If you're fan of Star Wars Force Unleashed on other platforms (Wii, PSP, DS, Xbox 360 and PS3), the iPhone's version may be more than a little bit disappointing. It is basically six levels/chapters of gameplay drawn out over a seriously abridged version of the original game's story. An adventure game story -- wherein you would think to find adventure game style gameplay. Unfortunately this is not the case, but Force Unleashed still manages to be a fair bit of fun. Considering it is now $1.99 instead of $9.99, you may even find it to be worth your while.
Star Wars Force Unleashed follows the story of Darth Vader's secret apprentice in a plot contrived by the dread Lord of the Sith to eventually oust the Emperor and take over the Galaxy. The apprentice is ordered to hunt down and kill rogue Jedi, and to hide his presence by killing any Imperials who encounter him along the way. This leads the budding but conflicted young Sith warrior on a killing spree where no one is safe -- broken up by fights with Jedi and Sith masters -- on his way to confront and attempt to kill the Emperor.
While Force Unleashed is one of the few iPhone games that is seamless in both standard and landscape modes (indeed, it automatically rotates without causing issues), gameplay is not what you would expect from an adventure game. You have no direct control over the character's movements and there is no exploration involved. You simply jump from cutscene to cutscene and watch your character run on his own to the next battle. Once there, you will need to perform a series of swipe patterns to fight back. This involves you quickly swiping and swooping your fingers over the screen in predetermined shapes and squiggles to engage Force powers. This can actually be a lot of fun, in short bursts, but the inability to actually play through the game's story on your own, or control the character in any meaningful way leaves the iPhone version of Star Wars: Force Unleashed a bit wanting.
When Force Unleashed was first released in 2008, it was considered fairly impressive graphically -- but this was mostly in comparison to games on other mobile phone platforms. In actuality, the close-up graphics of the characters are sub-par compared to more recent iPhone games, though some of the backgrounds can be quite beautiful.
The sound in Force Unleashed is... unfortunate. There is no voiced character dialogue in the cutscenes or regular gameplay, and the music is Legend-of-Zelda-style midi fare. The sound effects are decent and familiar, however, and you are given the option to turn all sounds off, if you like.
The fact that Star Wars The Force Unleashed was originally priced at $9.99 is an affront to the general peoples of the world at large, but at $1.99, it is just fun enough to be (almost) worth it. Even if you can't actually control your character's movements at all, drawing squiggly Force powers all over the screen as fast as you can is actually kind of fun -- and even abridged, the story is still engaging. And, well... it is Star Wars, after all. 2.5 out of 5.