This uninspired and often pedantic chronicle of one of the 20th century’s cruelest moments consistently fails to take advantage of exciting media.
Divided into seven cursory periods stretching from the years prior to the start of the bloody conflict until its immediate aftermath, the app’s multimedia elements are stingy at best and barely rise above the allure of a dusty public school textbook. Static photos are similarly scrollable from left to right, and many lack the simple ability to expand beyond an unsuitably modest frame. Many appear with only the slimmest of explanatory text. Still others carry barely any caption at all. This aspect of the perfunctory presentation is especially egregious since some of the more intriguing shots—like the highflying fighter pilot dropping a handheld bomb over the side—cry out for greater attention. Potentially the most promising multimedia features—a grab bag of contemporary audio and video snippets—suffer from the same kind of directorial neglect. Inattentiveness to presentation finds both warbling speeches and scratchy film offered with an eerie and forgettable detachment. The lone available world map is totally flat, inanimate and unhelpful. World War I’s most decisive battles are each relegated to a few sparse paragraphs of wooden narrative that are distilled down even further to an entirely unserviceable “When,” “Where,” “Who” and “Result” sidebar. Although promising to go “Inside the Trenches,” the app, with its minimalist aesthetic and sluggish navigation, never even comes close to bringing the stunning horrors of World War I to life.
An unsatisfactory app that treats history less like David McCullough and more like USA Today.