April 29, 2014

Zen Pinball: Heroes Within Review for PS Vita

Is the Force with Zen Studios again? Read on to see how the new four pack of pinball games holds up on the Vita. 

May the 4th is right around the corner... Star Wars' "unofficial" celebration day. And Zen Studios is ready to launch their newest pack, "Heroes Within," for Zen Pinball 2. You can purchase the game pack for $10 for a variety of systems:  These include PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Xbox 360 and Steam. You can also purchase them for download on iOS, Google Play and Amazon for $1.99 each.

The four titles are: 
  • Episode IV: a New Hope
  • Droids
  • Han Solo
  • Masters of the Force

Each table is masterfully crafted. There are so many little details on each of them, and the Star Wars fans will truly enjoy that. From little dials that resemble Death Star approach icons as in seen in A New Hope, to Sandcrawler tread bumpers. You can tell, once again, that whoever designed each table really was looking to please SW fans. 

The music in each one of the tables are truly the iconic themes directly from the movies. There are a few moments of newly created music, but that only occurred in the Masters of the Force table. The Cantina theme runs rampant through the Han Solo table while you are tinkering with your ship and gets a little old, but it does change a bit as you progress on the table. Otherwise, the themes change enough on the other tables that it feels nicely orchestrated. Strangely, though, on The Masters of the Force board, there are times when you are struggling to hear music. They just chose some lighter themes there. 

The voices are great! Luke is still whiny in places, Han is a boss, and the Emperor is awesome. A real class act for sounds. 
a cool cargo hiding mini table
The action is still all the same goodness you come to expect from Zen. They have truly mastered the pinball game. Each table has a distinct feel, and you end up getting much more than a "pinball" game. You want to help Solo repair his ship so you can blast through the asteroid field. You want to get 3PO together so he can continue his mission. It is so rewarding to open little mini tables on each one, but absolutely frustrating when you mess it all up and go back to the big table. But, of course, that is what gives the game such replay when you play it. 

Episode IV: a New Hope
Just as it sounds, this table reflects on the major themes of the first movie (and by first I mean 1977 first). Your missions, as you unlock them, have you avoiding Tusken Raiders, fighting off stormtroopers to help rescue Princess Leia, and attacking the Death Star. The sandspeeder makes an appearance as you seek out R2 on the desert world of Tatooine. 

This table is set inside a Sandcrawler run by the Jawas. R2 and 3PO are our heroes here and you fight to get them freed from the place to help save the galaxy. There are a lot of looping tracks here and some ramps that close and expose liquid metal that you have to jump at different times. 

Han Solo
Probably my favorite table out of the set. Here you are set in the dingy docking bay on Tatooine repairing your ship, the Millenium Falcon. There is a great feel to this table as you are trying to tweak the hyperdrive, use the many flippers to hit different lanes, and assume the role of Solo as a dead eye shot and a brash pilot. The pull out mini tables are smuggling adventures, repairs, and also flying to avoid the asteroids!

Masters of the Force
This is a beautiful table. The striking Jedi and Sith Masters are the first things you see, and you can tell the artists love for the movies. It is a little off putting when Yoda utters, "Bullseye, you hit." But pretty much the Emperor's voice is awesome here. He's got a lot of his trademark lines from the films. The action is hard to get rolling here... some of the mini boards are you trying to unlock Holocrons... mystical knowledge cubes. You try to sway to one side of the Force or the other, and some epic battles ensue. A little battle between Obi Wan and Darth Maul broke out in the middle of my last play session and I was psyched. Basically, the little dudes slid back and forth across the screen and you had to pop Darth Maul to win. 

8/10 A great, addictive set of tables that will have you trying to rule the leaderboards and save the galaxy. 

You will like this game if you: 
  • (obviously) enjoy pinball. The action is addictive, you will want to keep going for the high scores and complete as many missions as possible
  • are a Star Wars fan in any respect. Each board is hand crafted goodness. Beautiful details, music and sound effects from the movies
Thanks, Zen Studios, for the code to review this on the Vita! I hope that a SW sale might be in effect next weekend on previous titles in the series!

What do you think? Are you going to pick up one or more tables? Which sounds the best to you?

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