Google created an experimental browser game, with the licensed blessing of Lucasfilm Ltd. Lightsaber Escape lacks Star Wars in the title, but is a simple game testing a new web technology using the series as a backdrop.
The game connects a desktop version of Chrome to a mobile device, using a unique URL. The mobile device then acts as a lightsaber hilt. The player can move their arms in a Wii-like fashion to move the blade, deflecting blaster bolts back at attacking stormtroopers.
Much like the gameplay, the story is fairly simplistic. The brief campaign puts you in the position of an unnamed Jedi escaping from an Imperial Star Destroyer. The game begins with a brief demo before sending you off into the fray. No dialogue is spoken, but the familiar score of John Williams plays in the background. This gives energy and momentum as your character moves on rails from scene to scene.
The game itself is built on Polymer, an experimental web framework that Google has developed. The technology is described on Google’s site as being built for speed and efficiency. It also has a case study that was released with it, which describes the technical development. WebGL powers its graphics, though they are nothing special to write home about.
While the game is billed as an “experience built for Chrome”, it is not a strict requirement. The FAQ for the game lists a number of compatible browsers across Mac and Windows including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. Compatibility for mobile devices is even more strict in regards to manufacturer. iPhones above the 5 model are listed, along with Google’s own Nexus line between the Nexus 4 and Nexus 6P. Newer models of Samsung’s Galaxy line starting with the Galaxy S3 work as well. Besides these, only the Motorola Moto G2 made the cut. Chrome is the recommended browser for Android or iOS, but Safari is also compatible on iOS.
The game also most interestingly requires “at least a 2Ghz Intel Core i5 processor”, as well as 4GB of RAM, and a dedicated graphics card. In our testing, the game does not appear to work if any one of these requirements is not met. These heavy requirements could also explain why Google’s own Chrome OS is absent from the compatibility list.
While the game does not tie directly into the upcoming seventh film in the series, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it does take some cues from it. The Stormtroopers in the game are modeled after the ones in the First Order which appear in the film. Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases Dec. 18, 2015.