Lenovo and the creative team behind Star Wars have teamed up to offer a new, unprecedented experience in the Star Wars universe. The Star Wars Jedi Challenges are here and poised to make your grasp of the Force a personal one.
The hardware behind this experience comes in a three-piece combo. The headset that displays the holograms used in the experience actually parlays your smartphone for CPU power and projecting the ghostly versions of Darth Vader and Kylo Ren that you’ll be battling.
The light saber controller is a dead-on recreation of Luke’s own saber from The Force Awakens. It’s as simple and elegant as Obi Wan explained in the movies, but it’s also got nice heft in your hand, an important aspect when you’re swinging the thing like your life depends on it.
Finally, a small, luminous sensor goes on the ground in the room where you intend to play, giving you a base-point for all the projections and helping to track you in space.
Setting up to play takes only a few minutes, and the entire system is compatible with many smartphones from Apple to Samsung, with more set to join the compatibility list by the holidays. The hardware, while impressive, is no match for how unique and fun the experience itself is.
Light Saber Battles
Far and away the most exciting experience out of the box is light saber battling. A large roster of baddies are available for your dueling enjoyment. We ran through the Darth Maul tutorial initially, learning to dodge, parry, strike and Force-push by taking baby steps through the game’s conventions. Then we shifted gears by going to the other extreme of an expert battle against a very-formidable Kylo Ren.
The team has absolutely captured the essence of the characters — down to Ren’s signature rage-fueled outbursts — and we were fighting for our lives (and breaking one hell of a sweat) as a result. With several other characters available for this game mode, Darth Vader himself chief among them, there’s no wonder Light Saber Battles came away as our favorite experience.
Probably the most surprising experience of the three, Holochess comes off much better than we expected. We’ve seen previous iterations of chess from the Star Wars universe, mundane in its static presentation. All that goes out the window here. Cleverly animated and legitimately challenging, the version of Holochess found here is wonderfully and elegantly presented on a pedestal that magically appears out of thin air via the headset’s holograms.
Early rounds felt more like checkers in terms of difficulty, but the board gets more and more crowded as the games go on and we couldn’t help but feel like regular chess’ days are numbered as beloved sci-fi versions slowly but surely become a reality with Star Wars’ own version leading the pack.
Star Wars’ version of a tower defense game might sound ho-hum, but that’s only until you realize it’s being projected directly onto the room surrounding you. Moments after starting a game, you’ll get the feel for the strategy and flow, taking on the role of a Yoda-like general as you command troops and drop turrets to defend against incoming Empire armies.
We could play even the simplest of tower defense games for hours, but skinning it as Star Wars, projecting it as a hologram and adding perks like Obi Wan as a usable character who totally mops up a battlefield with acrobatics and killer light saber moves is a joy we have yet to see from other tower defense games. We highly recommend you get down close to see Jedi join these battles. The sheer joy of watching them clean house was worth crawling on the floor to see up close and personal.
The Star Wars Jedi Challenges experience is currently available for pre-order and will start making it to fans on November 3rd.