Zen Pinball Star Wars: Rebels Review: The Force Is With This One

The whole world has Star Wars fever these days, so it makes sense that Zen Studios would release its latest table set in a galaxy far, far away for Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX 2. This latest Star Wars table is themed after the popular Rebels animated series, perfectly capturing the show’s fast-paced action and sense of adventure.

Zen Studios began its virtual pinball run with a handful of original concepts before moving onto licensed properties, offering tables based on The Walking Dead, South Park and more. They’ve also had a long-running history with both the Marvel and Star Wars universes, offering loads of tables featuring spandex-wearing heroes and lightsaber-wielding Jedi.

While I wasn’t too impressed with the latest Marvel table, Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Star Wars: Rebels table sees Zen’s offerings back on the upswing, once again delivering the fun and excitement their tables have become known for.

The Rebels table is built on one main field, with a second field opening up for some in-game events. It’s a fast-moving table, which suits the pace of the show nicely, with a series of ramps leading to some fun, swirly lanes. A third flipper is nestled mid-way up on the right, used to send the ball back under the raised field to bounce around on the bumpers, or be chained through several super-fast rotations to rack up bigger points.

A pair of targets rest at the center of the table, one being of the drop-down variety and one housing one of the tables many animated elements, a turbine that spins around and heats the ball to a red glow. That’s also where you can trigger the table’s intriguing variable multi-ball. You can set off the multi-ball once a pair of orbs have been locked, or you can risk playing further in the hopes of locking even more balls for the big point rush. As for the drop-down target, it actually triggers graffiti events, as the show’s artistic and rebellious Sabine will paint various bits of anti-Empire propaganda on the side of the table.

As is now tradition in Zen tables, 3D animated characters frequently mill about, including the evil Inquisitor and a pair of the show’s stars, Kanan and Ezra.

Like all of Zen’s best tables, Rebels implements its theme nicely. The table is set in a hangar, with all sorts of stacked crates and bits of machinery adding to the atmosphere. Ships also become animated from time to time, flying away or landing on the table as they’re needed. And then there are the two turrets mounted on the lower bumpers, which occasionally activate to blast lasers at baddies. Lose a ball on the side drain while Save is activated? It’ll be launched back onto the table via a slingshot like the one Ezra wears.

The orchestral soundtrack is superb, pulled directly from the show, as are the bits of dialogue from various cast members. Some of those one-liners get played a bit too regularly, but that’s pretty easy to overlook. The entire table is bright and lively, with Rebel oranges and yellows mixed with a healthy splash of purple.

Like the heroes of the show itself, your job is to go on various missions on the Rebels table, with each main character hosting their own mini-game of sorts. Sabine, for instance, needs to turn the ball into a paint bomb and then launch it as a sign of protest. Chopper, the droid, launches up onto an extra play field here you can move him from side to side in an effort to light a collection of targets and repair the ship. I recently complained that shooting at 3D enemy targets, while nifty the first few times Zen used it as a mechanic, was less exciting on the Ultron table. The Rebels table offers a blending of old and new in that regard, which I totally dig. Zeb needs to pummel a 3D Storm Trooper standing at the top of a ramp but, in order to clear a path, he’s going to need to bowl through a trio of pop-up Trooper targets blocking the ramp. Each one gives an almost humorous growl of defeat before dropping back into the table, only to pop up a few seconds later if you aren’t achieving your goal quickly enough.

Due to the character-based mission structure, Star Wars: Rebels is one of the easier tables to read, meaning you’ll be able to figure out your objectives with ease. You also have the ability to select which mission is triggered, so you can focus on one that’s been giving you trouble or easily swap it out for a new challenge. It’s got a nice medium difficulty, but the speed at which the table moves helps add to the challenge.

In the end, Rebels is an extremely solid themed table from Zen, one that perfectly captures the spirit of its source material while offering toys and missions that are both unique and fun. In short, it should be considered a mandatory addition to your virtual pinball collection.

Players: 1-2

Platforms: PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo platforms, Mac, PC, Mobile

Developer: Zen Studios

Publisher: Zen Studios

ESRB: Everybody


Ryan Winslett

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.