screen1136x1136-112Enough with the Star Wars. We get it. They were fun movies. But do we really need another derivative, cynical capitalization on our memories of a... what's that? It's a pinball game from Zen Studios? Yes, please. And how much of my money would you like?"

That’s my basic reaction to Star Wars Pinball 2 [$1.99]. Sure, we don’t need another Star Wars game. But when it’s from Zen Studios, who have made their reputation crafting fun, detailed, and innovative virtual pinball machines, it’s hard to resist the allure of diving into George Lucas’ overexposed space opera once again.

The app was released a while ago, but with the recent "Balance of the Force" update of three new tables, we felt it was overdue for a proper review.

As with Zen Pinball and Marvel Pinball, Star Wars Pinball includes one default table, with each additional table costing a bit of money. And like those games, every machine makes the mere idea of video pinball feel vital and new, without losing the touches that make real pinball so appealing.

Those familiar Skywalker Sound sound effects still satisfy nostalgia, while fitting in perfectly with the way pinball machines are supposed to look and feel. Lasers and light sabers fit the genre like a glove. The voices aren’t bad either, though they don’t always match exactly to the film.

But these tables aren’t for everyone. The difficulty remains high, and it might frustrate some. Every table is loaded with surprises, but getting to see them takes a high degree of patience and perseverance. Luckily, every table has a guide, making missions easier to identify and activate. And the payoff makes it very worth the effort.

The question with most Zen Studios games isn’t whether to buy (you should buy), but which additional machines are right for you. So here’s a breakdown of every machine in Star Wars Pinball 2, including the recently released Balance of the Force update.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

This is the preloaded table, and it’s a solid one. It's got the snowy look of Empire, and includes five scenes from the film. This is a great first table, covering a wide range of Star Warsiness. Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and light saber ramps all make delightful appearances.

The Clone Wars

Sure, this is a table based on the pre-Vader timeline, and some won’t be able to abide the prequels. But if they had to make a game using a recent Star Wars entity, I’m glad they chose the occasionally excellent “The Clone Wars” series. It's a colorful, fun table, and the most accessible for kids, and reminded me of Marvel Pinball’s Spider-Man table. It's a shockingly fun options, and one of my favorites of the bunch. Bonus: This table is generous with points, so if you’re obsessed with scoring, this is a great option.

Boba Fett

I’m not the biggest fan of the tertiary character (Fun fact: He got started on the much maligned Star Wars Holiday Special!). But those who are will enjoy this table. As Fett, you take jobs from the Empire and Jabba. It’s got a grittier, earthier look, and even has a Sarlacc Pit. It’s definitely a solid table with plenty to do, but less essential than the others, unless you’re a true fan of the Fett.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

If you enjoyed the Empire Strikes Back table, but wish it had more forest and less snow, this one's for you. Like the Episode V table, you go through five different scenes from the film. It's another fun machine, though be ready to trade in tech for trees. In fact, you actually use a tree stump to launch your ball. It's fun, but it might not be everyone's thing.

Darth Vader

Like Boba Fett, this is another focused take on a single character. The table goes through some Darth Vader's greatest post-Anakin hits (and his the still-unintentionally-hilarious “NOOOOOOOOO!” from Revenge of the Sith). It's a handsome, sleek table with tons of ramps, sound bytes, and glowing balls, and reminded me why I loved Vader so much to begin with. Double bonus: This table is even more generous with points than The Clone Wars table.

Starfighter Assault

The wild card of the set, it's also my favorite. This table lets you choose between rebel and imperial fighters. With space ships zipping around asteroids, this Starfighter Assault is the most exciting, interesting table. There's minigames that might not be everyone's thing, but I found them to be a nice break from the action, which is fast and furious.

It's hard to go wrong with any of these tables. They're all different, interesting and exciting, crafted to please hardcore pinball and Star Wars fan boys and girls alike. Even you nerf herders will dig it.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • spsummer

    Love the game, esp. the new tables. Next we need a Yoda themed table.

    • Aventador

      You crazy or what ? I had enough of Yodas fortune cookie lines from Clone Wars table.Even Lando or Ackbar tables would be better.
      Death Star themed table would be excellent, but they already used many Death Star scenes in multiple tables.
      Jabba the Hut table could be interesting ( even though he was also used for minigames in some tables ), with Rancor pit , Gammorians , bounty hunters , slaves, etc...
      Maybe something from episode 1-3 , CIS oriented table ( battle droids, Count Dooku ) would be fantastic as part of the next pack of tables.

    • MonkeyChunks

      Yea, I don't want Yoda either. I am not sure what is the best theme or character to use, but there are plenty to pick from.

      • timmis6010

        Maybe a Wedge Antilles table. Or some other ancillary character :P

  • MonkeyChunks

    These three tables are mostly great. As far as gameplay they are top notch into opinion. It is easier to see the ball against the colorful background of the table than many previous tables.
    They are not as good as previous three Star Wars tables though. The first set of Stat Wars tables had realistic imitations of voices and quotes or maybe real recordings from the movie.
    At least I didn't notice anything too bad
    But among these new tables, Return of The Jedi for some reason has very poor voice imitations of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. The worst is probably Han Solo whom you hear if you do a successful trick launch of the ball by only slightly launching it so it goes in to the lowest corridor on the right you hear supposedly Han Solo saying "Hey, it's me!" It sounds so cheap and crappy I just cringe. To lesser extent Luke Skywalker also has bad voicing.
    Why couldn't they take samples from the movies? I don't know.

    • Aventador

      About voice acting in ROTJ I fully agree with you.Han Solo voice is beyond terrible , but even more terrible than that is hearing " I'm Luke Skywalker, Jedi knight and friend to captain Solo " ( sounds like he is in relationship with him ).Darth Vader table has some voice acting recycled from previous ones , but I don't hold that as a minus as it's quality one.

  • Drew

    What about a Star Wars cantina table?

  • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

    The voices are a little goofy (Leia in particular) but good gravy I love these tables, they're so much fun.

  • toxiccheese

    "Sure, we don’t need another Star Wars game."

    What?!?! Blasphemy!

  • MoHeyNow

    C'mon Ewoks table...

  • Gustav

    No Retina? The screenshots show ugly staircase effects.

  • http://www.jugarjugar.net/ Jugar Jugar

    This game has been much improved. So it should really have a lot of interesting things in the game and pictures. Truly a great game or

  • Space Cowboy 01

    Star Wars!

  • gaucho86

    Ok, so I just passed over this game thinking it wasn't my bag of chips. Boy was I wrong. Great game with a real sense of discovery as you explore the tables. It's a little costly but I personally like the idea that I can pick and choose what tables I want to explore and master.

    It's hard to put into words, but it's real life leveling up. In other words the game doesn't give you special abilities, but you can actually see and feel yourself getting better as you hammer out the tables.

  • Mike Chandler

    Game is fantastic on ipad mini.

Star Wars™ Pinball 3 Reviewed by David Clarke on . Rating: 4.5