Review: Love Star Wars? Disney/Lenovo’s New AR Game is Perfect For You

Augmented reality (AR) is huge. Not blockbuster level huge, but it’s getting there, and soon, it’ll be the future of gaming. Don’t believe us? Remember the Pokémon Go craze? Yeah, that was total madness. However, it won’t be Pikachu and friends taking AR to the next level. That job is for Disney and Lenovo’s new Star Wars game.
The two companies recently joined forces (ha, get it?) to create Star Wars: Jedi Challenge, a standalone gaming machine that will allow you to unleash your inner Jedi with the power of AR, making it one of 2017’s must-get items for Star Wars fans of all ages.

And with it, you get to do many cool things. Going toe-to-toe with Darth Maul is one of them, while you can command armies in a Starcraft-like manner, as well as play holographic chess. It’s essentially the world of Star Wars brought into reality, and all it takes is a headset, tracking device, toy lightsaber, your phone, and $379.
Still not convinced you should get it? Here are our experiences playing the game:


Amelia Tan, Associate Editor

  • Unboxing the set: Now this was pretty surreal — I don’t know about everyone, but the moment I lifted the lid off the box and unveiled the shiny lightsaber hilt nestled comfortably inside, the Star Wars opening theme started to immediately play in my head. I might have sung it out loud. I felt like this was an important moment, like I was bestowed my own set, undeservingly of course.
  • The set-up: You don’t have to deal with wires, or need a console to work this — which means you can play it straight out of the box! Just follow the instructions, calibrate your set, and insert your smartphone into the slot (with the app downloaded), and you’re in; about 10 minutes in total.


  • How it’s AR: For those who’ve tried VR and tend to feel giddy afterwards, you’ll be pleased to note that this isn’t that drastic a transition from the real world. Think of it like Pokemon Go. You’ll still be able to see your surroundings, just that the Star Wars characters will look like holograms popping about your house. Yep, exactly like Princess Leia’s hidden message.
  • It’s immersive: Obvious excitement aside, I have to say that the graphics were pretty realistic! Hold your lightsaber in front of you, and you can see the entire plasma blade lit up, as if you’re actually wielding one. It moves with your every action too. During gameplay, enemies such as the Stormtroopers and even Darth Maul felt like they were really attacking me, and the weapon worked in real time as I deflected blaster bolts or held off Maul’s pesky double-bladed weapon. All me!


Joel Conceicao, Writer

  • The special effects were great: Unlike the rest of the world, I’m hardly a huge Star Wars fan (in fact, I’ve only watched half of all the movies), so there had to be something special in order to draw my attention over here. I’m glad to say that visually at least, I fell in love with the game. I felt like I was really engaged in a real lightsaber duel when fighting Darth Maul, and physically, I think it’s a great workout too, compared to having your butt glued to a couch playing GTA.
  • Compatibility: For some stupid reason, most people feel a ridiculous sense of loyalty to smartphone companies that makes millions of dollars off them per annum, and it’s something that I can’t quite grasp, because I’m pretty neutral when it comes to these sort of matters. I go for what works for me, so I’m glad that Disney and Lenovo weren’t exclusivist by making this game an Apple-only or Android-only set. That would be horrendous. Thankfully, this isn’t.
  • There’s potential for more: While having three game modes is really cool – Trial of Combat, Trial of Insight, and Trial of Leadership, I think what’s cooler is the potential to develop new facets of the game in ways that couldn’t possibly have been imagined a few years ago, and it’s exciting to think of all the AR possibilities that can come to fruition with this game.


Amelia Tan, Associate Editor

  • Combat Mode: Probably the most fun one — you truly get to be a Jedi and Luke your way through the enemies, from the easy targets of the Stormtroopers of the initial stages, whom you get to satisfactorily slice through, to the boss fights where you engage in a one-on-one lightsaber battle with Darth Maul, and later, even Kylo Ren. When they come charging at you, you get to bring your lightsaber up to parry the strikes, and serve some hits as well. You do this via a guided gameplay; line your blade with the virtual guidelines to deal a successful block, and swing it at your enemy when an urgent circle appears on them for a limited time. The thrill of actually moving around the room as you battle makes the experience more compelling, and quite the workout too. Also, the lightsaber controller has haptic feedback to allow you to feel every triumph or defeat — not that I noticed though because I was having way too much fun.

Joel Conceicao, Writer

  • Combat Mode: Unlike Amelia, I only played the demo version of this game at the launch event, so I can only provide a gist of things at most. Nevertheless, my solitary bout with Darth Maul was enough to give me good idea of just how engaging the gameplay is, especially when it came to blocking strikes and dealing some of my own. I also had fun adopting an Arya Stark kind of posture while fighting (hey, it was pretty effective, okay), and it just goes to show that the gameplay is intuitively enjoyable, even if you’re not that big of a Star Wars fan to begin with. Who gets tired of swinging around a weapon anyway, especially one that glows holographically?



Amelia Tan, Associate Editor

  • The Headset: I might have been too excited with the extended play, but after a while, I realised the headset (at 477g) was weighing down on me, no matter how I adjusted the straps. This was a bit of a physical limitation that I felt prevented me from flying through the stages as enthusiastically as I liked, or be able to feel 100% limitless in battle.
  • You’ll need some space: Well, you’re trying to cram the galaxies in here, but really, you’ll need quite a wide space to have room to move around, and luckily I had a small clear area in my HDB flat. Nope, I was not going to bring this down to my void deck, alright. Be prepared to move your furniture if you’re in a flat too.
  • Calibration issues: This was one of the major flaws of the game for me; once the system didn’t sync with my actual position, everything went haywire. I struggled at even the menu selection, and once, was even caught in between battle, so Seventh Sister seemed to teleport all over the place for me to deal my strikes.
  • It’s still a novelty: If you’re thinking of Star Wars Kid-level of madness, you’ll have to hold back a little. The field of view’s still pretty limited, as with most AR headsets, so you’ll still get the feeling like you’re looking through a window, while at the same time, the device can’t handle fast motions as well. If you’re a geek, serious or not, you’ll love it anyway, but I don’t know about the average consumer buying into it. For a groundbreaking unit though, I’d say it’s still pretty impressive and paves the way for more successful ones to come.

WIN! We’re giving away one set of Star Wars: Jedi Challenges as part of our ultimate holiday gift guide, worth $379, courtesy of Lenovo. To stand a chance of winning, simply fill up this form by 15 Dec, 6pm. The winners will be announced on our Facebook page on 15 Dec.

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Images: Lenovo