Porgs are adorable. They’re also terrible co-pilots.
In the new Facebook game “Star Wars: The Last Jedi — Porg Invasion,” you are lovable droid BB-8 tasked with removing lovable alien porgs from the Millennium Falcon.
The retro arcade-style game features lovely, simple animation and repetitive but satisfying actions. It’s the kind of addictive mobile game built for riding the bus or sitting through boring meetings.
Porgs are one of the break-out stars of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” The beakless space-puffins are more Tribble than Ewok (apologies for mixing space franchises), and they like to reproduce.
Porgs live on the Ireland-like planet Ahch-To, where Luke Skywalker has gone to brood and avoid shaving. On a damp green island populated by lactating elephant-seal-like creatures, porgs nest on hillsides, by the sea, and eventually inside the Millennium Falcon.
It’s a peaceful existence until Chewbacca and Rey make a hasty departure without clearing out the infestation.
“Porg Invasion” takes place in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. Tap the screen and BB-8 shoots a claw into the air to capture a porg, racking up points. You can also tap to help Chewie fix parts of the ship that have been damaged by the creatures.
Lucasfilm assures me the porgs are not killed, though there is no evidence of an effective catch-and-release program in the game.
“Porg Invasion” launched Friday. It is free and available on Facebook Messenger’s Instant Games tab. You can play it on a smartphone or PC. Facebook (FB) added games to the stand-alone Messenger product in 2016.
There are serious Star Wars games that will no doubt rake in piles of money for Lucasfilm, like “Star Wars Battlefront II: The Last Jedi Season” and “Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.” “Porg Invasion” is just free, fun advertising for the film.
Star Wars is a massive empire, of which actual film sales are only one segment. Porgs aren’t just comic relief. They’re stuff-able, huggable, meme-able cash cows built for licensing and viral marketing.
So far, it looks like they’re really good at their job.
CNNMoney (San Francisco) First published December 15, 2017: 3:15 PM ET