Star Wars Pinball, the newest game from the makers of the superb Zen Pinball, is exactly what it sounds like: Star Wars + Pinball. Boom. Like we said, pretty simple. This isn’t a game that’s going to blow your mind with radical concepts and way-out-there uniqueness, but if you like pinball and you like Star Wars, then this is a game for you.
When you start the game you choose to play as either the dark side or light side of the Force. Choosing one or the other has absolutely no effect on how you play the game, so it doesn’t matter which side you choose. The only effect this has is that as you play games and score points you move up the ranks of the two factions. Score enough points on the light side and you can eventually become a Jedi Master. On the darkside you can eventually become a Sith Master. Scores from your friends in Game Center can add to this making you rise faster, but again this has zero effect on the game.
The initial game only comes with one table, which is based on The Empire Strikes Back. Other tables based on The Clone Wars and one on Boba Fett can be bought via an in-app purchase. When you play, if you get the ball in the right place, you can play out little mini-games based on scenes from the movie. There’s Luke training with Yoda on Dagobah, Han escaping to Cloud City, or our personal favorite, trying to “fly” through an asteroid field avoiding Tie-Fighters.
After you activate one of these scenarios you have to follow the instructions on the marquee in the upper left-hand corner to figure out how to beat the scene and then follow the visual cues on the table to be successful. Trying to keep track of it all can be a little overwhelming, as there is so much going on and the action is incredibly hectic. Repetition and failure are the name of these games, but with enough practice you’ll eventually get a handle as to how beat the scenes.
Other than those little mini-games, this is basically just pinball with a Star Wars skin. The tables are gorgeous looking, with lots of visual nods from the movie, and the way that certain things from Star Wars are incorporated into the gameplay, like a lightsaber being used as a slide or the Hoth cannon shooting at the ball, are kind of neat. You can also change the camera view in a bunch of different ways, to get you as close to or as far from the action as you want. All of these little touches are cool and add some nice flair and variety.
Like we said at the beginning, if the words Star Wars and pinball appeal to you, then you’ll find a lot to enjoy with this game. It plays well, looks great and has lots of the bells and whistles you’d expect from a Star Wars based game.