Zen Studios doesn't get enough credit for what it creates. Not only is Zen Pinball 2 one of the greatest pinball games ever crafted, but it's also one that's never short on ideas.
Case in point - Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within.
It'd be easy to grab the Star Wars licence, slap Darth Vader's mug on a table, and call it a day. But that isn't Zen's style. When Zen gets a licence, the sky's the limit.
Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within is as imaginative as it is inventive. If you like Zen Pinball 2 and Star Wars, then Heroes Within is a harmonious marriage of flipping fun.Insert generic and overused Star Wars pun
There are four tables included in Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within. The first of the bunch is themed around Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon. The second features the droids C3PO and R2D2 (and has an amusing challenge that uses C3PO's head as a pinball).
The third is based on Episode IV, which sets the player the task of using only two flippers. However, it also gives you the option of choosing where the skill shot is placed. And lastly, the fourth table pits Sith against Jedi. So, Darth Sidious commands the left half of the table, while Yoda occupies the right.
Each table is unique. The flipper placement and scoring change from table to table. Likewise, each table boasts its own Star Wars music, which adds a nice touch of authenticity.These are not the... Yeah, yeah
Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within contains some of Zen's best animations to date. During the Han Solo table, Princess Leia rises up via a tube-like elevator and gets into a pew pew firefight with a Stormtrooper perched atop the table.
What's amazing here is that you're able to watch what ensues without ever losing focus of the ball. Animations happen on each table, but they somehow never hinder the player. This really is a testament to the design chops of Zen.
This whole endeavour shows that Zen Studios is always listening. Brash colours have been reduced, and the table layout has been optimised for both landscape and portrait play. This results in the smoothest Zen Pinball experience to date.It's a
Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within is Zen Studios at its best. The table configurations, for example, are the best we've seen... ever. Graphically, it's stunning. The animations are superb.
And on top of all that, Zen has managed to fuse Star Wars and pinball in a way that isn't utterly absurd. How is that even possible?
Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within is not only a worthy addition to the Star Wars franchise, but it's also a wonderful addition to the world of pinball.
Come for the familiar faces of Star Wars, stay for a riveting game of pinball. Either way, Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within is one game that's definitely worth a blast.