Scott Watson reviews Star Wars Pinball: The Force Awakens…
You’ve all seen that new Star Wars movie right? It feels like everyone on the planet has or almost everyone has. I certainly have, twice so far. So, with great vigor and much enthusiasm, I attacked Zen Studios release of two new virtual pinball tables in celebration of Star Wars: The Force Awakens to see if any dormant pinball skills were still in my body.
Now, I’m no hardcore pinball aficionado (in fact, I think the Pinball Dreams series back in the Amiga days were likely my last attempt at this wizardry), but as the pinball rocketed around The Force Awakens table I found a stupidly large grin appearing quickly on my face. What is so satisfying about playing these tables is that they are most importantly a LOT of fun. The controls are very tight, the artwork and design of the tables is immaculately beautiful and most important of all, you always feel like you’re achieving something when playing.
The more you play and become familiar with the layout of the tables and the trajectory of the ball, the more you find the little nooks and crannies the ball needs to head into for those huge multipliers. When these kick off, you often find yourself treated to a dazzling display of on screen animations overlayed above, on top, or throughout the tables. It’s brilliant and very cool to watch but can sometimes throw your concentration on the ball.
This two table pack is split between the light and dark side if you will. The light is based around the Junkers yard on Jakku and focuses on Fin, Rey and BB-8. It’s a very open table and the one to start with to get you into the swing of things. The junkers yard is imagined in fine fashion with some stunningly crisp imagery of Finn, Rey and BB-8 taking centre stage plus it gives you plenty of space to see where the balls are coming from and coming at you too.
The dark, Might of the First Order table is indeed a far more challenging prospect. With Captain Phasma towering over one side and a flame trooper the other, Kylo Ren’s hooded figure dominates the middle of the table as both he and General Hux bark commands and “pleasantries” in your direction when you fail. This table has a tendency to take no prisoners when you’re not focused on it fully. I found myself losing sight of the ball too easily at times, especially when it dropped into the secondary mini table below the main playing area. Frustrating? Perhaps, but not so much that it put me off. It, like the Jakku table, is beautiful in its design but cold looking and captures the essence of the First Order magnificently, especially when the flame trooper blasts out his weapon or the hologram of the Star Destroyer lets loose a barrage of laser fire.
For those new to the Zen Pinball series too, there’s a plethora of tables available (albeit at a cost) if you feel you’ve beaten both of the tables above, which is a great part of this pinball platform. Not only that, but the ability for local multiplayer is another big positive and makes it one of these games that’s ideal to sit down with your mates for a night in, or after a night out and get some friendly competition on the go. Be warned though, if you’re wanting to break onto any of the online leaderboards there are some seriously fierce scores up there that have more zeroes than I think is humanly possible!
So with that in mind, a great Jedi master once said, “focus, concentrate, do or do not… there is no try…”
I really need to do that if I’ve to achieve any higher than the paltry scores I’ve been pulling to date.
Both of the new Star Wars Pinball tables feature art, models, and sounds directly from the film and are available now across PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Mac, Windows 10, Steam, iOS, Android, and Amazon mobile devices.