Ever since I was a young boy, I played the silver ball; now that pinball is digital, I can play them all. I don't know what I am more of a fanatic for: “Star Wars” or pinball – that is why I was so excited for the release of “Star Wars Pinball.” It can be downloaded on its own or as an add-on DLC for “Zen Pinball 2,” released last year.
For the last year, “Zen Pinball 2” has been one of the best pinball simulations games on the market. Zen has the best ball physics of any pinball game I have played, other than the real thing. You can't beat the nostalgic feel of a real machine, but in some ways, digital can be better because each board is very interactive. They have three-dimensional versions of characters, cut scene animations, timed goals, special effects, and mini-games. Really, the best part about digital pinball is that you can download hundred of tables, even recreations of classic real-life tables, and you don't have to enter a single quarter.
I have had “Zen” for a while on my iPad and was very excited to play the new “Star Wars” tables. On iOS, “Zen Pinball” is a free download, and you pay $1.99 per table, so the “Star Wars” set can be downloaded for S6, on PSN and XBLA, and it is $9.99. It's the same game on all the systems, but I really like the ability to play on the go, and with the beautiful retina display on the iPad, it looks gorgeous and controls like a dream.
Slide your finger on the ball release to set the ball in motion and tap the screen on bottom corners to work the flippers. There are all sorts of great sound effects and actions on the screen that could never be done on a real machine. On the consoles, you can play with a controller or keyboard and mouse; either way, it is a genuine pinball experience.
“Star Wars Pinball” is a collection of tables developed with authentic “Star Wars” scenes. Each table features a different iconic moment from the Star Wars movies with interactive 3D characters and, best of all, iconic music and sound effects. One example is with the Boba Fett table – there are cut scenes when you activate mini-games, you get to see scenes with Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt, and it is great to see the iconic moments. It really adds some great elements to the pinball experience.
Right now, there are three “Star Wars” tables available, but there are seven more to come. The tables that are out right now are Boba Fett, “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Aside from original designs, all of the tables feature voice acting, animated movie scenes, special events, and online leaderboards. Each table embraces the feel of each movie or character it is designed for – Boba Fett's table has a sarlacc pit and Han Solo in carbonite, “Empire” has lightsaber battles and a darker feel, and “Clone Wars” is brighter and has more of a cartoon design.
Over the last year, “Zen Pinball” has also put out about a dozen Marvel Comics tables as well. They have the same amount of detail and are similarly priced; while you are playing “Star Wars,” I would check out the Marvel tables as well for a few dollars more.
If you are a “Star Wars” fan, you will definitely like the aesthetic of this game, but if you are a pinball fan, you really have to check this out. From the physics to the lights and sounds to the variety of real-life tables you can get, you have to play this game. I can't wait to see the rest of the tables coming later on this year. “May the Force be with you.”
'Star Wars Pinball'
System: PSN, XBLA, Wii U, PC, iOS, Android
Publisher: Zen Studios
Developer: Zen Studios