Did anyone watch Solo: A Star Wars Story? I know I didn’t – I had some belly button lint that urgently required removal at the time – but some people surely did. It probably wasn’t nearly as many as Disney would have liked, as Solo became the first flop of the Star Wars franchise, but its failure to ignite the box office hasn’t put off Zen Studios who have released arguably their best table pack yet with Star Wars Pinball Pack: Solo.
Consisting of three tables – Solo, Calrissian Chronicles and Battle of Mimban – this compilation certainly proves better value for money than the last pack’s offering of only two Star Wars themed tables. Each table also has higher than the average quota of geekgasms. For example, The Solo table has both Han and Chewie straddling bumpers and seeing off a variety of foes with blaster fire, there’s even a Millennium Falcon that lifts off to take part in one of the many mini games that can be activated with some accurate ball smacking.
The Calrissian Chronicles table covers the entire career of Lando Calrissian – including content from both the comics and the original films. The little Lando who comments on your performance – whilst hanging out next to the plunger – even swaps from the Donald Glover interpretation to the classic Billy Dee Williams version, depending on which chapter of his life you’re playing.
Then there’s the Battle of Mimban. Now, I must admit to having no knowledge of the ‘Battle of Mimban’ prior to playing this game, but apparently it has something to do with the Empire going up against some weird mud people? Either way, the detail on this table is breathtakingly over-the-top, from the AT-AT hybrid striding across the table to having a space ship deliver your replacement ball to the plunger, there are near constant visual treats for your eyeballs.
Whilst each table maintains the core principles of pinball at it’s heart – send your ball down the flashing lanes whilst simultaneously preventing it falling down the drain – there are so many objective based mini games crammed in that it can prove to be a little intimidating. One standout mission introduces the world to ‘stealth pinball’, as night-time falls, search lights dance across the bumpers and a tiny Woody Harrelson attempts to make his way across the table. If there’s not a big smile on your face as you try not to hit Woody with your balls then you must be dead inside.
All this content does mean that reading through the lengthy table guidelines prior to each playthrough is now absolutely necessary to achieve a high score. Whilst this does reduce the pick up and play nature of a pinball title, it has the added advantage of replay value and there are plenty of reason to have ‘just one more go.’
The basic table design is just plain great this time around as well. Flipper, bumper and rail positioning all make sense and can lead to some phenomenal combos with careful play, I didn’t encounter any moments where failure was anyone’s fault but my fingers. All of The play fields are very well proportioned this time around, with none of the awkward ‘cramming’ that has plagued previous tables in the franchise. If you want to actually be able to topple the current top score of 140 million on the Solo table, all of that is most definitely a good thing.
Zen Studios has raised the bar with its supreme table designs in Solo: A Star Wars Story, making it a near essential purchase for any Pinball FX3 fan. Much more than that though, it has managed to do the impossible. It has made me interested in watching the Solo film. Marvellous.