Having become fairly disenfranchised with all things Star Wars over the years, I didn't really expect to like Star Wars: Trench Run.
And really, the new game from THQ is little more than two kinds of arcade sequences sprinkled with a few familiar cutscenes.
So why can't I stop playing it?
Because Trench Run ($4.99) is a little slice of Star Wars heaven, that's why. It reminds me of the old vector-graphics arcade game from the early 80s--a game that consumed a considerable number of my quarters.
Of course, visually Trench Run blows that coin-op classic out of the sky. And what it lacks in variety, it makes up for with engaging gameplay.
You're at the tilt-sensitive controls of an X-Wing, which you can view from inside the cockpit or from behind. Tapping the right half of the screen fires your guns; tapping and holding the left half engages Force Power, which temporarily slows down the action.
As you might expect from the title, half the game takes place in a Death Star trench. You've got to steer past obstacles, blast turrets, stay out of Darth Vader's gun-sights, and, eventually, "blow this thing so we can all go home."
When you're not racing through trenches, you're dogfighting TIE Fighters just above the Death Star's surface. The only thing that changes from one level to the next is the difficulty.
And Trench Run does get difficult, though a little Force Power goes a long way toward helping you lock in a target or avoid a rapidly approaching turret.
Throughout it all, you're treated to all the familiar Star Wars sound effects along with John Williams' timeless score.
There's not a lot of replay value in Trench Run, and the limited variety means boredom is pretty inevitable. But until then, you'll have a blast.