Zen Studios released their next set of Star Wars pinball tables, Heroes Within, just in time for Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You). These hit pretty much every OS ever (including Kindle Fire HD? That’s really a thing? You play games on your “book”?!) on Tuesday April 29th. I got my hands on a review copy of the PS4.
The release was originally slated to only contain 3 tables but they must have had too many great ideas and “as a thank you to fans” ended up shipping 4 at the same price. The bundle costs $9.99 on consoles, or $1.99 per table on mobile devices. The 4 tables in the pack are Han Solo, Droids, Episode IV: A New Hope, and Masters of the Force. I’ll discuss each one order of preference least to favorite based on some playthroughs.
First off, anything where you have to listen to C-3PO chatter endlessly is a terrible idea, but at least they have a decent version his voice. In one mode of the game you actually get his head as a golden ball so you get to knock him around a bit while collecting pieces of his body from different spots on the playfield. That kinda made up for his annoying chatter.
This table is set atop a sandwalker that’s actually walking along while you are playing. Which sounds cool in theory but in practice having the sides around the actual table scrolling and flashing is really distracting trying to focus on what’s going on with the ball. It had some cool stuff on the playfield, but with the distracting periphery I’d rather play the other tables.
Episode IV-A New Hope
Zen is kicking it old school going back to the original movie, retroactively titled A New Hope. It’s nice to see Han, Luke, Leia, and Obi-Wan, but not having the actual actors do the voices is off putting. I wish licensing wasn’t so full of red tape and they could just use actual samples from the movies.
This table, as well as the Masters of the Force, has a light saber based launch, which I don’t like. I know its cool, and fits in the universe, but it just doesn’t have any resemblance to a physical plunger when you launch the ball. It just feels wrong. That’s my virtual pinball pet peeve…
The playfield on this one is pretty short. There are a bunch of center ramps for different rules as well as an underside mini playfield to make up for the length. With some practice it feels like the skillshot would be really easy since you just have to pick which ramp you plan to head up first. Overall solid but not my favorite of the 4.
This one had potential but the voice acting was even worse with lots of Han lines. Those coming from not Harrison Ford made hurt my brain while trying to concentrate on the game. They did get the look of the Millenium Falcon right, as well as all the other art and toys on the table.
The table features music from the Mos Eisley Cantina and an upper playfield with a shooting gallery of infamous bounty hunters.That was really neat, but I only managed to get into that mode once and promptly missed my shot. At least I’m not pretending Greedo shot first…
The enter your initials simulated Dot Matrix Display was a neat touch. Instead of just the usual scroll along to pick your letter this one looked more like target practice.
Masters of the Force
I’ll take Yoda and the Emperor over C-3PO any day! This is a really neat table. Its divided down the middle with the light and dark side of the force so even the left and right flippers are different colors (which takes a bit to getting used to). It showcases characters from all 6 episodes of the movie franchise.
I really wish this was an actual table (get on that Stern!). The playfield reminded me a bit of the recent Wizard of Oz (WOZ) table from Stern competitor Jersey Jack. The upper playfields are in similar spots with similar modes. Also some of the virtual features reminded me of what they are doing with LCDs like the crystal ball on the WOZ table. There’s a cube feature that reminded me a lot of Theater of Magic, so they’re picking awesome real tables for inspiration.
This was by far my favorite and really well done.
Should “Force” Open Your Wallet?
These were 4 very different and very solid tables. I like them all better than anything in the original Zen Star Wars pack and I’m glad they did away with that choose the light or dark side thing when you are actually playing. Even if you are more of a pinball fan than a Star Wars fan, these are all really fun tables, even ignoring the theme.
Especially with the bonus 4th table for the same price, I think these are worth picking up for Pinball and Star Wars fans a like!