There was a time when I thought pinball on a console was stupid and couldn’t possibly be any fun, and then PlayStation Plus featured Marvel Pinball as a free download. I tried it and ended up loving it. The folks at Zen Studios have crafted a lot of virtual tables, but it’s their Marvel tables that have really been their strong suit (and why not, they have 15 Marvel themed tables now). In addition to the Marvel tables, there was one table released when they switched to Zen Pinball 2 that served as a shining example a fantastical virtual pinball table, and that was Plants vs. Zombies.
Now, I believe Zen Studios have truly topped themselves with their most recent themed pack: Star Wars Pinball.
On the PlayStation Network, these three tables can only be bought in a pack for $9.99 (and it’s cross-buy between PS3 and PS Vita, which is always great). And yes, these three tables are definitely worth the $10.
The first table is just about everyone’s favorite Star Wars film; Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. This table features five scenes from the movie for you to tackle as missions. There are multiple parts to each mission, and outside of the mission there’s a fairly cool first person portion that you can trigger. Here, you take control of Luke Skywalker and reenact his Jedi training by deflecting the blaster shots with your lightsaber. You may even get to deflect something else in first person, but I’ll probably never get that far myself. This table features Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and a Storm Trooper as full 3D characters. There’s also a 3D tie fighter, AT-AT Walker, Snow Speeder, Ion Cannon, and the light sabers of both Skywalker and Vader.
This table is pretty difficult even though it doesn’t look like it would be. Admittedly, I suck at pinball, so it may just be difficult to me. I can never the ball to go where I want it to go, so I’m pretty much just hitting it and hoping for the best (and that I don’t lose the ball, which unfortunately happens to me just about everything I actually start a challenge). I have to say that Empire Strikes Back is my favorite of the tables though, and the other two are both highly impressive and highly fun as well.
The second table in the pack is The Clone Wars, based on The Clone Wars cartoon (which I’ve never seen an episode of). This table is busy and features the same cartoonish visuals. The table is so fast and so busy that I honestly have a hard time even seeing what I’m doing or where I might should be trying to hit the ball; but that’s okay because this machine throws out points to you. Just a couple of minutes into it, you’ll likely have anywhere from eight to 10 million points. After all, when I can score over 36 million points on a table, you know that particularly table isn’t hard at all.
The Clone Wars is the only table in the pack to feature the famous crawling text, which is also narrated. That’s a really nice touch, and it would have been great if Empire Strikes Back at least had it too (preferably all three, but at least Empire Strikes Back with The Clone Wars), but oh well. This table also features 3D rendered models of Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Asajj Ventress, Savage Opress, and some Battle Droids.
And finally we have a character specific table for everyone’s favorite bounty hunter, Boba Fett. This is a greatly put together table, and it looks amazing as a result. However, this table has been the one to cause me the most frustration. It’s just a really difficult table for me and I really don’t know why other than I suck. It’s the one table where the ball keeps going down the side behind the flippers… constantly. I don’t know why I’m doing wrong or how to stop it, but without fail I lose this table every time with maybe a few million points because I lose the ball down the sides.
The Fett table has you taking bounties from Darth Vader or Jabba the Hutt, and it even features the Sarlaac Pit (which your ball can fall into!). You’re just trying to get your respect level up here and take out your rivals. The table does feature the capturing of Han Solo. Like the other two tables in the pack, there are 3D fully rendered characters here as well: Boba Fett (obviously, and he flies around and blows stuff up), Darth Vader, Jabba the Hutt, and a Storm Trooper. There’s also a TIE Fighter and Fett’s slave ship.
As usual, the tables have full trophy (and achievements/rewards) support, but as I’ve said I’m no good and don’t tend to get trophies for tables despite hours of play.
If you are a pinball fan, Star Wars Pinball is an absolute no brainer purchase at $10. These are three great tables, possibly the best from Zen yet (and that’s saying something considering the amount of awesome tables these guys and gals have created). If you’re a Star Wars fan with even a remote interest in pinball, I think this pack will also be worth your money. The folks at Zen Studios are known for the amount of attention they pay to their source material, and each table is loaded with Star Wars goodness and crafted with loving attention. Star Wars fans who also love pinball, well you’ve already bought it and are no doubt in Zen heaven right now… but you certainly won’t regret your purchase.
Whether you’re a pinball wizard or a complete noob like me, these three tables have a lot of fun to offer so it’s an easy four-star recommendation as far as I’m concerned.
Now you can choose which ever cheesy, obligatory Star Wars reference you wish to end this review with:
A. “The force is strong with this one.”
B. “These ARE the pinball tables you’re looking for.”
Star Wars Pinball gets a four out of five: GREAT.
* The Stars War Pinball pack was provided by the publisher for review.