The other day, I was invited to check out Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire at The VOID location at The Rec Room Toronto.

The hyper-reality experience will also be offered at the following VOID locations:

  • Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL
  • Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA
  • Glendale Galleria in Glendale, CA
  • The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian | The Palazzo in Las Vegas, NV
  • The Rec Room West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Cinemark West Plano in Plano, TX

I’m no stranger to virtual reality, I’ve tried out my fair share of experiences from Google Daydream to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. But I’ve never experienced anything like what the VOID calls “hyper-reality”.

Hyper-reality is a full-body and immersive experience that lets you walk around and interact in virtual-reality with real-time effects and technology. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is a collaboration between The VOID and ILMxLAB.

When you arrive at The VOID, you’ll be first be asked to sign a waiver and then you’ll be taken into a small room where Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will tell you about your mission. The story for the experience takes place between Star Wars Episode III and Episode IV.

Here’s the official synopsis according to The VOID:

Under the orders of the budding rebellion, you and your friends will travel to the molten planet of Mustafar. Your mission is to recover Imperial intelligence vital to the rebellion’s survival. Alongside the pragmatic droid K-2S0, your team must navigate through an enemy facility walking into danger at every turn. Disguised as Stormtroopers, grab your blaster, solve puzzles, and fight giant lava monsters in an effort to complete your mission.

Essentially you and your friend will be disguised as Stormtroopers where you’ll visit Darth Vader’s home planet of Mustafar and battle enemies, solve puzzles to complete your mission.

After your mission briefing, you’ll next put on your headset and pack. It basically combines the vest you would find at laser tag plus a VR headset and headphones.

The vest is on the heavier side but it contains sensors, rumble packs and more to help put you into the experience. The headset also includes motion tracking, so then when you look down at your hands in the experience, they’re there virtually and move in real-time.

Once you’re suited up, get ready for one of the most immersive VR experiences I’ve ever tried. You’ll actually feel like you’re there on the lava planet of Mustafar, with the ground heating up below you and the transport ship actually rumbling through space. And when you get hit by a Stormtrooper, your vest actually rumbles and you feel where you got hit.

The whole experience takes about 30 minutes to complete from start to finish. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire costs $34.95 CAD plus tax per person and you can only purchase same-day tickets at The Rec Room, no pre-sale or online tickets are offered at this time.

You can find out more about Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire and about The VOID on their website.

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