It’s May 4, which means “Star Wars” fans around the world are celebrating Star Wars Day. And to honor the occasion, Lenovo and Disney (DIS) are making your lightsaber battling dreams come true with a new update for their “Star Wars Jedi Challenges” augmented reality system.
To be clear, “Jedi Challenges” has been on the market for a while now. This is simply a free update, so you don’t have to buy anything beyond the additional AR headset that, which costs $199. Oh, and your friend will also need to have one too. So there’s that.
But if you and a friend have the headset, then you can finally have a lightsaber battle that doesn’t involve smacking plastic tubes into each other.
If I were still a kid I’d love something like Lightsaber Versus Mode. I still remember playing with “Star Wars” toys with my friends outside during recess, and this would have made our battles even more epic. The only downside is the price tag, which, for some parents will be a bit hard to swallow.
I tried out the Lightsaber Versus Mode, and while it’s not exactly perfect, it really is the closest you can get to having a real lightsaber battle with your buddy.
To set up your lightsabers, you need to put the included tracking beacon on the floor, download the latest update for the app on your smartphone and plug your handset into the Lenovo Mirage headset. That’s it.
Don’t expect to start swinging away at random, though. Disney said it tested giving users the ability to freely strike at their friends and found that people simply end up waving around the lightsaber for a bit before getting bored.
Instead, Lightsaber Versus Mode features randomized on-screen movements that you have to follow in order to hit your friends or dodge their attacks. What’s impressive is that you see your own lightsaber in the Mirage headset’s display as well as your opponent’s saber. So if the game tells you to swing left and you swing left, your friend will be hit from that direction unless they block in time.
Disney said that each encounter is randomized, so that your fights don’t become repetitive. The start of each fight is also relatively slow, but as you progress, movement indicators become much faster so you’ll have to pay attention if you want to win.
I did, however, notice that some of the lightsaber movements didn’t perfectly match up with my own swings, but it didn’t feel like much of an issue.
Of course, the “Jedi Challenges” kit also has its base single-player modes including holochess and the ability to square off against the series’ villains.
For those who can get past the cost, Jedi Challenges certainly seems like a more enticing purchase now.
More from Dan: