Magic Leap took years to launch, but when it did, the company managed to quickly become the leading rival to Microsoft's HoloLens (at least when it comes to experimental immersive experiences).
On Friday, Magic Leap continued that journey by holding a different kind of launch — in augmented reality. The latest gaming title for the Magic Leap One is called Boosters, and it's from the same Weta Workshop team that brought us Dr. Grordbort's Invaders.
The surprise release means I haven't had much time to test the game out on our own Magic Leap One, but a quick playtest reveals a relatively simple but nevertheless enjoyable gaming experience.
Once the game is initialized, a launchpad appears on the floor of your space and quickly opens up to produce rocket (about two feet high). The rocket and launchpad follow the same steampunk-style design aesthetic as the world of Dr. Grordbort's Invaders.
But rather than give gamers a tabletop, seated experience, Boosters is a lot like Grordbort's in that it uses a large space and requires full interaction from the user in terms of walking around to find new aspects of the experience.
A press of the front controller trigger kicks off the rocket's engines and you navigate the (pretty sensitive) rocket, which you guide toward asteroid crystals to level up. During my brief test, the most thrilling thing about the barebones game was its reliance on haptic feedback in the handheld controller.
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Because your space is already mapped, the rocket knows where it can and can't fly, so when you crash into the wall of your living room (which I did often, even on easy mode), the rocket not only explodes, but you can feel that explosion in a very realistic way via the haptic feedback in the controller.
My first impression was that this is a game that the team rushed out to perhaps stoke interest before the holiday season (and maybe distract from other stories), but upon further reflection, I think this may be the perfect gateway experience for those who haven't tried the far more elaborate and complicated immersive experience that is Dr. Grordbort's Invaders.
If you try Boosters, and like it, you'll likely have a good time in the deeper spatial computing waters of Grordbort's. Boosters is available for free now on the Magic Leap World store.