Credit: Tom's HardwareThe Mirage AR headset is about to become a bigger play for Lenovo. Currently, the headset is only available with Star Wars Lightsaber-like controllers, for running with its Star Wars: Jedi Challenges smartphone game. But tomorrow, Lenovo will release the headset with new Universal controllers, pointing to potential for more attention and games for Mirage AR. The controllers are already backed by a pretty super group: the Avengers, since they’re debuting alongside a new AR game, Marvel Dimension of Heroes.
Previously, the only controller for the AR gear was the Lightsaber Controller, which made sense for a Star Wars game but clearly limited the headset. The 0.6-pound, 12.4 x 1.7-inch controller has power, activation matrix and control buttons.
But starting tomorrow, you can buy the Mirage AR headset with a pair of Universal Controllers. They expand operations, with each featuring two control buttons, an analog stick and power button. They connect via Bluetooth 4.2 and and are half the weight of the Lightsaber Controller. The new controllers require two AA batteries, and Lenovo claims up to 8 hours of battery life.
Credit: Tom's HardwareI briefly played with the Universal Controllers without a game. They fit very comfortably over my knuckles, allowing me to punch and slash about without dropping the controller, similar to the Index VR controllers but with fewer premium adjustments available and an arcade-like red or blue glow. Their light weight helped make movements fluid and easy. Lenovo also said that “control buttons are dynamically adjusted to function on hold release or press, allowing for intuitive open hand gestures and control of complex artillery.” That means playing with different Avengers characters means learning different controls and moves. So I look forward to learning which hero feels more intuitive with the way I play.
I didn’t get to play Dimension of Heroes, but Lenovo said it’s supposed to call for slicing, blasting, ducking and dodging. Each controller has two fisheye sensors that drive inside-out positional tracking, so hopefully they'll be able to keep up with the fury players will want to unleash on their AR foes.
Credit: Tom's HardwareIt's not a Hulk-sized leap to see the controllers working with future Mirage AR-compatible games, since they'll already be compatible with Star Wars: Jedi Challenges upon release, serving as a Lightsaber or letting you command your troops or play Holochess. If you already have the headset and Jedi Challenges, you'll be able to buy the Universal Controllers separately (price not disclosed).
Marvel Dimension of Heroes AR Game
Lenovo hasn't shared screenshots, but you can see playable characters here. (Credit: Lenovo)Just in time to cope with the conclusions of Endgame, Marvel of Dimension of Heroes is flying in in the form of a free Android or iPhone smartphone app. You can forget the traumas of the cinematic universe and play as Thor, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Star-Lord and take on Marvel villains who'll seem like they’re standing right in your living room, according to Lenovo.
The AR game has three modes. The most exciting one is the co-op mode, where you can battle villains while physically standing next to a friend and competing to be the strongest, just like a real Avenger. However, each player has to have a headset, two controllers and their own tracking beacon to play, so while the most exciting, it's also the least practical.
The game also has a story mode, where you play as one of the six Avengers and fight a surprise attack from Doctor Strange villain Dread Dormammu who's teamed up with Thor's mischievous brother, Loki, Guardians of the Galaxy villain Ronan the Accuser, Captain America foe Winter Soldier and overall Avengers arch nemesis Ultron Prime.
Finally, survival mode lets you play as an Avenger trying to survive long as possible for the glory of the global high score board.
If Dimension of Heroes proves anywhere near as popular as the Marvel movies--and is enough to drive fans to a $250 product--we wouldn’t be surprised to see more AR games, perhaps of different franchises, debut to give the Mirage AR enough punch to win over gamers. But with just two games under its belt so far, it's unclear if assembling the Avengers will be enough.
Lenovo Mirage AR Headset and Universal Controllers Specs
Every $250 headset comes with a headset, two controllers a Tracking Beacon, plus a phone tray, lighting to MicroUSB cable, USB-C to MicroUSB cable, six AA batteries, a 5V wall charger, power cable and quick start guide.
|Mirage AR Headset||Universal Controllers||Tracking Beacon|
|Dimensions||8.3 x 3.3 x 6.1 inches (209.2 x 83.4 x 154.8 mm)||7.8 x 3.4 x 1.4 inches (197.3 x 87.5 x 35.2mm)||3.7 x 3. inches (94.1 x 76.7mm)|
|Weight||1.1 pounds (477g)||0.3 pounds (130g)||0.3 pounds (113.5g)|
|Buttons||Select, video capture, menu||2 buttons, analog stick, power||Power, color switch|
|Battery||2200 mAH||2x AA included||2x AA included|