clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine is a too-brief visit to a galaxy far, far away

New, 10 comments

Step onto the desert planet yourself

If you ever get a chance to check it out, your visit to a virtual reality Star Wars in its current form will be all too brief.

The Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine demo runs for maybe seven minutes in its entirety, and only a brief moment within that time is actual gameplay.

The demo opens with the familiar burst of music so familiar to anyone who has seen a Star Wars movie, and then comes the text crawl, marching off into the star-filled distance until it finally disappears.

Next you see Tatooine and then, finally, you're there, standing by a landing pad next to a clutter of boxes and storage bins in an alien desert.

The Millennium Falcon swoops down, and after a bit of banter and a quick repair or two, R2-D2 hands over your lightsaber. The controls are precise, but smoothed out to prevent the jitter some might deliver with an unsteady hand. I was able to perform tight figure eights in the air with the tip of the lightsaber and tiny, nearly invisible circles with controlled wrist movement.

While the virtual weapon obviously lacks the heft of a physical object, I was surprised at how real it felt in the experience. It's been a while, but I spent my high school and college years learning and teaching fencing. This weapon behaved like it should when it came to tip control.

It did feel ever so slightly behind the faster of my real-world wrist movements, but not enough to throw me out of the experience.

After a few seconds of adjusting, my place sort of under the Millennium Falcon was attacked by a swarm of stormtroopers, and Han Solo asked me, over an intercom, to protect R2.

I spent the next minute or so swatting red lasers out of the air, trying my best to both protect the droid and also angle the laser blasts back at the approaching troopers.

I found using the tip of the lightsaber was easier and more efficient than trying to, essentially, parry the blasts with the edge of the weapon.

It was fantastic fun, but over way too quickly for the buildup. I was also surprised to find that a few times I bumped the wall with my controller.

Later, the person demoing the game for me said that the typical virtual wall that pops up on the HTC Vive to warn a player that they're about to hit something was turned off for the demo, because the developers thought it took away from the experience.

Ultimately, Trials on Tatooine feels more like an experience you would have in an amusement park than a game you'd play in your home. And maybe that's the ultimate goal.

Check out the video above to see the entire demo, and me awkwardly swatting my way through it.