Star Wars, pinball, and virtual reality are three things that I hold very close to my heart, so imagine my glee when I saw Star Wars Pinball VR get unveiled earlier this year. I’ve already poured hours into Pinball FX VR, so it’s safe to say I’m a bit of a ‘Pinball Wizard’ at this point – having eight more tables to play on based around the BEST franchise in cinema history is like a dream come true.
I wish I could say I was overexaggerating my hype here, but seriously, I’ve been looking forward to this game SO much. I’m happy to report that it delivers just as enjoyable an experience as Zen Studios’ previous pinball efforts too, with the immersion of virtual reality adding to the spectacular digital experience.
Star Wars Pinball VR delivers eight tables based around the Star Wars franchise. Three of those are based around the original trilogy, three are based upon Rogue One, The Mandalorian, and Star Wars Rebels, whilst the remaining two are a bit more specialist and focus on Masters of the Force (think iconic Jedis and Sith Lords) and Star Wars Classic Collectibles. That last one was especially neat, with cool toys from the Star Wars universe on display across the table… it’s a clever little idea.
“Having eight tables to play on based around the BEST franchise in cinema history is like a dream come true.”
Gameplay-wise, you know EXACTLY what to expect. You hit some balls around a table using your pinball bumpers, with points scored for hitting targets and completing objectives. These objectives vary from table to table, but are typically displayed on the LED display to give you an idea as to what you actually need to do. Nine times out of ten it just consists of just hitting some targets, but with a demand for precision and time limits to work towards, it’s NEVER as easy as you’d think it will be. Basically, if you’ve played on a pinball table before, you’ll know what you need to do here. Simple.
What makes Star Wars Pinball VR feel so special is the way that each table brings interactivity and action-packed sequences into the mix. Zen Studios are prolific for having their virtual pinball tables full to the brim with neat surprises and that’s certainly the case here, with iconic events and interactions playing out on each table as you complete different goals.
“What makes Star Wars Pinball VR feel so special is the way that each table brings interactivity and action-packed sequences into the mix.”
Best of all, there are two game modes: Arcade and Classic. If you’re after the more ‘authentic’ pinball experience, Arcade is the way to go. There’s no fancy hijinks there, just good ol’ fashioned pinball action. Those who want something a bit more special will want to play the Classic mode though, with Zen Studios’ pinball magic in full swing as you witness cutscenes unfold, partake in small mini-games, and even get to use the Force when playing. It might sound a little intimidating to traditionalists, but believe me, it makes for a mighty fun experience.
My favourite thing about Star Wars Pinball VR is the fact that each of the eight tables are a lot of fun to play on. Whilst there’s no doubting that I had my favourites (I’ve already spent a TON of hours on The Mandalorian), there wasn’t one which felt like a flop. And hey, Zen Studios have already hinted at DLC potentially coming to the game, so here’s hoping we’ll see more tables in the future. When the calibre is this high though, don’t be surprised if you’ll stay happy with just the original eight for a long time.
“The Fan Cave is a collector’s dream, with the player able to display posters and figurines in the room, all whilst Star Wars tunes play in the background.”
Another neat addition comes with the Career Mode, which gives players specific challenges to complete based upon the tables on offer. This is a much more focused take on pinball that might be appreciated more by casual gamers or those who aren’t so interested in chasing high scores. It certainly makes it less daunting deciding which table you want to play on and adds a very welcome sense of progress to the overall experience.
So there’s absolutely no denying that the pinball action of Star Wars Pinball VR is charming and packed to the brim with neat interactions, with every aspect of each table’s design sure to bring a big smile to the faces of Star Wars fans. The fan-service doesn’t end there though, with the Fan Cave serving as a hub for all of the action in-game. This is a collector’s dream, with the player able to display posters and figurines in the room, all whilst Star Wars tunes play in the background. It all ties into the general sense of progression in the game, with every new collectible I unlocked being carefully observed and then displayed on a shelf almost immediately. It’s the sort of thing we’ve seen in games before, but the fact that it’s Star Wars-related and all done in virtual reality makes it feel all the more special.
Star Wars Pinball VR is the best representation of pinball you’ll find in virtual reality, with its brilliant pinball tables and iconic collectibles making for one heck of a fun experience. There’s no doubting that it’s going to be appreciated more by fans of Star Wars, but even those who simply enjoy playing pinball will find themselves very impressed by the selection of tables on offer and their wild moments of interactivity.
Add to that the elements of progression with the Career Mode and the Fan Cave that’s packed to the brim with Star Wars memorabilia to unlock, and you’ll quickly find yourself losing hours on end in this pinball experience from a galaxy far, far away. There’s no doubting it: the force is STRONG with Star Wars Pinball VR.
Developer: Zen Studios
Publisher: Zen Studios
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive
Click here to visit the official website.