Star Wars Pinball is the new set of tables joining the expertly-crafted Zen Pinball 2 library. Since I have already talked about Zen Pinball 2 at length, this brief set of impressions will be used strictly for discussing the three new tables: The Empire Strikes Back, Boba Fett, and Clone Wars.
The Empire Strikes Back: Based on the film of the same name, Empire is a seemingly empty table that expands in complexity as you play. There are ramps and bumpers, but as the pinball hits the Star Wars marker in the center of the table, 5 scenes based on the film (each carrying a mission) can be played. Depending on what you choose, various 3D models will appear on the platform in the center and bring some much-needed excitement to the table. My favorite two are a scene in which an AT-AT has to be brought down and one where Luke needs to complete Yoda’s training. Each mission has two parts, and if time runs out, a checkpoint is created at the start of the second part of the mission, a much-enjoyed new feature. It is somewhat simple, but there are many fun sequences to find.
Boba Fett: This is the table I was most excited for. Featuring everyone’s favorite bounty hunter, the table is centered around the idea of being him, and choosing to fight for the Empire or for Jabba the Hutt, earn respect for their completion, and defeat each of his rivals. The missions are very fun, though they are generally the same (hit the lanes in succession), and the entire respect system is, as you may expect, a vehicle for getting more points. Despite the minor complaints, the table is very well-designed, and the set pieces from his film appearances are very cool.
Clone Wars: From the animated series you know and…know, with this table I had one expectation: it was going to be modern and flashy as all hell. While this was the case, all of the flair that it has is put to good use. It’s the only table that has the trademark Star Wars opening text scroll, which is a wonderful touch. As far as the table itself goes, it is totally stacked with ramps, lanes, and cool effects, evoking a sense that the table would be the most challenging of the three. As it turns out, this table is by far the easiest, allowing players to rack up millions of points quite quickly. Though such ease is usually a bad thing in games, it acts as a strong, much-appreciated contrast to the somewhat more difficult other two tables. It is also the most colorful table, which is a big plus.
From the time I have spent with these three tables, it is fair to say that these are very enjoyable uses of the Star Wars license, and absolutely worth the $10 asking price on XBLA and PSN.