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Happy Star Wars Day: 12 apps from a far-flung galaxy

May the 4th be with you…

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, all sorts of things happened. Evil types tried to take over. People scrapped with laser swords. Sentient teddy bears had a suspicious victory over a fully equipped imperial army. You know the drill.

OK, so that’s not actual history; but to fans of Star Wars, it may as well be. And every year, they get to utter the punworthy “May the 4th be with you” and celebrate Star Wars Day. Want to prepare for the day with your own iPhone and iPad? Then let’s dig into the apps and games you need for the Force to be with you.

Your eyes can deceive you

The movie theater is where Star Wars began, but the viewing landscape has changed substantially since 1977 – home streaming is where it’s at – as has ownership of the property. Star Wars is now part of Disney, and so you’ll need Disney+ (requires subscription) to work your way through the films and recent offshoots like The Mandalorian. This is the way.

If you’re more into reading, Marvel Unlimited (requires subscription) houses thousands of Star Wars comics, both from the official continuity and also the old Expanded Universe, now dubbed Legends. Like Netflix, Marvel Unlimited is an all-you-can-eat service: for your $9.99/£8.99 per month, you get access to the entire catalogue, which includes a ton of other Disney-owned properties, not least – as the name suggests – Marvel ones.

Let’s keep a little optimism here

The official Star Wars (free) app feels a lot like someone thought about all the dodgy fan apps folks might make based on the property and decided to do everything properly in-house. You choose a theme (Light/Dark/Droids) and then immerse yourself in an interface that’s perfectly in-keeping with the Star Wars universe.

Within the app, you can feast on bite-sized news videos, shoot selfies in Star Wars scenes, dig into stickers and GIFs, try your luck at fending off a training remote, and repeatedly prod a soundboard with famous quotes and sound effects until everyone around pleads that you stop.

The app doesn’t quite do everything, and we suggest using two unofficial third-party apps to plug a couple of holes. Star Wordz (free or $0.99/89p) entertainingly lets you create a customized opening crawl with your own text and – if you pay – Star Wars-ish logo. And Unofficial Quiz for Star Wars (free) tests your nerd levels by having you identify character and ship outlines against the clock.

There’s no such thing as luck

When you want to more fully immerse yourself in the Star Wars universe, games are a good bet. Star Wars: KOTOR ($9.99/£8.99) and follow-up KOTOR II ($14.99/£12.99) take place thousands of years prior to Star Wars – and still find the Sith and Jedi going at each other. This is involved console-like fare, with plenty of quests to dig into, a strong narrative, and round-based combat. If you’re keen, a bundle nets you both games for the price of the second one alone.

Should you fancy something more approachable, try a Lego Star Wars title. Lego Star Wars: TCS (free + IAP) provides brick-built takes on the first six movies, where you dodder about, smash up the Sith, and grab gold bricks.

That’s how we’re gonna win

Apple Arcade also has a couple of Lego Star Wars efforts: the social-oriented Lego Star Wars Castaways and the player-versus-player Lego Star Wars Battles, where you can discover what would happen if an Ewok unwisely decided to take on a Tusken Raider. For fans of actual Lego, Star Wars models can be perused in Lego Building Instructions (free), in PDF or snazzy 3D form.

Finally, Zen Pinball (free + IAP) provides a very different take on Star Wars, which involves using flippers to belt a metal ball about. The Star Wars tables are surprisingly authentic, mind, with you playing out scenes from the films – although probably wishing you had The Force to nail that perfect shot.