For the last few years, the Lenovo Mirage Augmented Reality headset has been the best way to experience lightsaber battles with the Star Wars: Jedi Challenges game. This year, the Lenovo Mirage AR will let you explore another universe that’s closer to home and from a time not too long ago with Marvel Dimension of Heroes.
For those hearing about the Mirage AR headset for the first time, it’s basically Lenovo’s version of the Samsung Gear VR. You can slot almost any iPhone or Android phone into the headset and it'll project the characters into your eyes using a one-way mirror. The experience doesn't have you dive completely into a virtual reality world, rather this experience places digital characters in your living room, backyard, airport or anywhere you decide you want to play.
All it requires is the headset, your phone, plus the included controllers and augmented reality tracking beacon—a glowing ball on a little stand.
Once you’re ready to jump in, you’ll be able to play as Doctor Strange, Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Star-Lord to take on infamous super villains and their hordes of grunts.
The story mode drops you right into the action as the Dormammu launches a successful surprise attack on Earth with Loki, Ronan the Accuser, Ultron Prime, and the Winter Soldier. At this point in the story, the heroes have lost and the world is in ruins. However, Doctor Strange enacts a last-ditch plan to turn back time and hopefully save the planet the second time around.
I jumped into a demo with Star-Lord in the middle of the campaign where he was facing off with Ronan the Accuser. Battling hordes of his minions, I had a few tools in my disposal.
Of course, I could shoot everything using Star-Lord’s trademark Element Guns that fired off like a pair of space-borne handguns. Alternatively, I could charge up the gun for a stronger blast, which was also necessary to break the shields on certain enemies.
I also had a shield of my own that I could use to capture enemy projectiles and launch them back—a lot like the Vortex Shield from the Titanfall series. Lastly, I had a special ability I could engage to fire a non-stop barrage of energy bolts for a limited time, very similar to Samus’ hyper mode from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
With none of the Avengers swinging around anything close to a lightsaber—okay, maybe Thor kind of does—Lenovo had to develop a new set of Universal Controllers that would work well with the team’s varied fighting styles.
Rather than being a just lightsaber hilt, the new controllers come in a pair complete with two sets of triggers and a little joystick on top. They also come with elastic bands that wrap around your knuckles, so you don’t have to worry about keeping a constant grip on them.
When you have them strapped on, they sit at a 90-degree angle perpendicular to the rest of your hand. Using the controllers felt strange during my time with them, as the triggers were just a little too high for me to reach comfortably and the thumbstick was sitting so high I couldn't reach for it with my thumb. It might take a little bit of getting used to, but they're not the most ergonomic controllers I've used. The only bit of adjustment you can make on them is tightening the elastic bands, but that only helps if you have small hands and that can't fix anything if you have short fingers.
Still, they offered a surprising amount of motion tracking accuracy and were even able to pick up on the way I would lightly turn my wrist to adjust my aim.
Playing Marvel Dimension of Heroes also isn’t a sedentary experience, so you can duck and weave about to dodge projectiles, which becomes necessary during the tougher boss battles.
Outside of the main story mode, the full game will also feature a Survival Mode that lets you play as any of the six heroes to fend off enemies and earn the highest score on the game’s global online leaderboards.
There isn’t any competitive multiplayer (yet), so while you can’t reenact the Captain America: Civil War you can play with a friend in co-op mode. You’ll be able to battle with your friends and family side-by-side competing for the highest score. Marvel also told me it has some iconic pairings (i.e. Captain American and Thor) in mind for its co-op adventures.
The Marvel Dimension of Heroes experience will sell as a $249 set that includes the Lenovo Mirage AR headset, a pair of Universal controllers and the tracking beacon. It releases on September 6th. Marvel Dimension of Heroes players will also be able to download and play Star Wars: Jedi Challenges without having to buy any extra equipment and the app itself is free.
Unfortunately, Star Wars: Jedi Challenges players aren’t as lucky. To play Marvel Dimension of Heroes, users will have to pay for a $99 upgrade pass to get a new pair of Universal Controllers. Lenovo hasn’t said exactly when it plans to release the upgrade pass just yet.