While the naming structure has been odd, Zen Studios has done a fantastic job building digital pinball platforms on multiple systems. The latest add-on content to come to Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX 2 is Star Wars Pinball: The Force Awakens Pack. Based off the blockbuster film of the same name, the pack includes two different tables to check out. Each table focuses on a different side in the galactic struggle (the Rebellion and the First Order), and features all of your favorite characters from the hit film.
As with any Zen Studios pinball release, the core gameplay feels fantastic. The ball physics seem realistic, except when the pack plays with it a bit by using the force, and players can set up their shots in advance. It’s completely on the player if they’ll get a high score or not as well, as this is truly a game of skill.
The first table included in the pack is called The Force Awakens and has you helping out the Rebellion in their quest against the First Order, culminating in an exciting battle against Kylo Ren. Several moments from the film are recreated in pinball form, which is great for those who want to relive the movie before it gets a Blu-ray release.
The Force Awakens is largely based upon getting the ball into different lanes in order to trigger story events. Players will be able to rack up points by helping Rey collect scrap metal or assisting BB-8 in his escape from the Jakku scavengers. There’s always a goal beyond the basic simplicity of pinball, too, which ultimately makes the tables feel fresh even after hours of play.
As with any good pinball table, there are plenty of multiball opportunities in The Force Awakens. One of the ways that players can trigger the madness of three or four balls at once is by starting an awesome battle between the Millenium Falcon and TIE fighters. While it can sometimes be difficult to focus on the balls on-screen while spaceships are whizzing past, the excitement is exponentially heightened by the fast-paced action. It’s a big surprise the first time you trigger it, and it’s a highlight every time you’re lucky enough to experience it.
The other table in the pack, Might of the First Order, focuses on the dark side of the Force. Instead of battling against the First Order, players will be attempting to kidnap Poe and ultimately rule the universe. The defining characteristic of the table is that it has a secondary playfield that takes place underneath the main one. This is similar to the legendary 1981 pinball table Black Hole, and it’s still an awesome gimmick even 25 years later.
While there are still a fair share of cinematic moments that can be seen, this table is by far the more traditional of the two. There are several different ramps to hit, and it leads to a fast-paced table. It’s ultimately a high scoring affair that while not quite hitting the same high notes as The Force Awakens, is still very enjoyable.
It was a smart choice by Zen Studios to make the two tables feel distinctly different, as it adds a great deal of variety to the overall package. While some will prefer reliving some of the film’s most memorable moments in The Force Awakens, others will love the challenge that Might of the First Order offers. It’s really the best of both worlds, and it’s hard to see Zen Pinball 2 or Pinball FX 2 owners being unhappy.
Much like their previous licensed tables, Zen Studios has done an amazing job of respecting the properties that they have had the chance to work on. From the recreation of Jakku to the TIE fighters that fight on the screen, every single aspect looks great. Anyone who has an affinity for Star Wars will enjoy the vast amount of fan service in the two tables, and it’s great to get some sort of video game adaptation for the biggest film of 2015.
Star Wars Pinball: The Force Awakens Pack is one of the best add-ons yet for Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX 2. Whether you’re a pinball wizard or just a Star Wars fan looking for a fun game, you’ll find a lot to appreciate here. Somehow Zen Studios has once again managed to top themselves, and it’s great to see The Force Awakens get an adaptation that’s worthy of the film.
This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version, which we were provided with.
Whether you're with the Resistance or a member of the First Order, you should definitely check out Star Wars Pinball: The Force Awakens Pack. This is one of Zen Studios' best add-ons yet, and that's saying something considering the stellar releases in the past.