Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force (XBLA) Review

balanceoftheforce
What we liked:
+ Great look and feel
+ Diverse set of tables
+ Interesting missions
What we didn't like:
- Starfighter Assault has its weak points
Rating
8.8
Great
DEVELOPER: ZEN Studios   |   PUBLISHER: ZEN Studios   |   RELEASE: 10/16/2013

Review
Pinball FX 2 uses the force once again.

I may not be a pinball wizard like many out there, but I do enjoy a good pinball game. Zen Studios has a knack for making some very interesting tables that feel realistic in their mechanics, but also keep that nice “video game” feel to them. Now, with their second batch of Star Wars themed tables hitting their hub of PinballFX 2, I can see the force is very strong with Zen Studios.

The Balance of the Force pack comes with three new tables: Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader and Starfighter Assault. Each has their own take and specialties all set within the Star Wars universe.

Return of the Jedi looks like a diorama of sorts, with multiple characters and familiar faces seen throughout the table. It is relatively small compared to the others in the pack, and will require some quick thinking and fast reflexes. Since the ball is moving so fast, it was challenging to hit it exactly where I wanted it. There are numerous missions the player can choose to accept while playing. Every mission is a scene from the film and has different objectives. Certain missions will offer up multi-ball chances and big score multipliers.

The Darth Vader table is a rather unique one. This table has the highest score possibilities of the three, and certain missions the player can take on offer up big score bonuses. Assembling Vader as the first mission can offer up some huge points early on. By hitting certain points on the table, players can get a million points per hit, and this is just at the start of the game. This table is more open than the others with a bit more breathing room for calculated shots, and with a giant Vader helmet staring at me in the background, it gives off a great look and feel.

Finally, the Starfighter Assault table begins with players choosing to be part of the Rebel Alliance or the Empire. Depending on the side players choose, they will have different missions accordingly. Granted the missions all revolve around the same mechanics, but with a table split down the middle with the dark side on the left and the light side on the right, there isn’t much else that can be changed. This table has players doing extra things aside from pinball. Small mini games will occur during missions, the first of which is a Galaga-type game where the player moves a band of fighters left and right using the bumpers and the ball shoot button to fire. It’s a bit clunky, but after some practice, it becomes easier.

Starfighter Assault is the weakest out of the bunch as far as table mechanics go. There is a limited amount of space on the board and even less to shoot at. The ramps seem to need almost perfect shots to ring, and aside from the slots players need to hit to start a new mission, there’s not much else to hit. Still, the missions offer up plenty of variety.

The Balance of the Force is a great pack for the PinballFX 2 player. The presentation and look of all the tables fit right in with the Star Wars theme, and all of them offer up a different feel. While Starfighter Assault may rely on the mini-games a bit too much, it’s still fun to play. Darth Vader is where the casual pinball players will find their fun, and skillful, quick thinking players will have a blast with The Return of the Jedi. For ten bucks, pinball fans will get a decent set of tables to add to the addiction. If you enjoy Star Wars or pinball in general, you may want to pick these up.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Drew Leachman

Drew is the Community Manager here at ZTGD and his accent simply woos the ladies. His rage is only surpassed by the great one himself and no one should stand between him and his Twizzlers.

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