I love Star Wars and I love collectable card games, so it should say quite a bit that I couldn't review Star Wars: Force Collection because the bare-bones production values turned me off that much. As a collectable card game, it's apparently not bad, but it's just so unacceptably ugly that it feels like more like a last-second cash-in than a marquee title, and I couldn't play it for more than a few minutes before it felt like a total waste of time.
Today, Star Wars: Assault Team hits the App Store, and I booted it up with a serious knot in my stomach, anticipating the worst. That is, until I remembered that this new game comes from the still-fresh Disney-Lucasarts deal, while the previous title was a product of Konami. And wow, the difference is immediately noticeable.
For starters, Assault Team isn't being marketed as a collectable card game, but it still functions as one. You collect "heroes" cards, build your team deck, and take on opponents in turn-based combat. You can unlock more characters by purchasing "Hero Crates" instead of card packs, but the end result of all this is the classic card game experience.
Where Force Collection presented its story mode with cringe-worthy static images and text bubbles, Assault Team's campaign is a much more polished affair. A wide variety of objective await on various planets, and the battles are played out in fully rendered 3D environments with animated enemies and some pretty slick special effects. In short, it feels more like you're playing a movie-inspired RPG than an actual card game, and it's a lot more fun because of it.
As your team auto-navigates each stage you encounter battles with iconic Star Wars enemies and creatures, all of which need to be dispatched before you continue. Depending on the makeup of your team, you'll launch all-out assaults or more strategic moves like having one of your characters taunt the opposition to provide cover for the rest of the team.
Once you've gotten a respectable team deck you can challenge other real-world players for superiority. These battles don't affect the story missions but can provide bonus items and loot that will give you an edge across all the game's modes.
If you were as turned off as I was by Force Collection, give Assault Team a chance, because it's likely the experience you wanted all along. The game is free on the App Store.