The Force is strong with Zen Studios: having already released six Star Wars-themed pinball tables, they have now launched Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within. Featuring tables dedicated to Han Solo, Droids, Episode IV: A New Hope, and a special table dedicated to The Force itself, this is the most content-heavy DLC pack of Star Wars-themed pinball tables that we have seen from Zen Studios. Let’s see if these tables are worth the $9.99 asking price.
Let’s just get the obvious out of the way – if you are a fan of pinball games and Star Wars, then this is a no-brainer. These tables play like any other table from the venerable Zen Studios. It looks, sounds and feels like the real thing. If the physical pinball industry were still booming, these are the kinds of tables Gottlieb or Stern would wish they could make.
The Han Solo table, for example, stars the Captain and his trusty sidekick Chewbacca. This table includes a large Millennium Falcon “toy” in the center rear of the play field, which opens its top to reveal a grid-based mini game that can unlock another area of play. You go on missions related to events that occurred to Han Solo during the movies, and repair the occasional hyperdrive malfunction or two. Being a bit of a troublemaker, you are also given the chance to shoot patrons of the Mos Eisley Cantina who are giving you trouble (just be sure you shoot first every time!). I felt that Chewbacca could have been utilized a bit more, but at least he is there constantly repairing a ball rail.
The next table is dedicated to the Droids of Star Wars. Here you are tasked with getting C-3PO and companion R2-D2 out of the Jawas’ hands on Tatooine. You can help other captured Droids for bonuses, and jump over some lava traps in one of this table’s standout features. If you lose on some missions, C-3PO humorously falls apart, and R2-D2 patches him up if you fail to do so on your own. This table has a left drain lane that tends to suck up your balls a bit too often, and the two jackpot ramps require a lot of force to climb up, but it’s nothing that an experienced player can’t adapt to.
Up next is the table based on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The movie this table is based on hardly needs any introduction – it is the original Star Wars! This table features all the sounds, animations and voice captures from the original movie that make it so iconic. You are tasked with playing through seven memorable scenes from the movie, in the effort to obtain the highest score possible. There are at least three play fields, taking place in the sandcrawler, trash compactor, and trench run. There’s even a Tusken Raider mini-game.
Finally, the fourth but certainly not last table is titled Masters of the Force. This is a tribute to the Force itself, or as Zen Studios puts it, “the highest powers in the universe.” Each side of the table is themed for the dark and light sides of the Force on the left and right sides respectively. Perform missions for either Emperor Palpatine or Master Yoda, and the balance of the Force will begin tipping to either side. This table feels a little cramped at first glance, but that feeling quickly subsides as you explore and especially when you interact with the holocrons.
Each table has its own standout feature, such as the dual themes in the Masters of the Force table or the dynamic model of the Millennium Falcon in the Han Solo table. The sound is also well-done, with voiceovers ripped straight from the movies and all the sci-fi sound effects a fan can handle. Throw in seven missions in the Episode IV table alone, and there is plenty of content here to keep any pinball gamer busy for a long while. Inexperienced pinball players may sometimes have difficulty figuring out what to do in some missions, but this is rare. At $9.99, this may not be an impulse buy for some, but if you like either pinball or Star Wars, then this pack is definitely worth it.