The new Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace app, from Disney Books, reintroduces fans to the 1999 movie. The app features two modes, one of which is in interactive story that re-tells the film through voice-over and animation. Viewers can use the touchscreen on any iPad or iDevice to move around within scenes, and by tapping certain characters, learn more about them or earn special points that can come in handy later. The other mode is a racing game based on one of the more famous sequences in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace: when Anakin Skywalker participates in the podrace on Tatooine. Players enjoy a perspective from behind the anti-gravity podracer, using the touch screen to steer and accelerate as desert scenery (and other racers) zip by. Although it may take a little while to get used to the controls, it’s worth it: The visuals are impressive and fluid, and the musical score is exciting. There’s also varying degrees of difficulty, though I don’t recommend going for any of the harder levels until you’ve had a few rounds of practice.
Players can also use those aforementioned bonus points to unlock different podracers, each with its own pluses and minuses. Overall, Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace offers a fun time for both newcomers and long-time Star Wars fans alike. If the next five apps in the series—planned to lead up to the Star Wars Episode VII app—are of similar caliber, the Force, as well as the fan base, will definitely be with Disney.