Star Wars Pinball!!! Wait, what? Those were the thoughts that jumped into my head when I first heard about the newest Pinball tables coming to Pinball FX2. Instant excitement bubbled up in me and I had to get my hands on these tables as soon as I possibly could. If any theme could get new players playing Pinball FX2, Star Wars can do it. Even though Star Wars Pinball will be released on quite a few platforms ranging from PSN, iOS and Google Play, we here at COG have the pleasure of reviewing these new tables on Xbox LIVE Arcade. There are a total of ten Star Wars tables set to be released and we get a chance to check out the first pack containing Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Boba Fett and The Clone Wars.
Each of the tables incorporates plot elements and/or timelines from the Star Wars franchise in their story telling. The Empire Strikes Back table pulls specific scenes from the movie of the same name, the Boba Fett table recounts some of bounty hunter’s illustrious bounty hunting moments and The Clone Wars table delves into the action between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
The tables are intricately designed featuring the requisite lights, ramps, bumpers and flippers along with some 3D objects such as a tie fighter that zooms across the board during a particular mission and 3D characters including Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, and Boba Fett just to name a few, that come to life. Each table has a few cool graphical elements such as the light saber ramps that brings your pinball down to the flippers (this is actually one of the coolest features of the three tables), dot matrix movie scenes that play on the score board before missions on the Empire Strikes Back table, a ball save feature on the Boba Fett table that has Boba Fett reaching in and retrieving your lost ball with his grappling hook, and the escape pod that launches the pinball onto the table in the Clone Wars table.
The musical soundtrack lends itself a lot from the movies and television series and fans of the Star Wars universe will appreciate the carryover of these iconic Star Wars tunes to the pinball tables. Notable voice work was found throughout the tables but especially on the Clone Wars table that highlighted Yoda and his infinite wisdoms along with the voice of the narrator from the Clone Wars animated series. Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker from the Clone Wars make some voice appearances as well. When you combine the music, the voice work and your classic pinball sounds with you find yourself becoming easily immersed in the Star Wars universe through the joys of pinball.
As expected, gameplay has remained similar to other Zen Pinball tables. Along with the basic goal of keeping your pinball moving on the table while hitting targets, you’ll find bumpers and ramps activate missions (bounties for the Boba Fett table) by hitting ramps to collect letters to spell specific words or to light lamps. Missions usually bring the 3D elements of each table into action and may require you to perform skill shots or hit specific shots to complete the tasks outlined and earn some high point values. High scores can also be obtained by hitting different ramps, making specific skill shots, and getting combos during regular play. The three tables offer a varying degree of enjoyability with Clone Wars coming out on top in my opinion, followed by Boba Fett and finally Empire Strikes Back. Although all three are fun I find tables with a little bit longer of a learning curve not as enjoyable and Empire Strikes Back is one of those tables that falls into that category with the other two tables being much easier to jump into to get the full pinball experience.
All three tables feature a multiplayer option for head to head action, some new achievements, and leaderboards so you can challenge your friends. Leaderboards certainly add another level of competitiveness to the game and it is easy to see how you stack up with the in-game notifications of your friend’s scores and how far off you are to surpassing them.
This first instalment of the Star Wars Pinball tables delighted all Star Wars fans in our home including myself, my young son, and even my Star Wars deprived wife who enjoyed playing the new tables although she had no clue at times who the characters were or what the Jedi Council Chamber was. That doesn’t matter though as you can still have fun playing a table without any knowledge of the theme allowing you to safely say they are darn good tables. As a fan of both pinball and Star Wars these tables are amazing, top notch, and a joy to play and I am eagerly looking forward to future Star Wars tables being released from Zen Studios.