Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner: TIE Fighter combat meets augmented reality

This could prove to be one of the coolest "Star Wars" games ever--or one of the kookiest. We'll find out when it arrives in the App Store later this month.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida

Think "Star Wars" games have been done to death? I guarantee you've never seen anything like Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner. It's like the PC classic "TIE Fighter" mixed with the ingenious UFO on Tape mixed with the Layar Reality Browser.

Confused? This video might help:

Millennium Falcon AR Test from Josh Shabtai on Vimeo.

As you can see, the game overlays itself on whatever appears in your iPhone camera lens. Point it at the night sky and, presto, you're blasting TIE fighters in outer space. Point it at the dog and, um, presto, you're blasting TIE fighters coming from your dog.

Whether or not this turns out to be cool or just plain weird remains to be seen. Fortunately, Falcon Gunner also comes with rendered backgrounds, just in case you're not into the whole augmented-reality thing.

According to Gizmodo, the game "will also feature other iconic moments from the Star Wars universe," like the Battle of Hoth and escape from the Death Star. It's due later this month for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and the fourth-gen iPod Touch (the one with the camera, natch). Pricing has not yet been announced.

What do you think? Will Falcon Gunner rank alongside the terrific Star Wars: Trench Run or have all the one-trick-pony appeal of Star Wars: Cantina?