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Review

Zen Pinball 2: Star Wars Pinball DLC Review [PSN, XBLA]

From Hoth to Tatooine, Vader sure plays a mean pinball.

You wouldn’t really think of pinball and Star Wars merging together in the world of video games. However, since it has happened, it’s a good thing that development duties fell to Zen Studios, the developers behind the Zen Pinball series.

Although this was my first experience with a Zen title, it’s clear just from playing this table pack that they’re a talented team who know how to create a fun and addictive experience. They are also no strangers to creating pinball tables for different licenses, having partnered with companies like Marvel in the past, and the Star Wars themed tables offer their own set of fun challenges.

There are three tables available in this pack, based on Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, The Clone Wars, and Boba Fett. They all take elements from their respective themes, and the challenges on offer give you a decent test to get as high a score as possible.


Scenes like this show how well Zen are respecting the source material.
The Episode V table has the classic design of a pinball table, but has its own hidden secrets that really add to the atmosphere.

On all the tables you’ll hear slightly modified quotes from their respective inspirations (“I am altering the table, pray I don’t alter it further”), but Empire’s table nails the formula perfectly.

It all starts off simply enough, playing like a normal table, but as you get more points you’ll be given situations based on scenes from the movie to beat.

One of the highlights is when a Storm Trooper emerges and starts shooting at the ball, which you have to hit him with. Beat him and an AT-AT becomes your next target. 

There’s also a small mini game in the form of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber training from the first film, where you have to block shots fired by a droid to rack up your score, which makes for an interesting side attraction. Having iconic scenes like this in the game really adds to the experience, and shows how much care Zen put into making their tables unique.

This isn’t to say the other tables don’t have their own events that draw from source material. I’ll admit that I’m not too versed in The Clone Wars TV series but this table also has its own quirks, such as Battle Droids appearing or lightsaber battles happening in the background.

The Boba Fett table consists of taking jobs for Jabba The Hutt and Darth Vader. It doesn’t matter who you get a job from as the basic of every job is to get the ball to travel through every lane, but hearing Darth Vader say he has a proposition for you in that familiar voice again shows how much detail Zen have put into this pack.

If you’ve played Zen Pinball 2 before then you’ll remember that there is both local and online multiplayer available, as well as online leaderboards. If you want to compete in your own right then the ProScore is what you’ll be interested in, showing your individual performances on each table and ranking you both globally and among your friends. Alternatively there’s the TeamScore, which combines your scores with your friends’ to rank you as a group.

There are a couple of issues though. The cameras aren’t always great and at times hide parts of the table from view, meaning you can’t see some of the action, or an objective target.

The second issue is the way that challenge objectives are displayed. They pop up in the top left corner in a quite small print, making them hard to read or even focus on while you’re playing. It might have been a better idea to have these messages appear at the bottom centre of the screen, where your eyes are focused most of the time while you’re watching the flippers.

What’s Good:

  • The tables are well styled and look great.
  • There’s quite a bit of fan service here.
  • Great for either a quick game or a longer gaming session.
  • The Empire table is a particular highlight.

What’s Bad:

  • The objective messages can be a bit hard to read during play.
  • The default camera doesn’t provide a great view, especially on the Clone Wars table.

If you’re looking for a game that you can pick up for your PS3, Xbox 360 or Vita which offers a quick challenge or an extended bit of addictive gameplay, then Zen Pinball 2 Star Wars is a good choice. The tables are well crafted with some nice artwork and excellent graphics, and Zen offer some fine fan service to Star Wars fans.

There are a few minor complaints, like the objective visibility, but overall this is worth a go.

8/10

13 Comments
  1. Lymmusic
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

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    It wont work if you’ve had plus before

    Enjoy

    Comment posted on 05/03/2013 at 09:08.
    • Alex C
      One for all.
      Since: Forever

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      Comment posted on 05/03/2013 at 09:22.
      • Lymmusic
        Member
        Since: Mar 2010

        You win :)

        Comment posted on 05/03/2013 at 09:27.
      • Klart
        Member
        Since: Jun 2010

        Got any for the US?

        Comment posted on 05/03/2013 at 09:33.
      • KeRaSh
        Member
        Since: Nov 2009

        Sadly, they’ll all be gone by the time I come home. :(

        Comment posted on 05/03/2013 at 09:54.
  2. Bodachi
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    I love Zen Pinball 2, looking forward to seeing the other 7 Star Wars tables. I still want a Doctor Who table though.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2013 at 09:32.
  3. Airiaen
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    The Zen Pinball games are wonderful would love to get this but I’m not sure if I’ll play it much.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2013 at 09:33.
  4. coruscant
    Member
    Since: Oct 2010

    I guess that you can play the Vita version in the vertical orientation to give you a better view of the table?

    Comment posted on 05/03/2013 at 10:02.
  5. Tusken77
    Member
    Since: May 2009

    Poor review. How about you look at all the options in the Settings Menu before you post a review? Let’s look at the “What’s Bad”…..

    “The default camera doesn’t provide a great view” – So what? There are EIGHT camera views to choose from. Zen should be applauded for offering so many camera views.

    “The objective messages can be a bit hard to read during play” – Make the dot matrix ‘Large’ in Settings and there’s no problem at all. They also allow you to place it in FIVE different areas of the screen where it’s most comfortable for your eyes.

    Comment posted on 05/03/2013 at 10:21.
  6. hol
    Member
    Since: Oct 2009

    I picked these up as I’m a big fan of the Zen pinball games, plays nice on both ps3 & on my newly acquired vita, in fact the vita version seems to play better! :)

    Comment posted on 05/03/2013 at 13:58.
  7. Kennykazey
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    My main concern is the price, these tables are more expensive than the rest. But I think my love for Star Wars will win me over.

    And Aran, I think it’s great you put together a review, but when you’ve not played Zen Pinball before it really hurts your cred. But it is really interesting to read a review from someone with fresh eyes. :-)

    Comment posted on 05/03/2013 at 17:29.
  8. JesseDeya
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    ZP2 is epic. I’ve been loving the other tables, particularly Plants Vs Zombies, but the new Star Wars ones are my new favourites without a doubt.

    Cross buy / save with Vita and 3D on the PS3 make Zen Pinball 2 a no brainer for those sitting on the fence. The 3D is bloody outstanding, well worth donning the glasses for.

    Comment posted on 06/03/2013 at 01:46.

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