Each side has access to various materials, keeping things parallel to the Star Wars story. If you represent the Empire, you start out with access to more advanced vehicles and machinery, and if you chose to fight with the Rebels, you're joined by more notable characters like Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca. Though it might seem unbalanced — the Empire has the might, while the Rebels are more on the scrappy side — this doesn't seem unfair during gameplay. Each side has its own strengths.
Stay on target
No matter which side you choose, you act as commander of your army, and you're responsible for deploying troops, building up your weapons, and strengthening your base. In between missions, you'll want to replenish supplies before you begin again, which brings us to the currency system.
Star Wars: Commander is a free-to-play game with in-app purchases, which are mostly there to speed things along. You can earn all three in-game currencies as you complete missions, but you use each currency for different tasks — mostly credits, which you use to upgrade and invest in your troops. Training new troops takes time — actual time — and you can't complete missions until training is complete. That means you'll often have to wait a couple of minutes until you can play again. However, paying a couple of crystals speeds that along, and you can play again instantly. You can, of course, spend real-world money to purchase more resources, but Star Wars: Commander gives you plenty of opportunity to earn currency on your own...if you have enough patience.
As for gameplay, you can either play through the game's storyline — the chapters and missions — or attack a rival. If you attack a rival, Star Wars: Commander pairs you up against a player on the opposite team, and you can battle each other in real time. (That's why it's a good idea to keep your own base protected and up to date.) Another cool feature is the ability to join a squad, which is a group of players on the same side. Squad members can link up within the game to chat, trade troops, and visit each other's bases.
Whatever side you pick, Star Wars: Commander has a lot to like. It's easy for beginners to pick up, has enough depth to keep experienced gamers immersed, and is rich in story detail. The goal was to provide something for fans of all parts of the Star Wars universe, and I think it delivers spectacularly.
Star Wars: Commander is available in the App Store for the iPhone and iPad. The developers plan to bring it to Android eventually, too.
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