With Star Wars: The Last Jedi Force-leaping into theatres this December, Disney has once again launched its Force Friday campaign of Star Wars-related merchandise. Coinciding with the slew of new products is the release of a free mobile app (simply called ‘Star Wars’), which the House of Mouse intends to be a one-stop shop for all Star Wars-related content on your phone.
First off, one of the big features that’s been promoted for the app is its part in a product scanning, augmented reality character revealing marketing campaign. Specially-marked Force Friday merchandise can be scanned using the app to reveal characters from the upcoming film.
However, the app also has many other fan-pleasing features that celebrate the many years of the Star Wars franchise. To start, at any time you can switch between a ‘Droid,’ ‘Light Side’ or ‘Dark Side’ theme that defines how the app looks in terms of aesthetic. Some of the in-app messages you receive will also be specific to which theme you’ve chosen; I stuck with Dark Side most of the time, and most messages spoke to me about power and anger.
There’s a very neat ‘This Day in Star Wars History’ section in the top-right that gives you a unique bit of trivia depending on the day you read it. You can freely scroll through different days to learn new facts, ranging from Star Wars actors’ birthdays, film premieres in different countries and long-time composer John Williams’ various concert appearances. The app also shares Star Wars news with an in-app feed to keep you up to date.
“Jakku Spy” is an AR experience gives you short messages that read in the vein of the iconic title crawl introduction to the Star Wars films, along with the sweeping orchestral score.
You’ll then be brought to The Force Awakens’ desert planet of Jakku and encounter the lovable BB-8 droid. All of this content is also compatible with the Google Daydream headset.
“Force Trainer,” meanwhile, offers a training experience with the floating droid Luke uses in the Millennium Falcon.
In augmented reality, you’ll move your phone, which acts as a lightsaber, in various directions to dodge incoming blaster bolts. It’s a lot simpler than it sounds, but it’s still a neat little AR experience.
Perhaps the silliest feature (and one that I had far more fun with than I should have) was the ability to take Star Wars-themed selfies. You can choose from a variety of templates, such as Jedi Master, Rebel Alliance soldier and more, as well as select different background images, including Darth Vader in the Tantive IV from A New Hope.
My favourite, though, was easily the Carbonite look, inspired by Han Solo’s unfortunate state at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
There are also a number of GIFs and emoji you can paste from the app and send to your friends.
Impressively, these represent all kinds of Star Wars media, from the number of live-action films (from the prequel, original and sequel trilogies), as well as the excellent animated Clone Wars and Rebels TV series.
All in, I was impressed with the amount of content in the app. I initially thought it was primarily a marketing tool (and no doubt it is, to an extent).
But there’s also a lot of fun to be had with the app’s assortment of modes and social content. The Force is strong with this app.