with the ship. For instance to have Slave I you must also have Boba Fett as a unit character. You can increase the strength of the ships by collecting “Blueprints” (the ship equivalent to shards), and ships are further enhanced by having characters who are on higher levels. This feature plays into the wider, overall, theme of collecting shards to obtain unit characters.

I invite each of you, if you are looking to add to your Star Wars App collections, give Galaxy of Heroes a try. I tried it on a lark, and I have been most engaged.