Zen Studios have certainly welcomed the Star Wars franchise with open hands, or should that be open flippers? With eleven tables already in the digital pinball universe it seems LucasFilm has been happy with the tables. So much so that the pinball wizards have been tasked with bringing two tables from the latest movie, Star Wars VII The Force Awakens. In true Star Wars fashion the team have come up with two very different, but equally entertaining tables focusing on the light and dark side of the galaxy.
The first table I tested my steel ball skills on was The Force Awakens Table which follows the film with the table situated on the desert of planet Jakku. This table focuses on the Light Side as you play through the roles of Ray, Finn and even BB-8. This table is a fairly easy table to play so novice players will be raking up high scores with relative ease. It is a wide open table with two ramps, a centre loop and a rear large loop. The centre loop can be deadly at times causing a few centre drains if your not quick with the flippers. The bumpers at the bottom flippers have got some bounce to them emphsised by by a Tie-Fighter above each. The table art is very striking with the main Characters Ray and Finn taking centre spot. As always with a Zen Studios table you are blessed with some great on table characters as you play through the mission modes.
The Force Awakens Table has twelve scenes to open up with that will take you to key locations from the movie. This leads the way for Zen Studios’ all-new table-transforming environment mechanics. The scenes are easy to start as you just need to hit the left ramp a number of times. One thing I love about this table is that you don’t restart the scene on a ball drain. This really is a great system if you want a chance to see all twelve scenes. While other Star Wars tables will usually tell you how to play each of the scenes of main missions, they don’t on this table. This makes playing through the scenes the fist time a pleasant surprise. You will still be told how to start the many features else where on the playfield.
I don’t want to give to much away of the main scenes but The Force Awakens Table has became my favourite Star Wars table to play. This is all because of one thing, and that is, the use of BB-8 which Zen Studios has done amazing with. One scene brings you to the mini-playfield at the top right of the table, where you control BB-8 with the flippers to avoid the nets as long as possible. Once caught Ray then comes to his rescue with you hitting the flippers for her to cut him free. Another mission will actually put BB-8 as the pinball ball which is just a touch of class and shows just how Zen Studios know how to make great use of a license. I would have loved it if they gave you the chance to use BB-8 as the normal pinball ball, this is something Zen Studios should look into for future tables.
The Star Wars Pinball Might of The First Order table takes a very different approach and takes you over to the dark side. You are put in command of the First Order tasked with extending its power to many planets in the galaxy. This table is a much more compact table to play with some very steep ramps. You need to be prepared to here “Hit it harder” shouted at you many times. If you find the first table not offering you enough challenge then this one will really test your pinball skills with many challenging shots on offer.
This tables presentation just screams everything dark side with some great features. The most notable is the storm trooper standing to the left of the table with a flamethrower. You will also see a holographic Star Destroyer which you will get to control. The table also features a second play-field right in the centre of the table with a special ball-lock system, as well as allowing you to control the Star Destroyer with the help of a special magnetic upside-down ramp. The later I have still yet to achieve. The storm trooper with the flamethrower will toast your ball in a white-hot ball mode where scoring is doubled for the length the ball stays hot.
The Good Things
- You get to use BB-8 as the pinball in one of the tables missions.
- Great use of the Star Wars license yet again.
- Two very different tables that sit perfectly in you Digital Pinball Library.
And The Bad
- The Might of The Order table can be technically challenging.
- I want the option to use BB-8 as the standard ball.
- It’s obvious that the pinball gods at Zen Studios really have a passion for not only Star Wars but digital pinball in general. Time and time again the team have shown their talent at making exceptional use of a franchise. Once again this is a master class in digital pinball from those that do it best. With already eleven Star Wars tables in the digital pinball of fame, these two new tables are a must have for fans of not only Star Wars but digital pinball in general. If I had to choose my favourite table of the two then The Force Awakens table wins hands down due to how the team have used BB-8. Seriously this is so much fun especially when you use him as a pinball ball. I would like to see an option in future tables where you would be able to use things like BB-8 as the standard pinball ball.
BB-8 completely steals the show for me in this pack, well done Zen Studios.
The Star Wars Pinball: The Force Awakens Pack will be available on Zen Pinball 2, Pinball FX2 and Star Wars Pinball platforms on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows 10 and Steam the week of January 12, 2016 for $4.99/€4,99/£3.99, as well as individual table in-app purchases on Mac for $2.99/€2,69/£1.99 and Zen Pinball and Star Wars Pinball on iOS, Android, and Amazon mobile devices for $1.99/€1,79/£1.49.