Zen Studios

The best part of Star Wars pinball is Empire Strikes Back, because of course it is

The best part of Star Wars pinball is Empire Strikes Back, because of course it is

Star Wars Pinball can be accessed as a standalone release on iOS devices and Google Play, but the three new tables are also offered piece meal through Pinball FX 2 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Vita, and the Mac App store. If you’re a fan of pinball, Star Wars, or fun things, this is pretty much a must-purchase.

I’m going to leave the two other tables alone for the time being, although The Clone Wars throws points at you and Boba Fett is based on of the best-known bad asses of the trilogy… even if his on-screen antics don’t exactly live up to the reputation.

For now, let’s focus on the The Empire Strikes Back table. It’s wide open, with a simple board and a variety of targets to the sides and the top of the board. It’s the easiest to understand visually, and in my opinion it plays best on tablets; where you hold your devices in the orientation of an actual pinball table so less scrolling is required to show the action.

You light up the “Star Wars” targets at the top middle of the table, and then get to select from a series of missions based on the movie. You might be landing the Millenium Falcon, attacking Darth Vader, or taking down AT-ATs. The table is absolutely filled with great art, recognizable sound effects, and clever uses of the license. While Zen Studios isn’t shy about adding in details that couldn’t physically exist on a physical board, you’re still interacting with the game using standard pinball rules.

The core play is all something that could physically happen, while the special effects and reactions to your shots are often a little crazier than you’d get on a physical board. There are exceptions to this rule, but I’ll leave them for you to discover.

In fact, the less you know about these tables, the better. I’ve been playing on my iPad with my kids, and we’ve been having a blast. Any deep analysis of each table would take away from the joy of exploring how to get the highest score, so I’ll leave that for you to discover.

If you were thinking about picking up one table, make it Empire Strikes Back. If you get the set of three, I won’t blame you. These tables are well-designed, fun to play, and make me want to watch the source material one more time. There will be ten Star Wars tables released in all, but for now I’m perfectly satisfied.

The set is $10 for Xbox 360 or PS3, $2.99 per table on the Mac App store, or $1.99 per table for iOS devices and Google Play.