Star Wars Pinball Wii U Review – (Wii U)
Star Wars Pinball tells its story through each table and through gameplay. There are two ways the player can progress in experience: dark side and light side. Choose the way of the Jedi to climb through ranks of Initiate, Padawan, Knight, and Master. Likewise, turn to the dark side of the Force and rise through the ranks of Apprentice, Adept, Lord, and Master. Flip between each to slowly build up ranking in each separate category (adding a bit of additional replay value). The biggest disappointment is that it doesn’t impact the table in any way: the objectives at each table are table specific no matter what side of the Force you represent.
It seems there will be a number of different tables with three available for immediate play. Each table has its own Star Wars centric theme. Visit Boba Fett, Clone Wars, and Episode V based tables/environments. Each table has its own Awards to be unlocked if the player completes various unique objectives. Execute mercenary jobs on the Boba Fett table or reenact select scenes from Episode V; these tasks also result in increased multipliers and points opportunities.
All three tables have a touch of pinball nostalgia to the aesthetics. There is a mixture of smooth graphics with old school pinball machine handiwork. The game moves so fast that they’re hardly noticeable at first glance, but Zen Studios did a great job of making the table feel like a genuine pinball table. Sure there are 3d animation Star Wars characters walking around on the board itself, but the inanimate table is just as alive. Soldered metals and surfaces that are scraped from habitual use are what makes it seem like a genuine pinball machine. The game sports new visuals with classic pinball right down to the grainy in-game scoreboard and message panel. Unfortunately, there are times where the pixelated scoreboard is actually too hard to read (thankfully, the messages are also displayed more clearly on the Gamepad).
Compared to XBLA Pinball FX
If anyone who purchased the XBox 360 Pinball FX tables is thinking about getting the Wii U version, then pick it up immediately. It runs smoother, the graphics are sharpened, and the Force points are much more compelling than the FX equivalent. There will also be additional tables available for the Wii U version moving forward that may not be available for the 360.
There are over seven different camera angles providing a much more personalized experience. Keep it on a locked bird’s eye view or have it locked onto the ball. Enter Free View mode to scope out a table’s theme and layout. This is also paramount in studying the table for all the hidden indicators. This is as far as the customization goes. The real question is what makes this a unique Wii U experience…
There are no Mii options, which seems like a missed opportunity for some fun Wii U exclusive gaming content (a Mii donning the hood and light saber hopping around on the table would have been hilarious). The game screen can be transferred to the Gamepad. The Gamepad also provides helpful pinball view hints to guide the player on their objectives, but the game happens so fast that these incredibly short clips are easily missed.
The Zen Studios gameplay trailer for the Star Wars Pinball Boba Fett table:
Multiplayer can be played via split-screen or Hotseat where the players take turns using the Gamepad. It also supports a Tournaments function that will eventually allow multiplayer pinball tournaments (there were no active tournaments to review). There are online leaderboards for overall high scores, weekly high scores, best contributions to each side of the Force, team scores, and Country leaderboards. Lastly, each table has viewable statistics to show the player their history and their tendencies.
Presentation – Wii U graphics and a classic pinball table
Optimization – Incredibly smooth though Gamepad cutscenes distract from gameplay
Ingenuity – Offers player Star Wars spins on pinball techniques
Sound – Imperial march, light saber woos, and pinball knocks
Entertainment – Engaging and enticing for several hours at a time
Even average Star Wars fans will definitely appreciate the tables. Pinball game fanatics may find the tables a bit basic, but it’s certainly entertaining enough to keep casual pinball gamers engaged. It doesn’t provide too many Wii U gamepad features, but it still tends to find itself creeping back into our hands… because there’s always a better score to be had. Until something comes along to dethrone it, Zen Studios created a staple Wii U pinball title in Star Wars Pinball.
GamerCheese Final Score: 4.5/5