Interactivity is an important part of guest exploration of Galaxy’s Edge. To facilitate interactivity, many aspects of Galaxy’s Edge work through the Play Disney Parks app. From the app, you can tune into secret transmissions, translate Aurebesh words and phrases, scan encrypted cargo and discover hidden items, and hack into droids. How does the experience work? Here’s what we discovered.
First things first, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got the Play Disney Parks app installed on your smartphone and that you’re willing to let the app have camera access (for scanning crates) and Bluetooth access. Because of this, you may want to bring some sort of battery backup if you plan to do a lot of playing in Galaxy’s Edge or plan to use your phone later in the day. Without a doubt, the app eats battery life.
Once the app is launched, you can scroll around the map to find a variety of games. If you want to play the Galaxy’s Edge ones, you do have to be in Galaxy’s Edge to play, however you can still access your lists of achievements outside of Galaxy’s Edge.
There are two games available in the app–Star Wars: Datapad and the Smuggler’s Run game. During our “reservations required” visit to Galaxy’s Edge, we never waited in line long enough for Smuggler’s Run to be able to do much with that game, and so this article will just cover the Datapad game. By far, that’s the real immersive experience in Galaxy’s Edge, however. It may be the breakout hit for this new land, to the point where my family (who are moderate Star Wars fans) was thinking of not doing a lot with Galaxy’s Edge when it comes to Florida, but after playing the game, we’re counting down the days until it opens here.
You can set up to have multiple players on a single account (for instance, if you have a family where not everyone has their own phone), or you can have each person work on their own phone and be able to interact with each other to complete trades of equipment and such.
If you attempt to access the game outside of Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll get a polite notification about what you can and can’t do with the app.
From your profile, you can see items that you have collected during your quests.
This includes weapons, cargo, schematics, data, clothing, transmissions, titles, and more.
What we found most impressive when working with the game is how extensive it is. Completing this game will take hours upon hours. Based on the progress we made in a couple hours of gameplay, you *might* be able to finish everything within a day–but that’s not a guarantee. (And seeing how much was put into this experience, we’ve now started saving our credits for a stay at the new Star Wars hotel.)
Now that everything’s set up, time to get to work. From the Jobs tab on your datapad (aka smartphone with Play app), you can see a variety of jobs to select. Jobs come in four categories: Resistance (blue), First Order (red), Outpost (yellow), and Scoundrel (purple).
Select a job, and you’ll be contacted with a briefing about what you need to do and where you need to go.
As promised, your map is updated to give you information on the locations that you need to access for your quest. Even if you are playing “solo” (sorry, Star Wars pun), you can see how much influence has happened with the Resistance and First Order in accomplishing tasks at certain locations–in this case, who has hacked certain panels for which side. Although you can only hack a panel once, I’m wondering if in the future you would be able to hack a panel multiple times throughout the day if the panel falls out of your team’s hands.
You can take multiple jobs at once, so you don’t have to choose between hacking panels and droids, scanning cargo, listening to transmissions, or translating text.
Although it may be tempting to try and accept every job at once, it’s easier to work on a handful of tasks at a time to keep your map from getting too cluttered. First up, off to scan crates.
The map will show you what you’re looking for and where to find it. Head over to that location and look for the physical items with the special code to scan. In some cases, we found the items very obvious. In other cases, you may have to do a bit of looking.
Once you find the objects you’re looking for, go to the Tools menu and initiate a scan of the label.
Depending on the location of the code to scan, younger members of your party may need help to hold the datapad high enough to get a clear scan of the code.
Once the code has been scanned, you’ll get a confirmation screen. Now it’s time to analyze the code.
In some cases, you may need to decrypt the code by constructing a key. Thankfully, your datapad can get you set up to do that.
In this case, the code was obtained by performing a simple drag-and-drop tangram puzzle. The more you play the game, the more complex the codes may become.
Once you have successfully completed the puzzle, you can collect the item.
You will also earn one of many achievement titles within the game.
Go back into the jobs screen to report back in….
…and collect your credits!
Your profile will be updated with your credits and showing where your allegiance is ranked.
The tools section of your datapad includes other functions, such as an Aurebesh translator. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as scan and translate–you do have to type in the letters. That said, it is worth taking the time to translate the signs. There’s a lot of hilarious text scattered throughout Galaxy’s Edge.
Performing translations also unlocks achievements.
Even if you don’t accept jobs, you can still scan cargo or hack panels from the tools menu, and assist the Resistance or First Order.
Throughout the day, the balance of power is likely to shift between these two forces.
The mini games to complete tasks vary depending on what actions you are preforming. In this panel hacking objective, you simply have to draw a line to connect the green dots. Games start off simple, but get more difficult the more you play. (In this case, you would end up with multiple dots to connect, and you cannot cross over any lines you’ve drawn, plus there’s a time limit.)
Items that you unlock without having accepted a job are available to trade to other players.
As more people play in the game, I would love to see Disney rotate the items available so that you’d have to meet up with people to obtain different items through trade. (As big Pokemon GO fans, we’re used to that type of game mechanic.)
And yes, you still earn credits even if it isn’t related to a job.
Also within the Tools menu is the ability to intercept transmissions. Select the Tune option on your datapad under the Tools menu, and then move your datapad around to lock onto the signal.
Once you find the antenna, you can tune into it.
Some messages will appear on your screen already translated and able to be read. This gives some unique insights into what exactly is going on in Black Spire. Other messages may be garbled and will need to be unscrambled. Thankfully, you have a datapad for that.
First, you’ll need to move the wavelength indicators around to get at the right frequency.
Then, you’ll need to tap out a rhythm in sync with the wavelength to unlock the message.
Some messages may contain information vital to the survival of the Resistance. Others…well, it may just sound like a day on your work Slack channel.
There are a variety of mini games to explore as you interact with different parts of Black Spire, like this game to hack into a droid before the time runs out. The games are intuitive, the instructions are clear, and the variety keeps gameplay fun.
One concern I had about Galaxy’s Edge was that, from the discussions of the rides that were going to be included, there wouldn’t be anything for my family to do together, as we’re not thrill ride people. (Thankfully, Smuggler’s Run was surprisingly mild so that we could enjoy it as a family, but we do think Rise of the Resistance is out based on descriptions so far.) I had wondered at the time what there would be for families to do while they waited for other members of their party who did want to ride the rides. With no obvious “play area” for younger kids, Disney has hit it out of the park by making this game option available. I can easily see my family asking to go to Galaxy’s Edge just to spend a few hours playing this game on a Saturday afternoon. It’s fun for the whole family, great for competition-driven people, and adds to the authentic feeling of being on another planet and part of the whole experience. Well done, Disney app developers–the Force is strong with this game!