Walmart is hoping to attract hordes of superhero fans into its stores with a new augmented reality app.

The US retailer has teamed up with Marvel to launch the Super Hero AR game, which is played using an app for smartphones and tablets available from the iTunes app store and Android Market. The app was rolled out last week in advance of the US release of The Avengers film yesterday (4 May).

Consumers who download the app are given instant access to the Hawkeye character from the film, and can use him to play a shooting game.

To unlock other superheroes in the Avengers team, players must visit a Walmart and point the app at in-store signage in various parts of the store including clothing, grocery and toys. Players can also unlock the Black Widow by visiting a dedicated Avengers area of the Walmart website.

A separate Photo Capture mode allows smartphone users to send images of virtual 3D models of superheroes in Walmart stores to their friends.

“This first-of-its-kind augmented reality experience bridges the gap between the physical store and mobile gaming,” said Walmart.