Game Reviews

Star Wars: Cantina

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Star Wars: Cantina

Crossovers aren't always a good thing.

Take sport utility vehicles. They don't handle as well as a true sports car and they can’t actually go off-road like a truck. The only thing such a hybrid is good at doing is leaving a carbon footprint equivalent to that of a small island nation.

Star Wars: Cantina is just such a hybrid. Billed as a casual crossover, its difficulty ramps up too much to be accessible. Simultaneously, its shallow arcade gameplay lacks hardcore appeal, making it an odd hybrid that won't satisfy either end of the spectrum.

Droid Dash

Cast as Nia Adea, you return to Mos Eisley to find your old friend Robb the bartender (see what they did there?) stricken with debt. The unforgiving loan shark has given him just 15 days to pay up, so naturally you offer to help.

It's similar to Diner Dash in that it’s all about time management. You seat guests, take orders, deliver correctly coloured drinks, and clear tables to make way for the next drinkers.

A diverse party of Star Wars characters frequent the cantina, all with their own quirks. For instance, moisture farmers can’t afford to tip well, but are very patient, whereas Rodian bounty hunters are more generous, but likely to start shooting patrons if left unattended for too long.

Impatience can be quelled by upgrading the cantina with everything from the ability to carry more drinks on your tray to a house band. Nia’s famous flavour syrup can also be added to drinks to improve tips, themselves directly proportional to the mood of your customers.

Additional longevity is provided by Endless Shift mode, in which the aim is simply to survive in the face of a never-ending stream of customers. Brilliantly, any upgrades earned in Career mode appear here too, enabling you to shoot for higher scores.

The dark side

From the very first level, it's intense. This wouldn’t be a problem were it not for the more forgiving games in this genre by which Star Wars: Cantina is so clearly inspired. Trying to keep on top of the constant influx of customers is stressful, let alone earning the required amount each day.

This is compounded by controls that feel inaccurate. Everything from movement to taking orders to picking up drinks is done by tapping the screen. Due to the diminutive nature of the glasses on screen, it can be difficult to see what you are carrying and unclear how many taps are required for a given action.

In the heat of a busy bar (which becomes visually crowded when all the tables are occupied), you find yourself accidentally throwing full drinks into the sink and delivering the wrong coloured beverages to customers. It's hugely frustrating.

Star Wars: Cantina struggles to find its identity and ends up less than the sum of its parts. The vivid graphics and easy-listening tunes lend a shallow appeal that doesn't cross over to gameplay. It's neither good at being casual nor hardcore, but excels at feeling forced.

Star Wars: Cantina

A charming entry to the genre, but one which adds nothing new and whose difficulty is pitched too high for its intended market