I wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore Star Wars fan but I would consider myself enough of a fan that I’ve bought Star Wars related merch and toys such as a Millennium Falcon canvas print, Funko Pop and even a Sphero BB-8. I’m also a huge fan of technology, so when I heard about Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, it immediately piqued my interests.
Star Wars Jedi Challenges is a phone-based augmented reality experience that allows you to become immersed in the world of Star Wars. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and it’s one of the best augmented reality experiences I’ve tried.
Design & Hardware
Star Wars Jedi Challenges comes with a few items in the box, the first and most important being the Lenovo Mirage AR headset.
This is where most of the magic happens, you first install the Star Wars Jedi Challenges on your Android or iPhone. The app works with a wide-range of devices including: iPhone X, iPhone 8 & 8 Plus, iPhone 7 & 7 Plus, iPhone 6 & 6 Plus, Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge, Galaxy S8, Google Pixel & Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL, Moto Z, Moto Z2 Force Edition and LG G6. Devices such as the Galaxy Note8 are just too large to fit in the phone tray in the headset.
The Mirage AR headset has dual motion tracking cameras and three buttons, select, cancel and menu. The buttons are labelled, so it’s hard to tell what button does what. The headset weighs about 477 g and it is not super heavy but it’s also not super lightweight when being worn on your head with a phone inside, it did feel heavy while wearing it. The headset also charges over MicroUSB.
I tested the headset with the Google Pixel XL, Pixel 2 XL and the Moto Z2 Force, all of which worked well. Included in the box is a few cables to connect your phone to the headset, such as a Lightning to MicroUSB cable, MicroUSB to MicroUSB cable and USB-C to MicroUSB cable.
Also in the box, is the Lightsaber controller which is what you’ll use to navigate and select different challenges. The controller looks like someone chopped off a Lightsaber, the controller charges over MicroUSB. The controller has three buttons, power, activation matrix and a control button for selections. There is also a tracking beacon included in the box, which is a small little ball that lights up that you place on the floor in front of you.
Star Wars Jedi Challenges is available now from Lenovo’s website and BestBuy.ca for $289 CAD ($199 USD). Personally, I think that is a bit much, especially for the content that you’re getting (which I’ll get to in the software section), but with the Canadian dollar as it is, I can see why Lenovo had to price it this high in Canada.
Now what you’re probably all wondering, how well it works. Well for the most part, it does work. To get started, you first download the Star Wars Jedi Challenges app which around a 800 MB download and once you have it downloaded, you’re ready to go. Then you connect your phone to the headset and insert it in the phone tray of the headset.
From there, you’ll want to but on the headset and from there, the experience is in augmented reality but actually the is reflecting your phone’s screen sort-of like a periscope in a submarine, where its reflecting off of mirrors. It’s an interesting way of doing it, rather than having a headset similar to a VR headset, where your eyes are pointed directly at your phone’s screen.
Star Wars Jedi Challenges comes with three content types, Lightsaber battles, Holochess and Strategic Combat. The Lightsaber battles are pretty self-explanatory, you basically fight against villains from the Star Wars films, starting with Darth Maul and ending with Kylo Ren.
Holochess is a game of strategy and concentration, just like it was in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope , where you’re playing on a round chess board with virtual creatures.
Strategic Combat is essentially a tower defense type of game mode, where you are commanding armies to fight against enemy troops.
There are multiple planets from the films to play through, each have the different game modes mentioned earlier. So you’ll first start on Naboo, and can battle against Darth Maul and later can fight against Darth Vader or Kylo Ren on different planets.
This is where Star Wars Jedi Challenges can get kind of repetitive, since there is only three game modes, the only real changes are in the locations and characters. I wish that Lenovo would have included one or two modes with Star Wars Jedi Challenges.
Lenovo did recently announce that there will be new content from Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be coming to Star Wars Jedi Challenges but that update will just include new character to fight against, such as the Elite Praetorian Guards, new enemies in Assault made. There will also be Porgs coming to Star Wars Jedi Challenges with the new content update.
Star Wars Jedi Challenges is fun to play but occasionally the tracking of the Lightsaber controller can be a bit off.
Overall, I really like Star Wars Jedi Challenges, there is enough content to keep you busy for a couple of hours but by then, you’ll also find that it can be repetitive because there is only three game modes. And paying almost $300 CAD is a lot for something that you might get tired of easily.
- Works with a wide-range of phones (both Android and iOS)
- Fun to play
- Headset is comfortable to wear
- Great attention to detail
- Easy to set up
- Three game modes can get repetitive fast
- Expensive relative to the content you get