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Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within review: a completed saga

by Robert Workman, shacknews.com, May 15, 2014 3:30PM PDT

Over the past year, Zen Studios has done some of its best pinball work in years with the Star Wars Pinball franchises. And yes, that's including its previously released Marvel Pinball tables. The first two packs were quite promising, not only covering some of the films in the series but also its iconic stars, such as Boba Fett.

For its finale, Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within, Zen Studios goes out with a bang, with four table designs that will challenge both young apprentices and Jedi masters alike, with the kind of pinball action you'd find in a stand-up pinball machine.

This final pack, which goes for a thrifty price of $9.99, features four tables, each of which will be broken down below.

First up is a table that centers around the actions of heroic, albeit cocky, pilot Han Solo. Zen Studios has replicated this style quite well for the table, with plenty of quips from a very effective Harrison Ford sound-alike (including a somewhat hilarious, "Shoot again, fuzzball!") and lots of shots to take on a variety of ramps.

The table can move a little fast at times, especially with the action in the upward parts of it, but overall, it handles incredibly well, and has something to offer to fans. The only downside is that the Cantina theme plays throughout--but, hey, that's where we were originally introduced to Solo anyway.

Next up is Droids, a table that takes place in the Sandcrawler from the original Star Wars film, shortly following the capture of R2-D2 and C-3PO in the desert. This is one of the better tables in the pack, mainly because of everything going on inside it. There are no shortage of ramps here, and the fact you can knock an explosive droid into a mainframe for bonus points is a nice playful touch. For good measure, 3PO's comments, well replicated by a fill-in actor, are enjoyable, especially the "We were made to suffer" quip.

A table based on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope has the classic nature of the original film dialed in just about perfectly. Whether it's Princess Leia hiding behind safe cover or Luke Skywalker testing his skills on a lightsaber simulator, this table has items that are sure to eschew all kinds of nostalgia.

This table has impeccable design too, making it easy to line up combo shots and rack up those high scores. The outlanes can be a little unfair at times (they needed to be a bit wider to give players a better chance), but this is still a solid offering.

Finally, there's the most curious table of the pack, Masters of the Force. This is a table that doesn't look so appealing at first with a small playfield, but then you begin to see it open up with new shots you take. It's really quite cool, as you can either shoot for the good side of the Force (Yoda) or bad (Palpatine). It has something to offer to everyone as a result, and the more you play, the more you'll find.

On top of the splendid visual and audio design, Heroes Within comes with full leaderboard support, as well as unlockable Trophies and Achievements, depending on your version. Zen Studios continues to have a great scoring system in place here, where you can combine scores for Team points while, at the same time, competing to be the top dog.

It's sad that we won't see anymore Star Wars Pinball tables after this (for now, anyway), as Zen Studios has done some tremendous work on this ten-pack. Heroes Within has managed to save the best for last, with tables that will ring up old memories as you try to leave your mark in pinball history. Actually, make that do--there is no try.

Final Score: System.Collections.ArrayList out of 10.


This review is based on a downloadable PlayStation 4 code provided by the publisher. Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PS Vita and mobile devices. It is rated E10.