Lightsaber battles get personal in Jedi Challenges

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It's not your father's lightsaber, but Jedi Challenges lets you battle your megalomaniac dad or whiny son. Virtually, of course.
It's not your father's lightsaber, but Jedi Challenges lets you battle your megalomaniac dad or whiny son. Virtually, of course.
Photo: Lenovo

Just in time for May the Fourth-be-with-you, Star Wars: Jedi Challenges added multiplayer lightsaber battles so you can take on your friends in virtual reality combat. 

Of course, doing so requires a couple of $150 AR helmets and lightsabers. But still. 

“One of the most popular fan requests since the launch of Star Wars: Jedi Challenges is to enable 1-on-1 local multiplayer mode for fans to duel one another in lightsaber battles. We’re excited to continue collaborating with Disney to fulfill fans’ wishes by testing the frontiers of augmented reality,” said Jeff Meredith, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Lenovo Consumer PCs and Smart Devices. Lenovo developed the game in partnership with Disney.

Playing Jedi Challenges

This augmented reality game consists of a headset into which an iPhone (or Android smartphone) is inserted. The action happens on the iPhone’s screen, but it’s reflected to the player’s eyes by the helmet.  

There’s also a Bluetooth enabled “lightsaber” that serves as a controller, and there’s a tracking beacon.

With this hardware, and the free app, players fire up their lightsaber to fight Darth Vader, Kylo Renn, and lots of battledroids. But the game goes beyond hack and slash. Many of its levels are strategic, with tower-defense scenarios involving placing rebel troopers to defend against hordes of enemies. 

When it launched last year, Jedi Challenges required the helmet and other hardware to do anything. But Lenovo recently added an smartphone-only augmented reality mode for playing Dejarik, which the uninitiatiated call Holochess.

A lightsaber isn’t as clumsy or random as a blaster, and now you can use one on your friends or family. Or at least simulate such a battle in augmented reality.