Review: Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force

[revxbla]http://cdn.xlcgamingnetwork.com/news/images/2013/10/23/StarWarsBOTFReview-Screens/logo.jpg[/revxbla][font=Comic Sans MS][size=125][quote][b]Zen Studios bring the battle of the dark force upon us once again with the next three tables in this ten table Star Wars pack. This pack of three tables is called Balance of the Force and boy, are these three really good tables with some great graphics and table backdrops. Hell there is even one dedicated to the dark lord himself Darth Vader. If you haven’t yet checked out the first three tables then be sure to head on over to our [url=http://news.xlcgamingnetwork.com/?p=516]review[/url] of them. So without further hesitation lets get straight onto the tables you will play in Balance of the Force.[/b][/quote][/size][/font][hr][/hr]

I was going to save this one for last but I know all thee who follow the path of the Dark Side will no doubt head straight to it, so let’s talk the Darth Vader pinball table. This has been crafted only buy those who have mastered the powers of the Dark Side and by the looks of it those who worship the Dark Lord himself. This table is just stunning to look at sporting a red and black colour scheme. The cherry on the cake though is the back of the table which hosts Darth Vader’s mask which slides down to reveal battles during missions. The table also has some nice artwork as well pleasing fans of the series.

[align=center][size=20][b]Darth Vader Table Trailer[/b][/size]

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Star Wars fans will be treated to an authentic Darth Vader experience, as the entire table lives and breathes a highly stylized Darth Vader atmosphere complete with iconic lines from the films. 3D characters include Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker and The Emperor.

The table was designed around the biggest Darth Vader moments, including the chase for stolen Death Star schematics, the memorable lightsaber duel against Obi-Wan Kenobi, and of course the final dual with his son, Luke Skywalker.
This table is fairly easy to play and pretty straight forward in what you have to do. The table is novice friendly at the same time challenging those silver ball wizards. Activating the main table missions is an easy task by just shooting the roto target a number of times, however lose your ball and you have to start it all over again. Missions are mostly time based ramp targets, although a stand out mission for me is when you use the power of the dark force to throw balls at Luke Skywalker while he is in a duel with Darth Vader. Then of course there is the infamous trench run where you have the task of shooting down Tie Fighters which is just epic.

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The Darth Vader table is probably the strongest table in the pack of three with Zen coming up with some great ways to make use of the silver ball. I also love that they give the option to assemble Darth Vader at the start of a game giving you an easy 10 million straight away. The table makes great use of the various high points in Darth Vaders life over the series. The table is fairly easy for grinding up scores while still holding the enjoyment factor. The voiceovers are spot on and it’s just amazing hearing Darth Vader shout awesome.

The table coming a close second to the Darth Vader table is the Star Wars: Starfighter Assault table which is based around being a Tie Fighter pilot and X-wing pilot. The table is split in two between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. The biggest Star Wars space battles come to life on the Star Wars: Starfighter Assault pinball table. Players must choose to support the Rebel Alliance’s Fleet or the Galactic Empire’s Armada as they complete missions while dodging turret fire and destructible ramps! The table playfield is split down the middle, representing the struggle between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. The table is really two in one, as players need to complete both side’s missions in order to activate wizard mode. The table artwork gives the impression of being in a cockpit of the starfighters and looks tremendous.

[align=center][size=20][b]Star Wars: Starfighter Assault Table Trailer[/b][/size]

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As missions are completed, players will earn Fleet Upgrades that can be spent to upgrade the fleet, fighters and turrets. In addition, players will be able to advance the rank of their pilot as they progress through the table! The table includes legendary Starfighters like the X-wing and TIE fighter, along with iconic vessels like the Millennium Falcon and the Death Star II.

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Depending on whom you chose decides what side of the table you will shoot the ball from amongst other neat little changes like the bumpers etc. Zen Studios have certainly been very creative when it comes to the missions in this table. Straight off in the first mission you have a short space invaders type game which is fun. Other missions include taking the seat of either the Tie Fighter or X-Wing chasing down the opposing force as well as seeing some heated flying above the table during other missions. Overall this is another great and addictive table albeit a little confusing at first. The tables main missions can be a bit difficult to activate until you get into that pinball grove but they are worth it in the end.

The last table in this Star Wars pack is Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi which reminds me a lot the Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back table. The artwork on this table is certainly the most colourful with more outstanding artwork from the Star Wars universe. The table itself is also situated in a jungle with a speeder bike hovering about the table.

[align=center][size=20][b]Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi Table Trailer[/b][/size]

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The setting for the Episode VI table feels more like a physical location rather than a pinball playfield. Half the table represents the deserted planet of Tatooine and Jabba’s palace, while the other side is home to the Ewoks, complete with shield generator, bunker entrance an AT-ST walker. The Tydirium shuttle and landing platform are in the upper left corner, while a Scout trooper on a Speeder bike hovers next to the plunger.

Main characters include Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and a Scout trooper. The table features a number of interactive objects including an AT-ST, Speeder bike, Death Star II hologram, TIE fighters, Tydirium Shuttle and a Shield Generator. Similar to the Episode V: Empire Strikes Back table, the mission structure in Return of the Jedi follows the most memorable scenes from the film. Main missions can be activated by hitting the centre hold and spelling JEDI.

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This tables missions are activated very much the same way as in The Empire Strike Back table and most missions are time based ramp shots. The highlight though is the Speeder bike chase mini-game which takes place on its own play field. It is a fairly tricky mini-game which will take a few attempts to get use to but once again shows the brilliance that Zen Studios has when it comes to fitting key Star Wars moments into a pinball game. The only problem with this table is the fact that ball drains seem to happen way to easily unless you’re a wizard with the tilt manoeuvre. It can be frustrating for sure but it still didn’t stop me coming back for more to be honest. It’s that one more play factor that Zen Studios seems to have mastered when it comes to these tables, even in this slightly frustrating table I just couldn’t stop myself starting another game.

[b][font=Comic Sans MS][size=125]The Good Things[/size][/font][/b]
[list][*]Another stellar set of Star Wars tables from the galaxy pinball wizards.
[*]Worth it for the Darth Vader table alone.
[*]You get to pilot a Tie Fighter and X-wing starfighter using pinball controls that are implemented amazingly.[/list]

[b][font=Comic Sans MS][size=125]And The Bad[/size][/font][/b]
[list][*]If you are not a Star Wars fan it may not be to your liking.
[*]The Return of the Jedi table is a bit drain ball happy.[/list]

[b][font=Comic Sans MS][size=125]My Verdict…[/size][/font][/b]
Zen Studios have gone deep into a galaxy far, far away and returned with another trio of fantastic Star Wars tables, showing us they are true Galaxy Pinball Wizards. If you are a Star Wars fan and enjoyed the first three tables then these tables will give you a fresh and welcomed challenge. Even if you’re not a fan of the franchise these still make great tables to play if you have exhausted all the other tables. The tables really do show off Zen Studios creative genius when it comes to making original pinball tables. With some great intuitive mission choices, great graphics, outstanding artwork and the gameplay to match, you really do get more than your monies worth in this pack.

[quote][b][font=Comic Sans MS][size=150]Zen Studios prove once again that Pinball and Star Wars make the perfect galactic battle.[/size][/font][/b][/quote]
[star9][/star9]

About no1phil

no1phil
PR Manager & Editor for XLC Gaming Network. I have been gaming since the ZX Spectrum days growing up through many generations of consoles. A bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to gaming genres. When I'm not either being shot at, dancing, scoring for the other team or racing I am trying to become a guitar God with Rocksmith 2014.