By: Mike Chen
Zen Studios has themed pinball tables down to a science. Start with a solid table design, add in multimedia from a licensed property, integrate pinball-related mini-games and animations, and more often than not you’ve got a winner. Star Wars Rebels, the pre-Episode 7 property currently airing on Disney XD, is next up following Zen’s various tables from a galaxy far, far away.
The table itself is themed to look like the show’s cartoon aesthetics, with the main board surrounded by a docking hanger. Characters from the show take their marks near the back of the table, with some swapping in and out (notably, Chopper — the show’s lovably snarky astromech – who zooms in and out based on in-game events) and ships fly by to add to the atmosphere.
Sound samples, from dialogue to your standard Star Wars sound effects, are lifted directly from the show, though some choices are odd and tend to cycle through several times per game.
The table’s layout is chock full of stuff to do, including triggering one of several character-based mini-games for bonus points. These range from firing the ball at the Inquisitor (Season 1’s Sith-influenced villain) to a pinball/Arkanoid mash-up featuring Chopper. The mini-games are all entertaining, though they do have a blink-and-you-miss-it quality because the goals can be quick to pick up the first few times.
In fact, the only real issue with the table is that the combination of the color palette and the dense far end of the board make it difficult sometimes to track what’s going on. Veteran Zen players will probably be fine, but for those jumping in based on the franchise name may face a bit of a learning curve.
One of Zen’s better designs, the Star Wars Rebels pinball table is fast-paced with a strong layout and many hallmarks of both the show and franchise. Other than some minor design quibbles, the Force is strong with this table, and it’s enjoyable for both pinball newbies and veterans alike.