"Battlestar" heading to handheld galaxy

"Battlestar Galactica" star Tricia Helfer poses in an undated handout photo. REUTERS/SCI FI Channel/Patrick Hoelck/Handout

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Get ready to fight Cylons with your thumbs.

Universal Pictures has released a mobile phone game based on Sci Fi Channel’s “Battlestar Galactica.” The company’s Digital Platforms Group is partnering with publisher Glu Mobile for the downloadable game, which can be purchased via such carriers as Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T.

Depending on the user’s carrier, the game will cost about $3 to play for a month, or about $8 to buy outright.

In the space-based shooter, players can pilot three types of customizable Viper or Raptor ships while defending the human refugee fleet against relentless Cylon attacks. There are 24 playable missions, plus training missions.

Unlike some mobile games, “Battlestar” was designed from the ground up for fans of the show rather than using an existing game platform and simple adding the show’s graphics, said Jeremy Laws, senior vp mobile and broadband at Universal.

After a sluggish start, mobile game extensions have become a more significant revenue source for studios in recent years as the U.S. makes gains in distributing more advanced cell phone technology. A game is generally considered a hit if it surpasses 1 million downloads, a hurdle Laws expects “Battlestar” to clear. Universal has released mobile games for such shows as “Heroes,” “Law & Order,” “Top Chef” and “The Office.”

The company also did a more rudimentary “Battlestar” mobile phone game four years ago to promote the show’s debut season, but it mainly used graphic elements from the original 1970s series.

“These games are played globally -- anywhere the show is popular, the game is popular,” Laws said. “The second biggest market for ‘Heroes,’ for instance, was in Turkey. But even though we’ve come a little late to the game, the U.S. has become a dominant market.”

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter