Review: Star Wars Pinball: Star Wars Rebels (Sony PlayStation 3/4/Vita)

coverStar Wars Pinball: Star Wars Rebels
Publisher: Zen Studios
Developer: Zen Studios
Genre: Pinball Arcade
Release Date: 04/28/2015

Another week and I get to review another Zen Pinball 2 table for my PlayStation consoles. I really usually like what Zen Studios has done with their tables, but I don’t know if it’s the amazing table we got the week before for Avengers: Age of Ultron or could it be that this table just isn’t as good? I’m not saying this is a bad table by any stretch of the imagination, just that after Avengers and comparing it to some of the other Star Wars tables I’ve got, it’s just not as much fun to play. It does have a great look, and definitely fits the show, but it just feels like too much of the table is reliant on luck rather than actual skill, including the opening skill shot you can get.

01The table can run fast, that is if you can get around some of it to get the ball rolling. Rebels can be a real slow starter which can be a blessing if you’re looking for something with a more sedate start. The table here feels really crammed which can be both good and bad. Normally with their tables Zen Studios has a skill shot that can net you a huge chunk of points that usually relies on timing how fast and when you launch the initial ball from the starting position. I still haven’t figured out what triggers it on this table as it’s crammed in under the platform that our two hero Jedi leads from the show are standing on. So it’s not necessarily a skill shot for me as much as a luck shot.

Like all the other tables within Zen Pinball 2 you get your usual multiplayer options of going hot seat or split screen on the same console. This obviously doesn’t apply to the Vita. It’s pretty standard. I actually kind of miss the difficulty settings we got with Age of Ultron here as I thought it was a neat addition. They also limited the characters that show up here physically as we only ever see a Stormtrooper, Chopper, Kanan with Ezra and the Inquisitor at any time on the table. Darth Vader does show up for the intro as a hologram. I was kind of disappointed that Zeb, Sabine and Hera don’t make any visual appearances though.

04There are a variety of scene triggers and all the main cast of the show get their own mission, well Kanan and Ezra share one, but Chopper, Sabine, Hera and Zeb all get one and because they put the Inquisitor as a full blown figure on the board he gets one too. The themed mini games are a lot of fun, but the one for Chopper was probably the most fun. Triggering his launches the Ghost off its landing pad and if you get the ball to Chopper you get to play a mini game on the landing pad keeping the ball in play like a pinball version of Breakout. Zeb’s is my second favorite as you get to play target practice with a bunch of stormtroopers with the pinball. Like all Zen Pinball 2 tables, your right analog stick is your launcher and the left and right trigger buttons are your respective bumpers. Everything clicks like it should while you’re playing with one exception I talked about in Age of Ultron’s review which was Remote Play.

Much like Age of Ultron, visually this table looks fantastic no matter which console you’re playing it on. My preference is still the PS4 over the Vita and the PS3. The Vita versions of tables never quite look as good as the PS3 versions and the PS4 just loads faster. I’ve heard of complaints with the PS4 version of Zen Pinball 2 having lag, and when I’m playing on my TV, there is none, Remote Play is a very different story. The characters they chose to depict look just like the characters from the show which is a nice bonus. This one keeps that pinball table look even with all the extras crammed into it which has been my only real complaint about the other Star Wars tables, but not all of them. One big plus here is that the audio clips and music are straight from the show. We have the actual voice actors who voiced the characters doing the voices for the characters here in the game and I don’t know if that’s because it’s still ongoing or what, but it’s fantastic hearing their actual voices while I was playing. On the flip side if you keep hitting the same spot accidentally, Freddie Prinze Jr trying to channel Yoda can get on the annoying side. This was driven home when my son, from the other room, spouted “Really?” at me after hearing the same Yoda line from Kanan for the sixth time.

02This table did take me a while to warm up to it. The slow speed and the seemingly random ‘skill’ shot kind of annoyed me and put me off at first. I do love spending time with a new pinball table trying to figure out where to try and put the ball to trigger things and what works and what doesn’t, but I have to admit I was a bit grumbly with this one with how fast I picked up on Age of Ultron. The price fits right in line with their other single release tables as well at $2.99. Being able to access it from all your PlayStation consoles is an added bonus. I’d recommend this one more for fans of Rebels than for fans of Pinball, but it does have its charm.

My biggest complaint, other than taking time to get going, is that Remote Play is terrible on the Vita with this and every Zen Pinball 2 table I’ve tried. That’s pretty much inherent with the game at this point and until it gets fixed a bit I’ll keep mentioning it, but I won’t expand on it here. Other than that, I have to say I really do like this particular table. It has enough design cues from the show coupled with a few interesting moments that it gets over the slower start and crowded table feel to stand out as a really well put together offering. It just takes some getting used to.

Short Attention Span Summary
This table is kind of a mixed bag for me. It starts slow and can feel painfully cramped at first and it has a much bigger learning curve than some of their others. There’s also a bit too much luck involved with that opening skill shot. They actually have real music clips as well as the actual voice actors from the show doing the voice work for the clips here. I don’t know if their just clips from the show or if they brought them in for this, but either way it makes the table feel more authentic. Some of the mini games you can trigger are better than others and I think it’s great that one of the better ones involves the show’s cranky astromech Chopper. I’d definitely recommend this one for Star Wars fans and fans of the show, but if you’re strictly into pinball for pinball’s sake, this is one you may want to pass on.

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