Star Wars: Force Collection is pretty sad. It's not because it's a collectible card game — well, not completely because it's a collectible card game.
Over the past year I've come to terms with the genre. If players are willing to spend ridiculous amounts of money on cards that don't technically exist with arbitrary attack and defence numbers on them in order to advance in games where the most action they'll see is tapping a button to compare those numbers, then more power to the developers. I get free pretty art to look at, so I am good.
But Star Wars: Force Collection does not have pretty art. It's regurgitated promotional stills and scenes from the six Star Wars films, like the movie trading cards we used to collect as kids, back before we could buy movies on VHS and re-watch them whenever.
Star Wars music loops endlessly through the game's menus. Animated GIF-style images from the film act as transitions. The cards are all images we've seen a thousand times before.
The lack of original art wouldn't matter nearly as much if the game was fun to play. It's really not. The bulk of a player's time and effort go into collecting, powering-up and evolving cards. This makes their stats strong, so they can progress through the adventure.
There's no animation to the characters. Cardboard Stormtrooper cutouts pop up on the screen, and you've got top tap on them. If you don't, they'll just sit there on the screen, waiting for you to tap on them.
Larger battles, like the ones fought against other players in the game's PVP section, play out as a series of cards inch closer to each other. Numbers are crunched, fates are decided, and the SKIP button will be stabbed.
Konami Digital does try to mix up the formula a little. There are boss battles, which adds a fluctuating meter to tapped attacks for a chance at a critical strike.
But most of what seems at first like innovation is just the familiar mechanics of the genre dressed up for the occasion. Collecting parts of blueprints to build stat-enhancing vehicles for your hangar is just a redressed treasure collecting device, as seen in every recent CCG.
Other collectible card games are after as much money as possible, but they are more subtle about it. Star Wars: Force Collection feels like a cash grab. Someone out there looked at all the other CCGs on the market and figured the Star Wars licence was a surefire thing. That's not always the case.