Debugging Lenovo + Disney’s Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

25 Jan

I have no faith in Niantic to give fans an experience which defines Harry Potter’s world with a smartphone. Their idea is “to have players learn spells, explore their real-world neighbourhoods and cities to discover & fight legendary beasts and team up with others to take down powerful enemies.” This game may well be more about the secondary series, Fantastic Beasts to catch them all than be about Harry. Plus, no one will want to whip their expensive devices around like a stick and shout, “Wingardium Leviosa!” lest their own phone flies out of their hands.

At least with a lightsaber, players can do whatever type of swing they want. In their first game, everyone will be visiting Naboo to fight the robots from Episodes I to III before challenging Darth Maul. On Garel (the second level) there are Stormtroopers and the Seventh Sister (from Star Wars: Rebels). The third is Lothal (with perhaps the Grand Inquisitor waiting), fourth is Hoth (perhaps fighting Vader), the fifth is Takodana (Kylo Ren) and last is the Core (i.e, the Galactic Center where The Emperor waits). When players reach Hoth, to engage in fending the Rebel Base against AT-ATs will be the highlight! Instead of fighting as a trooper, players will be moving the forces around in the Trials of Leadership game.

My test smartphone is Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and it did a great job of rendering all the figures running towards me. To witness the robots getting sliced in half with a non-generic animation made me revisit this scenario often. This game operated better using the low graphics setting. The only issue is whether or not I wanted to keep the protective slim case still on (the guide suggests taking the mobile device out of it) or not. I fear the aluminum clasps might scuff up the sides. Also, not all cell phone cases can easily come on and off.

This game offers about 12 hours worth of gameplay from start to end. If this product is to stay fresh, then it will have to offer new Trials. I like to see a Missile Command style of game (like Inbound for the HTC Vive); players can wave the saber and use force abilities to parry and bounce back objects. Alternatively, to recreate the chase scene where Luke used the Falcon’s cannons to shoot down Falcons can work. The head can act like the swivel and the saber fine-tune targeting.

This game is by no means complete. An expansion is planned, like a multiplayer mode (confirmed in the FAQ). The bugs need to addressed and expansion into other franchises (Disney or not) to help. I feel an Iron Man AR game is being planned. Not many games exist to perfectly interact with the digital environment and with the AR headset, if Lenovo and Disney can partner with Sony, their range of motion controls can help add to the video game pool. I own the gun cradle for playing shooters and possibilities has my imagination going!

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