Ever wonder what it would be like to run the Death Star? This week’s App of the Week can give you an answer.
Tiny Death Star, the latest game from Nimblebit, puts you in control as the architect of the Galactic Empire’s very 8-bit battle station from your smartphone or tablet. The emperor charges you with the task of getting the Death Star fully operational, by building floors for people (known as “bitizens”) to start doing jobs that contribute to the station’s economy. That economy, in turn, gives you the ability to build more floors, and make more money.
It’s the successor to Nimblebit’s wildly popular game Tiny Tower, and at its core is basically exactly the same game, with some Star Wars-themed twists. You’ll build levels like the Mos Espa Cafe, and be treated to little animated scenes with a cast of 8-bit characters from the Star Wars universe, including Lando Calrissian, Princess Leia, and yes, even Jar Jar Binks. Emperor Palpatine acts as your guide, offering small rewards for completing certain tasks in game.
The goal of Tiny Death Star is fairly simple: make the biggest pixellated Death Star you can. On that level, the game executes really well, with solid sound design, and unique environments.
If there was one source of disagreement around GeekWire about Tiny Death Star, it’s the app’s payment model. While I find the in-app purchase model in the game to be inoffensive — and fairly tame compared to some of Tiny Death Star’s competition in the free to play casual game arena — the fact that you have to pay in order to do things as quickly as you want to really ground Todd’s gears.
So, here are the facts: to do things faster in the game, you need “bux.” The game gives you bux for doing certain actions in the game, but those are infrequently available. So, if you want to go fast, you need to pay money. For me, that’s not a huge issue – I’m perfectly happy to put the game down and come back in a few hours when things are ready – but I think it’s totally understandable to be frustrated by Tiny Death Star’s fairly slow pace if you’re not willing to pay up. All that said, the game won’t bug you to buy bux with splash screens or prompts, unless you’re out of resources.
All told, Tiny Death Star is a free diversion. For some, the payment model is a deal-breaker, and when all is said and done, you’re not doing a whole lot, but if you want to take a quick break from your day-to-day to play a little in a galaxy far, far, away, it’s an option.
App of the Week is a regular feature of the GeekWire radio show and podcast, airing at 7 p.m. Saturdays on KIRO Radio in Seattle (97.3 FM), except when preempted by live sports. The show runs every weekend on GeekWire.com. You can get every episode using this RSS feed, subscribe in iTunes or find us on Stitcher.
Listen to this week’s segment below, or via this MP3 file.