Star Wars: Puzzle Droids, available now, is a game of firsts. It’s the first mobile Star Wars puzzle game. It’s the first Star Wars game to star BB-8. And, creatively, it’s the first Star Wars game set within the ball-droid’s memory banks.
As such, it deserves a big BB-8 lighter-thumbs up.
Driven by addictive and intuitive match-3 gameplay — you’ll be swiping and matching puzzle tiles with almost immediate ease — Puzzle Droids features iconic scenes and untold stories from BB-8’s perspective. As you match and solve puzzles, the fan-favorite astromech (with a little help from his golden protocol-droid friend) will roll through Jakku, encountering creatures, aliens, and familiar faces as he recovers lost memories. For puzzle-game fans, it’s challenging and rewarding (utilizing the blaster power-up to take out multiple game-board obstacles is particularly pleasing), and for Star Wars fans, it’s a whole new way to experience the story of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. StarWars.com caught up over e-mail with producer Sean Coughlin and came away with five reasons Puzzle Droids is worthy of your own memory banks.
1. It’s for everyone. Puzzle Droids was intentionally designed to be easily accessible — you don’t need to be an expert gamer or a Star Wars superfan to enjoy it, although the game features an increasing difficulty and unlockables that will appeal to Jedi Masters. “The biggest opportunity for us was to make a game for everyone,” Coughlin says. “Since existing Star Wars games are typically for a core audience, we wanted to cater to the broad appeal of the franchise in order to create a game that everyone can easily pick up and play at anytime.”
2. If you love droids (and you should), this is the game for you. “Droids connect the entire Star Wars universe together and they have a strong presence in all Star Wars movies and products,” Coughlin says. “Everyone recognizes and loves the droids, so the idea came about from wanting to create a friendly, inviting, narrative-driven game that appeals to everyone. Because every big, epic moment typically has a droid associated with it, we thought it would be interesting to see things from their perspective for a change.” And in addition to storytelling, droids drive other aspects of the game, as well.
“The game itself takes place in a droid bay with all your unlocked droids,” Coughlin explains. “The map is projected onto a holotable by the droids and the puzzles are holographic representations from their memory banks. The game tiles that you match are droid circuits, and your goals are objects remembered by the droids during that environment. As you progress, you will see these objects change to represent that narrative you are following. So, the droids really are the key to the overall design and aesthetic.”
3. More of our favorite mechanical beings are on the way. While our favorite ball-droid takes center sand, as it were, Puzzle Droid‘s producers have plans for expansion that would make the Geonosian droid factory owners proud. “The game won’t only focus on BB-8,” explains Coughlin. “Since you are reconstructing lost droid memories, in subsequent updates you will also play from the perspective of R2-D2 on the Death Star, and possibly other droids in the future.” Personally, I’m hoping we get to serve drinks as Artoo on Jabba’s sail barge at some point.
4. Concepts for the game were developed with Lucasfilm. “We worked directly with Lucasfilm in order to create an authentic Star Wars experience,” Coughlin says. “The teams involved all come up with level concepts together and we tie it into an overall saga map, so that the progression ties into iconic moments in Star Wars and those moments tie back into the gameplay.” As development on the game continues with an eye toward more updates, Coughlin promises new puzzle elements, designs, and off-screen moments.
5. Fan feedback means a lot to the game’s creators. Puzzle Droids made its debut at Star Wars Celebration Orlando, as the game was playable on the show floor for the first time anywhere. Getting to see fans play it and enjoy it was a highlight for those behind the scenes. “Some players stay for a long time, and on the second, third, and fourth days, we had repeat fans coming back to play more, or to show their friends and family the game,” Coughlin says. “For me, it is extremely rewarding to get the game into the hand of fans. Experiencing their reactions and thoughts firsthand is the best part about launching a new game.”
Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content writer and editor of the StarWars.com blog. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.