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IMPRESSIVE—MOST IMPRESSIVE

Google wants you to feel like a Jedi before you go see “The Force Awakens”

Screenshot/Chrome
Don’t get cocky.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

This article is more than 2 years old.

While we’re not all lucky enough to be strong with the Force, anyone with the Chrome web browser and a smartphone can at least pretend for a little while. Google has launched a new online game called “Lightsaber Escape,” which follows Finn—the star of the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens—using his ancient weapon to take on a group of stormtroopers.

To play, you’ll need a computer and a phone, and a bit of space. Head to the game’s site using Chrome—it will prompt you to enter a unique URL on your phone’s browser, which will turn the phone into your lightsaber. Wave your phone around and a virtual lightsaber will follow your every move onscreen.

You have to battle through a phalanxes of stormtroopers, and a new type of foe that has some sort of lightsaber-deflecting weapon. Beat that trooper, and you’re home free. It took me a few attempts to get through all the troops—perhaps my midichlorian count is just not high enough.

Screenshot/Chrome
Sure hope the old man got that tractor beam out of commission, or this is gonna be a real short trip.

The game, Google said in a blog post, was developed in partnership with Disney, Lucasfilm, and Industrial Light & Magic—Lucasfilm’s special effects studio, known to be one of the best in the business. The game has surprisingly decent graphics and plays very smoothly, especially considering it’s running inside a web browser, rather than a games console. (Google also broke down the technical wizardry it used to bring the game to life in another post.)

Google has been on an Empire-like offensive with Star Wars tie-ins in the run-up to the release of The Force Awakens. It let users turn their entire Googling experience into a light or dark side fan-fest; it has turned search results into the slow crawl at the star of Star Wars films; and it has been giving away Star Wars-branded Google Cardboard VR headsets to accompany the official Star Wars app.

With the film opening in Europe today (Dec. 16) and the rest of the world later this week, we’ll have to see if Google has any more tricks up its sleeves. Perhaps it will announce the construction of a fully armed and operational battle station—it is no longer telling us not to be evil, after all.

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