What you won’t like
The nonstop, repetitive sound clips
I know that complaining about the sound effects in a pinball game is a bit like complaining about the gunshots in a first-person shooter, but in some cases, Star Wars Pinball overdoes it. This is especially a problem on the Clone Wars table, in which the show’s overly dramatic narrator announces every single thing that happens. And between those pronouncements, you also have Yoda spouting fortune-cookie style morals from various episode openings with zero context. Interestingly, voice actor Tom Kane plays both of these characters, so if you’re a huge Tom Kane fan, this table is just for you.
This is less of an issue on the Boba Fett and Episode V tables. The clips still come at at you at a pretty steady pace, but you get more variety. It seems odd to say this about the Fett one in particular, since the only voices you hear are actor the bounty hunter’s, some droids, and occasionally Jabba the Hutt, but I didn’t burn out on them nearly as quickly.
Episode V mostly includes sound effects and clips from the movie, which are great. It also has some less-good stand-ins for Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, but it also has the most samples of the three, so you won’t be hearing the same things over and over. Having said that, though, lines like Admiral Ozzel’s “We have thousands of probe droids searching the galaxy,” or Luke’s “Now all I have to do is find this Yoda … if he even exists” started to get old.
Vague objectives and instructions
Pinball FX assumes you have at least a passing familiarity with pinball terminology and strategies. And while each table includes detailed instructions for the various missions, multipliers, and bonuses, these rule sheets might just confuse you more if you don’t know some of the lingo. I assume most players know what the difference is between upper and lower flippers, but will they know what a “sinkhole” is? How about an “outlane,” an “orbit,” or an “autokicker”? You can probably reason out what most of these things are as you’re going, and the instructions have pictures to help you along a little, but if you’re not up on the lingo, you’ll have some trouble figuring out exactly what you’re supposed to do.
The “Jedi Training” minigame
Episode V has a particular minigame that is pretty much the worst thing in the entire set. After you light up the right things, you can drop your ball through one of those sinkhole things, and the game cuts away to a first-person perspective of Luke facing off against that little laser-spitting training droid on the Millennium Falcon. The droid will move around and fire, and you have about a half-second to move the lightsaber into the right place to deflect the shot. It’s twitchy even by pinball standards, and even when I succeeded, I had no idea why or how what I’d done had worked. “Jedi Training” is so obtuse and annoying that I actively tried to avoid activating it.
Did you miss the part where this is Star Wars Pinball? If you like both of those things, and you have a device capable of playing video games, you really have no excuse not to pick this up.
Star Wars Pinball comes out this week as downloadable content for Pinball FX 2 and Zen Pinball 2 on Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, the Mac and iTunes App Stores, and Google Play. The developer provided GamesBeat a free XBLA download code for this review.