Skip to main content

Lenovo Mirage AR with Marvel Dimension of Heroes hands-on review

Marvel's superheroes are better than Jedi on Lenovo's Mirage AR headset

lenovo mirage ar marvel dimension of heroes review superhero
Lenovo Mirage AR with Marvel Dimension of Heroes hands-on
MSRP $250.00
“Lenovo's Mirage AR provides a quality augmented reality experience thanks to a fun Marvel tie-in game for wide appeal.”
  • Controllers are easy to use and comfortable to hold
  • Marvel game is fun for all ages
  • Sharp, colorful AR graphics
  • The system can play the previous Jedi Challenges game
  • Won't work with all phones
  • Expensive kit to play a single game

Is it more fun to be a Jedi or Star Lord from the Marvel universe? I’m going to give Star Lord the win, based on my experience playing the character on Lenovo’s augmented reality (AR) headset. The Star Wars: Jedi Experience came out in September 2018, and for 2019, Lenovo has widened its partnership with Disney to create a Marvel AR game experience called Marvel: Dimension of Heroes.

In a hotel room in Berlin during IFA 2019, I wielded Star Lord’s twin blasters, shot some generic-looking enemy cyborgs, and rather enjoyed myself.

I’d rather be a superhero than a Jedi

Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

Why did Guardians of the Galaxy’s Star Lord beat out a Jedi? When I played the Jedi Experience, the lightsaber fighting scenes were sometimes confusing, and the sword never felt like a natural game controller, making gameplay frustrating. For the Marvel experience, Lenovo has made new controllers that resemble knuckle dusters complete with a pair of front-mounted buttons, and an analog joystick on the top. You get two in the box, they feel secure in your hand and won’t fly off during animated play sessions, and crucially just like a regular console controller, they feel natural. That being said, the collectible nature of the lightsaber controller makes the Star Wars set exciting, something that’s not repeated with the Marvel set.

The improved controllers meant I could get straight into playing and enjoying the game, rather than wondering how to use the lightsaber controls or why I never hit Yoda as he bounced around the room. Though do keep in mind that playing any phone-controlled AR game requires some setup — you need to get all the equipment out, make sure it’s all charged, and prepare your phone before you even get started — so ensuring a fun gameplay experience is essential.

The Marvel game has a story mode with at least 20 hours of gameplay, where Doctor Strange leads you through a series of missions where you face Loki, Ultron Prime, the Winter Soldier and the main bad guy, Dread Dormammu. There are six different superheroes for you to play, including Thor, Captain Marvel, Captain America, and Black Panther. Each character has unique fighting styles and weapons, and different gestures and control methods are used for each, giving the game more variety.

Playing the AR game

The demo scene I played had me shooting enemies which float around in front of you, and it was enjoyable blasting away with one gun and activating a shield with the other. The shield collected enemy fire, which could be thrown back at the enemy too. It was engaging and fun, but not a massive challenge.

The Mirage AR headset uses a smartphone to generate the image, and it is mounted on the top rather than in front like the Google Daydream View VR. This makes the headset quite front-heavy, but some serious padding and good design meant it didn’t feel uncomfortable. Younger children may find it more difficult to wear though.

The headset is compatible with many different phones, which fit inside a special carrying case that slides inside the headset itself. Lenovo lists most iPhone models since the iPhone 6, many Samsung Galaxy phones, the Google Pixel range, and various other devices as compatible with the headset. The carrier case may not be large enough for really big phones like the Galaxy Note 10 or the OnePlus 7 Pro, though.

A beacon is placed on the floor or on a table, which anchors the AR software to the real world. The effect is excellent, and your surroundings melt away as you play, rather than being distracting — a good sign the game is engrossing enough to keep you coming back. It looks sharp and colorful, while the characters are visually interesting, if not that highly animated.

The shield collected enemy fire, which could be thrown back at the enemy too.

The whole experience benefits from playing in a dark room.  I also did find the controllers got confused in the AR world sometimes, resulting in them not shooting in the direction I was aiming. Re-orientating them was simple, but did need several tries. I was playing a system ahead of launch, and imagine software bugs will be cured in an update.

The controllers took on the look of Star Lord’s guns when viewed in the game, but you do have to hold them up quite high to see them in the AR experience. The game sequence I played wasn’t difficult, and getting used to the controls was quick, so I can see kids having no problem at all enjoying the Marvel game. As an adult, it was throwaway fun, but I couldn’t see myself revisiting often. But like a lot of AR and VR experiences, it would be good fun in groups, and there is a two-player mode if your friend has the same system.

Price and availability

You can buy the Mirage AR Marvel: Dimension of Heroes set from Lenovo for $250, and the game is free to download and play and all the characters are unlockable in the game. You can also play the original Jedi Challenges game using the Dimension of Heroes controllers and headset, provided you don’t mind missing out on the feeling of swinging a Lightsaber about in your living room. But if you already own the headset and the lightsaber controller, you’ll need to buy the new controllers to be able to play the Marvel game.

Editors' Recommendations

Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
Remnant 2 gets a big Steam discount alongside crossplay update
Three characters shoot at a boss in Remnant 2.

Remnant 2, one of the best multiplayer games of 2023, just received an update that added crossplay and is now available at a discounted price of $30 on Steam for a limited time.

Released in July 2023, Remnant 2 is a co-op third-person looter shooter with surprisingly great boss fights. Campaigns are made up of procedurally generated worlds and narrative moments pulled together from a wider pool, making each replay of Remnant 2 feel unique. It's very fun on your own, but most enjoyable with friends as it supports up to three players in co-op. Until now, multiplayer has been locked to individual platforms.

Read more
PSA: Don’t burn yourself out on Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s open-world activities
Cloud from FFVII

I'm normally a completionist when it comes to games, but I wish I had told myself to push that mindset to the side before I started Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

I get the desire to do it all, I really do. In the critically acclaimed sequel, we're finally let loose outside of Midgar. Square Enix has laid a huge, lush set of biomes to stretch our legs in after being stuck in the cramped hallways and tunnels of the drab city. Despite most of the world activities in Rebirth being standard open-world fare (activating towers, scanning points of interest, and hunting down specific monsters), there's an undeniable novelty to doing it with Cloud and the rest of Avalanche. What I wish I had known before starting was just how easy it was to burn out on that feeling.

Read more
With EA’s Star Wars shooter canceled, it’s time to revisit a classic
Star Wars Dark Forces Remaster key art.

Amid a layoff wave at the end of February, EA canceled a Star Wars first-person shooter that was in development at Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment. Considering this is a genre that Star Wars once dominated, as well as Respawn’s mastery with games like Titanfall 2, the news especially stung, even if it's small potatoes next to all the jobs lost in EA's layoffs. If you’re yearning for a Star Wars FPS and don’t want to wait for the Star Wars: Battlefront remaster launching later this month, you’re in luck.

On February 28, the Atari-owned Nightdive Studios released Star Wars: Dark Forces Remaster. Employing the proprietary KEX Engine used on remasters of classic Turok and Quake games, Nightdive enhanced the 1995 MS-DOS and Macintosh shooter that follows the escapades of Rebel mercenary Kyle Katarn. Playing this game for the first time in 2024, I’ve found that it still holds up immaculately and is worth checking out if you’re worried about the future of Star Wars games.

Read more