If you’re a fan of pinball, you’ve probably downloaded Pinball FX 3 on some format or another. And if not, why not? It’s free to download, after all.
Pinball FX 3 is the best video game pinball experience you can currently have, truth be told; although some may not like how tables need to be purchased for it separately. If you’re in that camp, love Stars Wars and own a Switch, however, there’s a solution: Star Wars Pinball. It’s essentially Pinball FX 3 repackaged with all 19 of the Star Wars-themed tables available for it.
Priced at £26.99/$29.99, Star Wars Pinball is cheaper than downloading Pinball FX 3 and buying all of the Star Wars tables separately. That alone should make it worthy of your interest. But it also has some of its own features too, making the package even more attractive.
For a start, there’s career mode. Yes, a pinball career! Split into tiers called “operations”, career mode offers players a wealth of challenges across the 19 available tables. They’re short and sweet, tasking players to achieve high scores with constraints such as a strict time limit, a limited number of balls, or even travelling a set number of parsecs. There are three score targets for each challenge, and each time one is attained players are rewarded with a Holocron Shard – an item used to unlock and upgrade Force powers and talents.
Putting a true video game spin on pinball, Force powers allow players to slow down time for a short period, or boost the score multiplier. Force talents, on the other hand, are passive upgrades that boost the score earned by hitting bumpers, performing skill shots and suchlike. A combination of three Force powers and talents can be equipped at any one time, affording players a bit of strategy when going about completing the challenges at hand. And while hitting the highest score targets in many challenges may seem impossible at first, returning when you have some Force powers and talents levelled up always pays dividends.
Aside from the fact that it’s fun, there’s another reason to play through Star Wars Pinball‘s career mode too: unlocking music. There are nine tracks to unlock across all the tables, and any that you do gain access to can be set to play as you browse through the game’s menus. It may seem like a simple thing, but for a Star Wars fan it’s sure to bring some joy.
Also exclusive to Star Wars Pinball is the never-ending battle between the light and the dark side. Upon starting the game you’ll be asked to pledge your allegiance, and from that point on your performance in-game will contribute to a persistent war. It seems pretty inconsequential, but it’s a nice touch. And if you have a change of heart at any point, you can switch which side you fight for in the options.
Of course, these Star Pars Pinball exclusive features come in addition to those found in Pinball FX 3. Each of the 19 brilliant Star Wars-themed tables can be played normally in single player mode, for example, and the local multiplayer Hot Seat mode is available. Link your Nintendo ID to your Zen account and you can also access online leaderboards, as well as take part in an online league and Galactic Tournaments.
For those who want to test their pinball prowess, League Play mode is a brilliant addition. Every week four pre-selected tables are available, and players have to do their best to master them. If they perform well enough, they’re advanced to the next league. If not, they must strive to do better next time. Galactic Tournaments, on the other hand, are great for those who want more focused competition. Players can create their own tournaments to enjoy with their friends or open them up to the public. And of course, open tournaments created by other players can be joined, too.
Needless to say, Star Wars Pinball is the total package for pinball fans with a penchant for Star Wars. Or vice versa. You can even rotate your Switch 90° and play in vertical mode for more of an authentic pinball experience. If I had to nitpick, I’d point out that some text is awfully small when playing in handheld mode but that’s about it. Zen Studios pretty much perfected video game pinball with Pinball FX 3, and so it stands to reason that Star Wars Pinball is equally impressive.