News: Star Wars Holochess Comes to ARKit-Friendly iPhones & iPads

Star Wars Holochess Comes to ARKit-Friendly iPhones & iPads

Part of the Star Wars: Jedi Challenges experience that was once exclusive to users of Lenovo's Mirage AR headset is now available to anyone with an ARKit-compatible iOS device.

The updated version of the Jedi Challenges app now lets iPhone and iPad users running iOS 11 to play the Holochess game mode that's featured in the head-mounted device version of the game.

Available as a free download, when you open the app, you're now presented with an "ARKit Holochess" option on the app's opening screen. When you select that, as with most ARKit apps, you're prompted to scan for a floor surface, after which you can place the Holochess board, which comes prepped with several animated characters ready to do battle.

Image by SkyGuyTheJedi/YouTube

The Holochess experience features 18 levels and comes with up to eight creatures with special characteristics that can be unlocked as you move through the game.

This is both good and bad news for Lenovo's dive into the Star Wars universe. Sure, this immediately broadens the reach of the app and the Star Wars brand in general, but it could also undercut the sales potential of Lenovo's AR headset. Why run out and spend $150 for an additional accessory package if you can just use your existing smartphone to dive into the sci-fi experience?

For many, the easy answer will be to stick with their existing iOS device and save the extra cash.

Image by SkyGuyTheJedi/YouTube

But for the truly hardcore Star Wars fans who still haven't picked up the Mirage AR headset, this could be a gateway app experience that inspires them to unlock the full potential of the app by adding the headset and the lightsaber controller that comes with the Mirage AR system.

After a bit of testing, I found the ARKit app experience just "OK," as the tracking and overall functionality (moving characters, etc.) was shaky at times. So if you've always wanted to try your hand at Holochess in real life, this is a good first step, but if you can afford it, the full experience, which requires the Mirage AR system, is a lot more satisfying.

Cover image via Lenovo

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