Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace

 
Fun, interactive storybook has less violence than the film.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The app gently guides kids through how to use its unique features and has a very forgiving "easy" mode in the pod racing games. 

Violence & scariness

Like the film, there's sci-fi violence, although none of it is gory or detailed. And since this is largely a storybook app, it's shown in gently illustrated images, rather than in live action. The dying body of Qui-Gon is shown lying on the ground in one scene. 

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The app is meant to lay the groundwork for 2015's new Star Wars film, and there are plenty of real-world toys tied to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, but there are no in-app purchases or other heavy-handed sales pitches here. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Disney has a transparent, if slightly long-winded privacy policy explaining the anonymous technical data and user location data collected. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace is an interactive storybook app recapping the events of the first film in the Star Wars storyline. The story, which is narrated (though that feature can be turned off) lets users pan from side to side for an "extended view" with hidden bonuses on each page. There's also a game portion, letting kids enter a pod race and compete against A.I. opponents. There's the sci-fi violence you'd expect in a Star Wars film, but nothing graphic. The story, however, does talk about Anakin leaving his mother and features the death of a major character, just as the film does. 

What's it about?

Players can read or listen to the story of The Phantom Menace, panning the screen back and forth to see everything being discussed and to unlock bonuses by tapping the screen. These bonuses begin to unlock biographies of characters in the story, something that can be completed by flying in pod races in a game portion of the app. In this area, players must maneuver a pod racer through one of three obstacle-filled courses, beating opponents and time trials by either using their device's accelerometer or through touch controls at the bottom of the screen.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

While Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is hardly a new film, it never had a decent storybook app. Disney does a good job of rectifying that with this, the first in its Star Wars: Journeys lineup. The story is told succinctly, and each page has enough interactive elements to keep young kids happy, without parents having to worry about the more violent moments of the film being recreated. The included pod racing game has varying degrees of difficulty, making it fun for both adults and kids. And the unlockable biographies of characters lend a sense of purpose to flying the races and hunting for unlockables in the story. 

It's still the weakest of the Star Wars films, but it's a fun way for Star Wars obsessed kids to relive the film and participate in its most memorable moments as they wait for the next installment. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of family, and how Qui-Gon loved Anakin as a son even though they aren't related by blood.

  • Families can also discuss the story's violent moments and whether they were important to the story. 

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$6.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:May 1, 2014
Category:Books
Topics:Space and aliens
Size:522.00 MB
Publisher:Disney
Version:1.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 6.0 or later

This review of Star Wars Journeys: The Phantom Menace was written by

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