Do you have what it takes to be a Jedi? Google thinks so.
Tomorrow is finally Star Wars release day (technically the movie is out the 18th, but we know you’ll be at a Thursday night showing) and that means corporations are going all-out in their last-minute The Force Awakens tie-ins.
Google has a distinct advantage over many of them, and it’s gone all out to prove it with today’s interactive lightsaber game. It uses Chrome to communicate with your phone’s accelerator to put you in the center of a harrowing Jedi mission.
To complete your mission, you need to have your phone and your computer browser handy at the same time. Visit the Google Lightsaber website on your phone first, where, you’re given a unique url for your laptop or desktop Chrome browser. Once you’ve entered this url, you’ll be prompted to “calibrate” your weapon.
Then, press the button on your phone when prompted, and voila, you have a shiny new lightsaber:
The game works by allowing your Chrome browser to track the movements of your phone. It then translates them into lightsaber swings, which takes a bit to get used to but turns out to be pretty cool. As you use your phone to maneuver your sword, the browser takes you inside a stormtrooper holding facility. Your challenge is to get past an increasingly difficult range of stormtroopers in order to escape.
Don’t make my initial mistake and hold your phone too close to your computer. The further back you position your phone, the easier it is for your computer to register your full range of movements. Once I figured this out, taking out stormtroopers got a lot easier.
The final step is a hand-to-hand fight with a stormtrooper, and it might take several tries to master. Fortunately, if you get captured, you don’t have to re-do the whole game—the browser simply returns you to the start of the latest phase.
The hand-to-hand fighting is a little awkward because of the delay between your hand and the screen; my impulse was to keep flinging my lightsaber hand forward, but I ultimately found it worked better if I held it with two hands—like you might a real lightsaber—and used a more steady up-down motion.
Be sure to turn up the sound on your phone to give your lightsaber all those beloved effects, like the familiar sheathing and unsheathing sound and the deep hum that tells you you’re using the Force. Sure, in this case you’re using WebRTC with WebSockets, but we’ll take what we can get, right?
May the Force—and browser load times—be with you!
Screengrab by Aja Romano