Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within review for PS4, PS3, Xbox 360

Platform: PS4
Also On: PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita, iOS, Android, PC
Publisher: Zen Studios
Developer: Zen Studios
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes

A long time ago, on a pair of consoles one generation removed, Zen Studios made their claim to fame by releasing some amazing pinball tables for fanatics to enjoy. While their original ideas were wonderful, it wasn?t until they stretched their creative skills to involve some fantastic tie-ins; with famous tables from the Marvel Universe, Plants vs. Zombies, and of course the ever beloved Star Wars Franchise. There have already been 2 sets of Star Wars tables brought to the masses, but it is this latest set of 4 that really puts the Midichlorian count far beyond your average Jedi.

This new expansion titled Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within is easily the most impressive batch of tables released by the developers so far ? each table being unique and having very little to complain about. Anyone wishing to call themselves a pinball champion will no doubt find most of these new tables to be both challenging and addictive.

Star Wars Pinball_Episode_IV_Playfield

Starting with Episode IV: A New Hope, based of course off on the very first Star Wars film, this is one table that not only is fun and challenging, but will appease the high score junkie too boot. The main modes of the table are your movie scenes that are accessible from lighting up REBEL then choosing your scene using the flippers. Scene 1 has you trying to fend off the Stormtroopers with Leia as Vader tries to acquire the plans for uncovering the Rebel Base, all while helping C3PO and R2D2 escape from the Tantive IV. Scene 2 borrows from the famous Obi Wan Jedi mind trick convincing the storm troopers these are the not droids they are looking for. Scene 3 involves you trying to escape in the Millennium Falcon from the Death Star?s Tractor beam. Scene 4 has you finding Leia in the prison block and escaping the trash compactor with the help of R2. Scene 5 is the infamous Vader vs. Obi Wan battle after Obi Wan distracts the Stormtrooper. Scene 6 is the final scene having you avoid Vader?s Tie Fighter and blowing up the Death Star. Of course there are many other thrills included in this table such as skill shots, Escape Mode, Tusken Raider Mode, 4 different multiball challenges, Luke?s Training, Cantina Mode, Alliance Video Mode, Combos, bonus multipliers, kick backs, and of course extra balls. This table is easily the most accessible and complete table of the bunch and is a blast to play.

Star Wars Pinball Droids C-3PO

Droids is a table set around C3PO and R2D2 trying to escape the Jawa Sandcrawler. This is a table for the combo masters if you are hoping to score high, so expect to have your ramp launching skills at their best. In this table success is of course the quest for freedom, and you must complete 5 missions if you are to succeed. The first mission is fixing a busted up (surprise surprise) C3PO by collecting his scattered body parts on the table and having R2 put them back together. Mission 2 has you trying to distract Nebit by taking advantage of his weapon and disrupting the systems on board the Sandcrawler. Mission 3 is Evading Nebit who is on full alert as he is aware the droids are up to something so you must take evasive action. Mission 4 is hitting all passageways to find the droid with the information to secretly transmit it to R2 before Nebit arrives. Lastly in Mission 5 you must immobilize the Sandcrawler by hitting the LIN-V8K bumpers to make them drop their bombs. Of course being ramp driven you have hurry up modes, multiball options, a cool R2D2 mini game where you need to override the security systems, and of course extra balls. Again, this is a table for the ramp happy champion, so come prepared.

The next table called Masters of the Force has a bunch of cool ideas, but unfortunately does have a claustrophobic feel to it making it tough to get into a real rhythm, and is easily the toughest of the tables to achieve a great high score. This isn?t of course to say the table doesn?t bring the fun as it certainly does?just don?t expect to leave the game with a score you show off for bragging rights. The big point scorer comes in the ?ways of the force? where you must shoot the spinner in the center of the table. Once FORCE is lit your next shot will determine the side of the force you chose and who you will fight against. There are also Holocrons for both Sith and Jedi in which a drop down mini game is activated once you have access to the Holocoron. Toss in 2 multiball modes, hurry ups, skill shots, combos, and extra balls which leave you having a very active table, but again with little reward for those looking for those top notch scores.

Star Wars Pinball_pack3_Han_Solo_table_screenshot_019

The last table is based off my favorite character in the Star Wars saga, so I may be a little biased when I say this is the most rocking table of the bunch; of course, everyone?s favorite scoundrel, Han Solo. Not only is the table filled with famous one liners from the notorious one, but the background music is the infamous cantina theme song too boot. This table is all about quick scoring without all the set up of the previous tables. What you find on this table are quickly activated mini games throughout that keeps the game at a quick pace and a heart pounding thrill a minute ride. The game opens up with a spinning cantina target that if it lands on Greedo you are thrust into a hurry up mode in which you want inevitably to get Solo to shoot first. You also have a tie fighter attack where you take control of a gun port laser cannon to shoot them down. Toss in 5 different multiball modes, a hyperdrive malfunction mini game, escape mode from Jabba, an asteroid field bumper challenge, bonus multipliers and extra balls make this one fun as hell ride for any pinball fan.

Honestly, if you can?t find something to love about all of these new Star Wars Pinball additions, you really need to give up on the game as these are easily some of the best tables Zen has ever created. I can?t wait to see what they have up their sleeves in the future as it seems as if there is no end to their creative videogame pinball abilities. The Force is definitely strong with these guys.

Grade: A