It may be a fair few months since Star Wars: The Last Jedi hit the cinemas, but in that time Zen Studios have been busy getting their latest pack of pinball tables ready to launch. Inspired by the blockbuster film – which became the highest-grossing film of 2017 – the Star Wars Pinball: The Last Jedi pack for Pinball FX3 brings with it two brand new tables to unleash your inner pinball wizard upon. There are already plenty of great Star Wars tables available to enjoy, so can these two do enough to stand out from the ever-growing crowd?
They certainly stand out, but not entirely in a positive sense.
Starting with the Star Wars: The Last Jedi table, it takes you through six different scenes covering the overall plot of the movie; from Finn and Rose riding a fathier – a space horse to you and I – to freedom in Canto Bright, to Rey trying to use the force to manoeuvre rocks. Each of the scenes is activated easily by hitting the centre of the table and lead to objectives that are a lot of fun to partake in. For example, one requirement is to flip the ball at certain areas to move your fathier faster in the small race visibly occurring underneath the playfield. Another lets you use your ball as a weapon as you launch it up a ramp at TIE fighters circling the table.
The layout is very impressive, with multiple lanes to hit and a huge ramp which takes the ball to addition sets of flippers on an elevated section of the table at the back. In total there are seven flippers to help hit those hard to reach areas, but surprisingly, the sheer amount of flippers and lanes doesn’t make the experience difficult. In fact, you’ll get to grips with it and start initiating all the best features in no time. It’ll still take plenty of skill to win at the modes and string epic combos together, but overall, the average player should get the most out of this one.
The Last Jedi table also looks great, merging the darkness of the Sith with the light of the Jedi, including a 3D model of Rey on Ahch-To. Etched onto the lower playfield of the table are the characters we all know and love/hate such as Luke Skywalker, Snoke, Finn, Kylo Ren and Rey. Unfortunately it’s the sound department which lets it down as it feels lifeless when no modes are activated. There’s just deadly silence, with not even a backing track to accompany the basic sound effects and it’s really odd. During the modes it’s much more exciting with an authentic soundtrack, so the decision to have none outside of this is questionable.
In regards the other table, Star Wars: Ahch-To Island, well it’s basically the complete opposite in so many ways. The background music is ever so peaceful and fits the natural look of Ahch-To a great deal. The voice-work isn’t overly convincing sadly and comes off quite generic, especially for Luke’s lines as no one can come close to the remarkable Mark Hamill. As far as the design goes, it’s quite bland visually and even the cute Porgs can’t mask the boring aesthetic. Rey takes centre stage on the playfield artwork, alongside Star Wars veterans in R2D2, Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker.
Ahch-To Island features a couple of ramps, a set of orbiting lanes, a circular spinner and a few very tough to hit parts, even with three extra flippers at hand. The problem lies in the difficulty of getting some modes started and then when you do, they aren’t worth the effort if truth be told. Simply switching between the characters – Rey, Luke and Chewbacca – to access their related modes is a task in its own right. One of the best I’ve managed to activate involves collecting bits of wood from various places on the playfield for Chewie – if that doesn’t sell it to you then nothing will.
The Star Wars Pinball: The Last Jedi pack should’ve been just a sole table inspired by the events of the film, because The Last Jedi table is utterly thrilling and accessible to Star Wars fans of all skill levels. Soundtrack omission aside, the features are great fun to play through and it is one to go back to time and time again – if only for the Pinball FX3 Challenge modes. It was always a risk to base an entire table on Ahch-To and that risk didn’t pay off at all, for all the Porgs in the world can’t save it from being a boring and overly difficult experience.
Ultimately, for fans of the franchise, it’s still probably worth buying, if only for The Last Jedi table and the joy it brings.