Not since Bea Arthur's spin as Ackmena the bartender in the Star Wars Holiday Special have we been as thrilled to revisit a classic Tatooine bar as we have in Star Wars Cantina for the iPhone.
Star Wars Cantina puts you in the shoes and Dewback-sized beehive hairdo of Nia Adea, a drink-slinger at the Thirsty Bantha. As customers pour in—Stormtroopers, Rodians, Jawas, Gamorreans, Humans and Twi'Leks, as well as the occasional Hutt—Adea must set customers, pick up drinks, clear tables and avoid angering the customers with long waits. Sound familiar? It should, if you've ever played Diner Dash, the core concept from which Star Wars Cantina so clearly clones.
This time, droids are allowed. Is Star Wars Cantina a capable Diner Dash-like or a wretched hive of scum and villainy?
It's Like Diner Dash But It Looks Like Star Wars: There's a reason people play Diner Dash. It's frantic, simplistic fun. Star Wars Cantina doesn't muck with the addictive formula created by its inspiration and the Star Wars universe doesn't add much to the concept—with the exception of Jawas being thieving pests and Rodians having typically itchy trigger fingers—as much as it paints a bright, colorful layer on top of the pre-designed gameplay. For a twitchy time-based game, Star Wars Cantina performs admirably with its touchscreen controls.
Unpainful Nostalgia: Do you like hearing the classic Bith sounds of Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes? Would you prefer that your iPhone make a few more trademark Jawa utterances of gibberish? Star Wars Cantina has the sights and sounds of the Star Wars universe in spades, albeit with a stylized visual treatment that one doesn't often see in the films, cartoons and comic books. In general, as a Star Wars product, it's easy to swallow.
Clone Wars: Have I mentioned this is Diner Dash in Star Wars clothing? If not, it might be wise to drive the point home again. If you've already grown bored of the game that inspired Star Wars Cantina, its doubtful this iPhone effort will rekindle your interest. And, after a while, that gameplay becomes tiresome and lacking in hook. Some variation and challenge arises when players begin unlocking customizations for the cantina and take tactical advantage of the "flavor syrup" that can be dropped into drinks, but many players will likely breeze through the title, a brief refreshment for your iPhone.
Star Wars Cantina less interesting than working in an intergalactic bar should be, but it's a fun diversion for the still-die hard Star Wars fan with a thirst for frenetic, but not too infuriating casual gameplay.
Star Wars Cantina was developed by Universomo and published by THQ Wireless for the iPhone and iPod Touch on April 2, 2010. Retails for $4.99 USD. A copy of the game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Played through career mode once and experimented with endless mode five times. Rodians always shot first.
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