Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force

Zen Studios has done wonderful things with little steel balls.

Zen Pinball is sublime, Marvel Pinball is marvellous, and the recent Star Wars Pinball is more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Its latest table pack, Balance of the Force, manages to pile joy upon joy.

And, what's more, it doesn't just deliver more themed tables for you to bounce a ball around. This time it's light versus dark, Jedi against Sith in a battle to the claim the hooded cowl of pinball stardom.

Use the force, Luke

Before you start flipping balls around iconic Star Wars sets, you've got to pick a side: Jedi or Sith.

You can do this before playing each table, so you're not shackled to your choice for the entire game, but switching affects how your score is stored on local and global leaderboards.

Your score at the end of a session is tallied up and shoved into a lightsaber to represent how far along you are in your force training.

On the surface it's a somewhat gimmicky feature that may spark competition between friends. But thanks to some ingenious table design, this visual representation of your progress really starts to shape how you play Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force.

Great shot kid…

Seeing as Star Wars Pinball – and thus the Balance of the Force – runs on the Zen Pinball 2 engine, you know you're in safe hands as far as the gameplay is concerned.

This means you can really focus on the tables themselves, allowing Zen Studios to wrap you in a duvet of Star Wars references and joy.

Each table takes a slice from the Star Wars universe without placing itself inside any particular moment. It uses locations, but not scenes.

And thanks to the aforementioned force balance system, tables differ slightly depending on which side of the force you decide to devote yourself to.

In some cases the differences aren't entirely noticeable beyond alternative missions or dialogue.

However, a table set during a dogfight between the Empire and the Rebels shows the mechanic off wonderfully, with different table decorations, an alternative spot from which to launch your ball, and several alignment-specific missions.

The missions aren't just about flicking a ball around a table either, as some whisk you away into mini-games. It's utterly fantastic stuff.

Of course, in the end Balance of the Force is just another set of tables for a Zen Pinball 2-powered game. It's not significantly better than what's come before, but, then again, it didn't need to do much to remain the best pinball experience on PS Vita.

Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force

A wonderful addition to Star Wars Pinball that changes up the pace of play with smart missions and mini-games, while packing it with plenty of references that every Star Wars fan will enjoy.