Darth Vader never imagined himself playing pinball. At first, the game was a simple distraction, granting him a brief respite from gratuitous displays of the force. Subordinates just didn’t understand… It wasn’t long before Darth gained street cred as the sector’s greatest pinball whiz and began neglecting his career as a “peddler of the Dark Side” – spending all his time planet-side at the local dive bars. Darth’s fame grew and grew; nights were long and women were cheap… Until one fateful day, when a young Skywalker challenged him to a duel; one that would last a lifetime.
Your Ball Hangs In The Balance
Pinball games can be a tricky breed when translated to any digital medium, requiring snappy controls, flashy graphics, and a deep sense of immersion. Flipping a flipper needs to feel clunky yet forceful, and the perfect balance must be struck between top-down overview and “in the weeds” game play. For a pinball game to be effective, you must always have the feeling that some stupid magnet is about to unjustly steal your ball and sink it down between the flippers into oblivion. Face it, pinball is unfair, but the unfairness just makes you want it more.
Star Wars Pinball manages to not only bring alive the vibrant, flashy lights of modern pinball games, but it adds a new graphical layer only possible in the realm of digital gaming. The flippers are wonderfully chunky, the view-perspectives are varied, and the sheer amount of crap on the screen will absolutely blow your mind.
This game comes with one basic table for $1.99 and another two are available for purchase at the same price. The default table is lackluster, but gives you a feel for just how tight this pinball game is. The second table, “Clone Wars” is cartoonish and vibrant whereas the third table, “Boba Fett” pays homage to the bounty hunter we’ve all come to worship and love. Each table offers new meta-game mechanics as well as wonderfully unique layouts. You’ll certainly want to get them all.
Focus, You Must
Pinball is pinball, and you’ll adapt quickly to the interface – tap either side to trip the flippers, drag and release to launch your ball, and shake the device to “tilt” the table. Controls are responsive and tight. You’re also granted eight different views that change your perspective on the table – my favorite is #8, landscape. The tables themselves, however, are a tad overwhelming. Each table (especially the pay-to-play ones) are absolutely stuffed to the teeth with clutter. Flashing lights, “rails to nowhere”, and fancy bumpers litter the tables making it difficult to track the ball. Star Wars Pinball requires concentration and focus to master… Just like the Force. Coincidence? Give a Jedi some white-space!
There are a couple interesting meta-game features worthy of note here… First being the “light vs. dark side” mechanic. Initially, you’ll be asked to pick a side and all your points will contribute to that side’s total score. What’s more, other players online at the same time and on the same side will multiply your side’s “Force bonus”. You can also invite friends to further increase your side’s odds. You can change sides at any time without penalty. The second fun feature is “hot seat mode” where you can play with up to four local players (on the same device), trading-off as soon as one of your lame friends drops the ball.
Star Wars Pinball is a solid contender in the mobile pinball domain. Obviously, much is lost in the translation of a highly “analog” pinball game but this comes pretty close to the real thing. The only gripe I have is having to enter initials at the end of a game; it doesn’t remember who you are. You’d think in this “digital age” your own device could remember who you are and automatically enter your initials, but no… After every single game, you must spend a minute or two pointlessly re-entering your initials for the leader boards. Look, it’s me… Remember that shit.
For roughly $6 this game grants you an addictive, responsive pinball experience… Plus Boba Fett. Perhaps the tab is pricey, but so is your refusal to take sides in the biggest, most epic intergalactic struggle of our time. Man-up.