Tag: Pinball »
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” a young child was enchanted by the Star Wars Universe. In more recent history, that same boy came down with a chronic case of pinball addiction. So you can only imagine how the child rejoiced when learning of Zen Studios’ intentions to meld their passion for pinball with Lucas’ brainchild. If you haven’t read between the lines yet, allow me to clarify that the aforementioned child was me, cleverly shrouded as an adolescent, in hopes of hiding the fact that I am a grown man rendered shamelessly giddy by the proposition of my beloved Star Wars bleeding into my favorite past time. Oh well, so much for that.
Much to my glee, the good folks over at Zen Studios invited me to get some early hands on time with their newest masterpiece: Star Wars Pinball. The base install will be its own stand-alone pinball hub, consisting of a healthy collection of three tables at launch, set to the themes of The Empire Strikes Back, everyone’s favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett, and the animated Clone Wars franchise. Before moving on to the meat of the preview, it is worth mentioning that each of the tables will also be available for individual purchase in the Zen Pinball 2 hub as well, but there are special features associated with the specific Star Wars Pinball app that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
Trying to please Star Wars fans has become an increasingly difficult task over the decades. With that in mind, the creative team at Zen has taken every necessary precaution to make sure their tables are the definitive embodiment of the franchise, only featuring a steel ball. Lightsabers, sound effects, and even reasonably similar sound-alikes have been brought in to re-create seminal moments of the series. There is no greater example of this than the Empire Strikes Back table. Players have the opportunity to relive the most important scenes of the film, all while still playing an authentic pinball game. Everything from downing Tie Fighters to dueling Darth Vader are on the list of highlights, so it is certainly not to be missed.
Boba Fett is a character from the Star Wars mythos that has taken on a life of his own. A relative bit character in the original trilogy, fans have clamored to know more about the mysterious masked man. Drawing heavily upon his actions freezing Han Solo in carbonite and the resulting events on Tatooine, the Boba Fett themed table follows the notorious bounty hunter in his manhunts across the galaxy. Featuring a set of bounty missions that can scale in difficulty depending upon the user’s confidence, this is sure to once again be a fan favorite.
The last, but certainly not least of the trio of tables takes place in the fairly recent Clone Wars animated franchise. Tom Kane, the narrator from the television program and film reprises his role, informing the player of their immediate activities throughout the action. Of the three tables in the set, this is by far the biggest opportunity to run up the scoreboards. A big key to success is managing to chain together long combos, thanks to the fluid layout heavily favoring ramp play.
No matter what your level of appreciation is for the Star Wars brand, you will find something to appreciate in these tables. Even those that don’t like the franchise will still find plenty of fantastic pinball shenanigans to enjoy, because they are simply awesome tables to sit down and pick away at. We look forward to seeing what other tables are waiting in the wings for the coming months. Stay tuned for our full review of Star Wars Pinball, coming soon.
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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It is getting harder and harder to make up ground in the pinball simulation space on iOS. So many stellar retro re-creations have hit the platform in the last few months that making a mark seems damn near impossible. The new game Revenge Of The Rob-o-Bot looks to go against the grain and provide a realistic simulation experience, while also opting to use an original table design. Can it manage to make an impact, or is this just another pinball poser?
Unlike several other supposed simulators for iOS devices, Revenge Of The Rob-o-Bot manages to impress almost immediately thanks to an outstanding attention to physics realism. Where so many other tables get caught up making things look flashy and impressive, this game's publisher, Nena Innovation, wisely chose to emulate the true-to-life feel and responses of a table in the most accurate way possible. The engine under the hood helps elevate what could have been a garden variety pinball experience to something far more substantial.
The table design itself also maintains a grounding in realism that many have failed to sustain through the evolution of the digital pinball genre. Just because developers have the ability to do anything under the sun doesn't necessarily make it right. Refreshingly, there is nothing that happens throughout a standard play through that could not actually be built into a physical table. That said, the game manages to provide more than enough mission variety and challenge to keep players occupied for immense amounts of time.
Despite everything that the table manages to do right, there are still a few hurdles that prevent Revenge from being runaway success. For starters, there is only one camera available. A staple of virtual pinball is being able to chose from a variety of different perspectives and angles, in order to find one that best fits the player's preference. This oversight is exemplified even further when tilting the device into landscape mode, which zooms out to squeeze the entire table into the center of the screen. The result is a rather extensive inverse letterboxing that renders large portions of the screen unutilized. It may have been best to instead zoom in on the table, filling the wasted real estate, while panning the camera to track the ball. One other nitpicky issue is the lack of any form of couch-play multiplayer. Hopefully this is something that could be patched in down the road.
Revenge Of the Rob-o-Bot provides a shockingly solid pinball experience, without falling into the traps that snared some of the publisher's previous releases. Though it may have a few issues that could leave a bad taste in the mouth of hardcore aficionados, it still deserves a solid recommendation purely on the quality of the simulation. Search no further, because this is the droid iOS gamers have been looking for.