Zen Studios is well known among digital pinball enthusiasts for its outstanding recreations of contemporary and classic arcade machines, and now it has launched Star Wars Pinball for the Nintendo Switch. Featuring nineteen tables spread among various stories in the Star Wars universe, high-quality, authentic pinball gameplay, a broad range of ways to play, and enough content to keep avid players and newcomers satisfied, this game nails every mark.
So Many Tables To Explore
In total, there are nineteen pinball tables to experience. Each is completely unique in its appearance and objectives. They range in themes set in Episode IV-VIII, Star Wars Rebels, The Clone Wars, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and some are based upon specific locations within a film.
The lazy option would have been to build a good-looking table and then having a generic arcade or even cantina backdrop behind the machine, but instead, Zen Studios has created individual background environments that border on the fantastic. The table below for Episode IV: A New Hope is set in the hanger where the rebellion prepares their attack on the Death Star, blending the pinball machine with the Star Wars universe.
The table for Episode VII: The Force Unleashed is set in what appears to be the hanger of a Star Destroyer. Note how Captain Phasma is standing on the right side of the screen. When a player executes an objective or completes a mission, these various characters on screen will often come to life and engage with the table in some way. In another table, one can activate a minigame where they square off against Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel, using the flippers to parry attacks.
This is one example of how Zen Studios moves past a mere adaptation or reimagining of an arcade machine. No longer bound by the reality of an arcade, it is free to insert these fantastic elements that would be impossible in a real pinball machine.
Not Like Other Pinball Games
The game flexes the full power of Pinball FX3 on the Switch, and the importance of a constant 60 FPS and seamless performance of each game mode cannot be understated here. Readers may be considering the game, but hold off after playing one of the many other pinball games for the Nintendo Switch, most of which are poorly made and do not feel like authentic pinball. Be assured that every table looks and feels fantastic.
Hold The Switch As You Please
By default, the game is presented in a horizontal mode, with the shoulder buttons used as flippers. The camera can be set to follow the ball and the action as it travels around the table, or one can turn the Switch vertical and use the touch screen for the paddles. Both are great ways to play, though the vertical feels far more like one is playing a real machine, which is a nice touch.
Expert Or Noob – The Table Guides Have You Covered
If one simply wishes to play the game for fun, without any goal of a high score, they simply jump in and go at it. If, however, they want to master each table, Zen Studios has prepared thorough guides. Click here to check out an example that they have on their website for Star Wars: The Last Jedi table. 33 pages await with details instructions on how to become an expert.
It's a wonder why there is any such need for such a comprehensive guide, but the answer lies in the extensive ways to play the game outside of simply picking a table at random.
So Many Modes
This is where the incredible replay value of the game becomes apparent. Career Mode is a fun way to both learn the different tables and improve upon the fundamentals of the game, as players are tasked with objectives that may be as simple as acquiring a high score or as complex as defeating a table’s missions.
Players can earn points for their Light or Dark side profile, and Holocrons that can be used on Force Powers and Talents. The unlockable passive and active abilities can be used to slow down time for precision shots, expand multipliers for more points, and extend the time in which a ball is safe, and more. One can play with these or shut them off completely if they prefer a more pure playstyle.
League Play and Galactic Tournaments by default disable all talents, and provide infinite replayability, so long as the online community remains healthy. Here, there are high scores that players can challenge to beat in a limited amount of time. Doing well enough at the end of a week will see you either bumped up or down in rank, much like a ladder system in other competitive online games.
Original Music Fuels Nostalgic Feels
The music in the game is all licensed and original and brings an added feel of authenticity and nostalgia to the gameplay. Right now, and probably forever, anyone who is streaming this game is using a special setting that removes all of this licenced music to avoid being struck by any form of copyright infringement. If one is checking out a video review of the game, keep this in mind, as the in-game music is in fact from the films.
If you even have a passing interest in the game, the price tag of $29.99 is still great for what you are given in return. This comes out to about $1.57 per table, which combined with the extensive guides to master them all and the ongoing ladder system through online play, makes this a game that one could play at length now, and pick up again a year from now to receive the same amount of enjoyment.
The Best Star Wars Game On The Switch
This heading is a bit misleading because, believe it or not, the game is also the first in the Star Wars franchise for the two-year-old Nintendo Switch, narrowly beating out the incoming port of Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast releasing on September 24th.
Regardless, Star Wars Pinball absolutely nails the mark. Zen Studios has provided a broad range of tables with care placed into the development of each, and replayability that allows this game to remain a fun play year down the road. If you're a fan of Star Wars or a fan of pinball, this game will not disappoint.
Now, if only they could licence the Marvel Cinematic Universe and make the same number of tables based on our favorite films over the last ten years culminating in Avengers: Endgame, this reviewer would be so happy. For now, this is still an excellent game.
5 Out Of 5 Stars
A review code for Star Wars Pinball was provided to TheGamer for this review. Star Wars Pinball is available for the Nintendo Switch now in physical and digital download.