“He’s no good to me dead.”
When Lucasfilm sold Star Wars to Disney last year, it brought the franchise back to life and back to the daily conversation. With new Star Wars movies on the way, it was only a matter of time before the gaming industry took advantage of its renewed popularity and we get to reap the rewards. Zen Studios jumped into the mix with Star Wars Pinball, an extension to their already established Zen Pinball/Pinball FX series, with the first three tables being released this week and more coming down the pipe in the coming months. Let’s take a look at what we get with Star Wars Pinball.
What You Get
The first three tables to be released for Star Wars Pinball are Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Boba Fett and The Clone Wars. Whether you own Pinball FX on the Xbox 360 or Zen Pinball on the PS3, PC or mobile devices, Star Wars Pinball will act as DLC and integrate right into the game, just like previous DLC tables.
The Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back table features 3D versions of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, a Storm Trooper and even a Tie-Fighter and an AT-AT Walker. The table is set on the main deck of the Super Star Destroyer Executor and features a neat little mini-game that has you using a Lightsabre from a First-Person view. It also features scenes from the movie that play on the digital display when you activate them and it’s by far the fastest table in the pack. The center of the table has two top flippers and a rounded path that will shoot the ball back to you really quickly and I found that you had to react quicker on this one compared to the other two tables.
The Clone Wars table is set between Episode II and Episode III with Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano battling Droids as you play. Since it’s based on the animated TV show, the Clone Wars table features the same cartoonish art style, which should please fans of the show. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full episode of the show so I can’t really comment on how faithful Zen Studios were with every object and character on the table, but based on their previous work and the other two tables in this pack, I’m sure they nailed it. One thing I will say is that the Clone Wars table is by far the easiest of the three, with a long open center and it seems to award points quicker than the other two tables.
Last up is the Boba Fett table, which was the one that I was most excited for because who doesn’t love Boba Fett? He is a bad-ass Bounty Hunter and he deserves a bad-ass pinball table. Fortunately for us, Zen Studios must feel the same way because his table is one of their best efforts yet when it comes to the overall appearance of the table. The Boba Fett table includes appearances from Boba Fett (of course), Darth Vader and Jabba The Hutt and it has the famous Sarlacc Pit that Boba Fett fell into during Return of the Jedi, across the top. Man, what a crappy way to die. It’s also the table that you need to be the most accurate on if you want to reach some insane high scores.
Unfortunately, this table seems to have a small design flaw that can cause you to lose your ball when you use the upper left flipper. When your ball goes into the Sarlacc Pit or above it, it will come back down the left side and pass by the flipper and if you hit it at the right moment, it will send your ball across the table and directly down the right side gutter, losing your ball. It doesn’t happen every time, but enough to make me not want to risk using that flipper. They probably just need to make a small adjustment to angle of the guard rail above the gutter so that it bounces out and away from the gutter instead of right down it.
Just like with previous Pinball FX/Zen Pinball tables, you can play Star Wars Pinball online with three other players in Ranked and Unranked matches and offline with up to three friends. Playing offline you can play split-screen with one other player or you can play turn-based matches with three other players. I’ve never been a fan of playing Pinball split-screen, as I find it too hard to read the scoreboard and I always have to sit too close to the TV (sorry Mom), but it’s there if it’s something you enjoy. Whether you’re playing online or offline, the multiplayer experience hasn’t changed in Star Wars Pinball.
Despite a small, annoying design issue with the Boba Fett table, Zen Studios have proved once again that they are the best in the business when it comes to making video game pinball tables. These three tables are just the beginning for Star Wars Pinball, and I can’t wait to see how they top them.
Price: 800 MS Points ($10)
Release Date: February 27th, 2013
Available On: XBLA, PS3, PS Vita, PC, Mac, iOS, Android