Star Wars Jedi Challenges is going to be a really hot toy this holiday season – read on to find out how to pre-order!!
Raise your hand if you have a Star Wars costume. Keep your hand up if you’re an adult.
I thought so. Mine is the white Princess Leia outfit.
The original un-messed-with Star Wars came out when I was five, so I really didn’t know a life before Star Wars. And while I’m definitely not a super-fan, more of a casual one, the entire franchise has a ton of nostalgia for me. So I jumped at the chance to try out the new Star Wars Jedi Challenges Augmented Reality Game today, ahead of its November 3rd release.
When the lightsaber controller was taken out of the box and put in front of us, my co-hosts and I were all like “Oooooh!” Because we’re dorks.
Who Is It For?
This game will fulfill your fantasy of holding a lightsaber, complete with the exact right light saber whoosh whoosh sounds, and doing battle. And yes, your kids’ fantasies also, if they can get you to hand over the controller. I think the official recommendation is something like ten years and up, but the reps I talked to said they tested it on kids as young as six or seven. So it’s really a know-your-kid kind of thing: will they “get it” enough to figure it out and have a good time? You’ll have to be the judge.
The great thing about this game is that you’re not tied to a video game console, so you can play it practically anywhere!
AR not VR
This game is Augmented Reality, not Virtual Reality. In other words, you can still see what’s happening around you. You aren’t completely surrounded by a fabricated world – the Star Wars universe is layered on top of the real one. So if you have problems with Virtual Reality (some people get dizzy or nauseas), know that this isn’t that. You can still see your surroundings, which is important, because you don’t want to trip over the little beacon that sits on the floor while you play, or swing the lightsaber controller into something breakable.
What Comes With It?
The game consists of a headset, a lightsaber controller, a beacon, and an app that you download. The beacon runs on regular disposable batteries (included) and the other two components are rechargeable (charging cables are of course included). You just need to supply a smartphone. As of this writing there are ten phones on the compatible list, with more on the way. Your smartphone gets put into a tray, which slides into the headset. The beacon gets placed in the middle of the space you want to play in, and two cameras in the headset track it so that the game knows where you are. Once you have the headset on and the beacon placed, you can turn on your lightsaber, and yes, the light shoots out of it with the exact sound it’s supposed to have.
How Do You Play?
You “choose” things in the game by looking at them, and then pressing the button on your lightsaber. First I got to battle Darth Maul, and it was, well, surreal. He’s right there, advancing on you, taunting you, and (at first, anyway – I was in training!) the game shows you where to hold your lightsaber in order to block Darth Maul’s attacks. When you’re not blocking you can attack him. You guys, it was the most fun I’ve had in ages. It’s so immersive and exciting!
Next I tried battling some droids, which throw things at you, so not only are you fighting them in close combat but you can also hit their projectiles back at them like a baseball player hitting a line drive.
Unfortunately there was no way for me to take pictures of what I was seeing in augmented reality, but if you go to the product page and click on “From The Manufacturer” there are really good mock-ups of what it looks like from your point of view.
The game is a collaboration between Lenovo, Disney, and LucasFilm, and it’s going to be THE game to get this Christmas. It’s available only at Best Buy, so I suggest you pre-order it now.