Star Wars Battle Pod is an immersive, flashy, and elaborate arcade cabinet


And fans will probably love it

While everyone’s waiting for that one Star Warsgame this fall, there’s another new(ish) experience meant to transport you to a galaxy far, far away. It won’t scratch the same itch, but it’s immersive, flashy, and unabashed fan service. That seems like enough to placate Star Warsfor a very short time.

Star Wars Battle Podis that experience, and it’s meant to put you directly into the cockpit during iconic moments in the franchise’s history. The arcade cabinet features five different on-rails dogfighting scenarios. Cruising under and around AT-ATs on Hoth and into the core of the second Death Star is the type of high-octane action offered.

It’s vapid, but goddamn is it fun. For all stuff happening on-screen, the gameplay’s surprisingly limited. A throttle control on the left hand accelerates or decelerates, but it doesn’t make as much of an impact as you’d think. Your ship keeps barreling along on the predetermined path. There’s a joystick on the right hand that controls the aiming reticule and missiles and lasers. Pursuit of enemies is quick, so there’s a good amount of leniency here; get them inside the large circle, and they’re probably dead.

It’s not just the game that impresses here — the actual cabinet itself does, too. Blowing air vents and rumble features that are synchronized with the action add to everything. The overwhelmingly large convex screen taking up the entirety of your peripheral vision certainly helps too. For the third time in this article, I’m using the word “experience” becauseStar Wars Battle Podis more that than a game.

Unfortunately for me, I’m kind of bad at it. Giving it a few different shots, I couldn’t manage to clear any of the (approximately) three minute missions. Everything was going smoothly enough until “Mission Alert” flashed across the screen, meaning that there’s an objective to fulfill — defend a transport, blow up the Death Star…that sort of thing. I failed here each and every time. Oh well, it was still a hell of a ride.

My go at Star Wars Battle Podwas at Bandai Namco’s headquarters in Tokyo, where a free cabinet was set up. Those in the United States can give it the old college try, as it’s in several Dave & Busters locations.That won’t be gratis, of course; online reports seem to indicate that it’s $4 per play. Steep, but maybe worth it forStar Warsfans to at least check out. There are likely diminishing returns across more runs, asBattle Podshows its hand immediately. But hey, if the force is strong with you, who am I to stop you?