Lenovo Star Wars: Jedi Challenges Review: Battling Darth Vader In AR

Star Wars: Jedi Challenges Software & Experience

Fighting the Empire

Once all the setup is complete, you are ready to step into the Star Wars universe and tackle the Jedi Challenges. The goal is to acquire three Jedi Master Skills as you progress through increasingly difficult enemies as you make your way to the core of the galaxy. Players are helped through the challenges and information is doled out by the Archivist.

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Players will first go through the tutorial exercise to get used to the game mechanics and controls. The Archivist will instruct you to get your Lightsaber ready and activate it. Be sure that whatever your ready stance is, that you can recreate that stance each time you open your Lightsaber or the AR blade will not sync properly with your hands -- the game is basically impossible to play when that happens. I was sloppy in my first outings and wasn't paying attention to Lightsaber placement when I activated it and had to start over.

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The first enemies in the series of tutorials are battle droids. As they walk forward you can slice them when they get close enough or use your lightsaber blade to redirect the projectile bolts they fire back to them. You have to redirect those bolts just right to hit the droids with them, which makes for a fun and welcome challenge.

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After your tutorial, the Holocron is where you will see holograms for the six planets currently available in the game. Each of those six planets has its own set of villains and challenges to fight through. We don't want to post any spoilers, but will say the Jedi Challenges game certainly lives up to its name and you do get to fight some of the iconic baddies of the Star Wars universe like Darth Maul, Kylo Ren, and Darth Vader.

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Somewhat Scripted, But Still Fun

Jedi Challenges is somewhat reminiscent of the Dragon's Lair arcade game from years past. Anyone who force-fed that game quarters back in the day will remember that there were specific things you had to do with the joystick to keep from getting killed, though the game gave you tips on what you needed to do. For instance, yellow images of where you need to place your Lightsaber blade to block enemy attacks appear on the screen in some places.

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Mirage AR Headset Is Comfortable And Easy To Use

The main component that makes the Jedi Challenges possible is the Mirage AR headset. It worked well for me, my wife, and my 13- and 16-year-old kids with no issues whatsoever. Even when flailing about with a virtual Lightsaber and turning my head rapidly to fight droids and other villains, the headset stayed in place and was comfortable for extended use. Since this is an augmented reality set up, the Mirage AR headset allows you to see the world around you. This is very important because in a home with stuff around it would be easy to run into people or objects as you play.

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Being able to see what's around you means that even when you are immersed in the fight, you can still react to things in the real world, unlike VR where you're completely cut off from reality (with most titles). Being able to see what’s around you also seems to help minimize eye strain, which is something that I have experienced with other head-mounted displays in the past.

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Don't Fear Chewy If You Win

If you get tired of gaining Jedi rank and fighting Lightsaber duels, you can also play one of the most iconic of Star Wars games inside Jedi Challenges -- Holochess. There is no risk of a Wookie ripping your arm out of socket if you win, though. As you complete holochess matches you can earn new creatures. Holochess is cool, but I much preferred the battles of the main game. You can also play Strategic Combat missions and unlock weapons for your troops as you progress.

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These Strategic Battles are quite fun, and you will see iconic Star Wars vehicles involved, like X-Wings and AT-ATs. Battle droids and iconic heroes will also be part of the fray. Strategic Battles have you, the Jedi, acting as a General over the army. You get to move troops, build defenses, and call in air strikes with the soldiers under your command, represented in action figure scale on the floor of your home. This mode is very fun and brings a bit of RTS feel to Jedi Challenges.

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