A great Augmented Reality set for Star Wars fans

Highs

  • Immersive and Unique Star Wars Entertainment
  • No wires
  • Works in relatively small spaces

Lows

  • Approximative tracking
  • Requires a compatible phone, gets hot
  • One-time setup is a bit tedious
  • One series of games only

Rating and Price

  • Rating: 8/10

Lenovo and Disney have partnered to create Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, a Mixed Reality gaming set based on the Star Wars universe. We tested it at IFA in Germany, and again at CEATEC in Japan. With the retail unitprice drop to ~$150 and with a Last Jedi content update, it’s time to share our experience and opinion on this novel approach to gaming from Lenovo. Should you get one? Find out.

The challenge: become a (good) Jedi

The Star Wars: Jedi Challenges game has been created and tuned to provide an immersive experience as a Jedi knight. As such games have been tailored to use two known Jedi skills: Lightsaber sword mastery and Strategic abilities (Jedi knights often command troops in battles). Additionally, there is a Chess game that looks surprisingly similar to the original Star Wars movie. It has been a real kick to enjoy this, especially since the Rendering on this headset has a “holographic” feel. Here’s what the chess game looks like:

The games are simple and should please a casual gaming crowd, rather than cater to the more “serious gamers,” who might prefer the more more expensive PC VR experience.

Lightsaber battles

This is my favorite game because I like the physical action of wielding the lightsaber and the action seems different, even though the attacks can be repetitive at times. The boss battles are the best of course, but you have to “earn” them through battling with Droids first.

The gaming principle is simple: you have to block incoming lightsaber attacks and attack when there is an opening. Here is in-game footage on the Subb YouTube channel, and you can see that the attacks are not always trivial to block and there can be a significant number of attack sequences possible. This is fun!

To set the expectations, it is fair to say that the tracking of the lightsaber’s orientation is not 100% perfect here. There may be anywhere between 0 and 20 degrees (or more) of deviation, depending on how you hold the physical controller. The app does make some assumption, and it is difficult to track just based on the internal motion sensor.

However, it is possible to re-center the lightsaber by double-pressing the action button on the controller. I do this every once in a while, and things get back to a normally that allows me to play. Although this is not a big deal from a gameplay’s perspective, it is essential to have proper expectations before buying. If you can try it at a retail location, that is even better.

In any case, I hope that more bosses and more moves will be added because this is by far the most entertaining thing – for me.

Commander’s view: Strategic Combat

The strategic combat is an entirely different gaming experience which puts you in command of troops. You see the battle from afar and to add/move units and help them accomplish a specific mission. It is more or less a fancy Star-Wars themed “tower defense” experience, which I also enjoyed.

Conceptually, you could be playing this game on a computer or tablet, but being able to see the battlefield in Mixed Reality makes a thing that much more exciting. There’s something really different when it comes to placing game elements using hand and arm motion, vs. computer mouse or touch action.

During the battle, you can look at things from different perspectives and get closer or farther by physically moving around. Here is in-game footage of the Strategic Combat action, from Joaquin Camacho:

Since the launch of Star Wars: Jedi Challenges at IFA 2018, the game has been updated a couple of times. As The Last Jedi movie was released in December 2017, Lenovo and Disney announced new content:

The planet Crait has been added to the game, bringing with it the AT-M6 armored walker and new opponents: the elite Praetorian Guards, Riot Control Stormtroopers, and the First Order Stormtrooper Executioner. All of this, along with the cute Porgs, hit the app store in January 2018.

With this track record, it seems reasonable to expect more updates in the future, but only time can tell.

Overall product rating: 8/10

Filed in Cellphones >Gaming >Reviews. Read more about Augmented Reality (AR), Disney, Editorspick, Lenovo, Lenovo reviews and Star Wars.

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