I’ve never been a big pinball fan. Mostly because I was never very good at them and I’m stingy with my quarters. To my naive gaming eye, they felt like a game of chance – simply keep the ball out of the hole by any means necessary – and therefore It didn’t seem like a good investment. I could use my hard-earned quarters (i.e. quarters my mother gave to me) on something I could control. It turns out mastering a pinball table is definitely a skill and a pretty damn fun one to boot.
If you’ve played developer Zen Studios previous VR pinball games then you pretty much know what to expect: a pinball experience as good or better than the real thing. Pinball purist might scoff at that, but you’ll never see Vader, Luke, or Mando come to life at the local arcade. Sure, you’re using a controller instead of slapping those sticky cabinet buttons, but these virtual tables have all of the crazy paths, sinkholes, hidden areas, and lights that you remember from the real deal. Plus the magic of VR means these tables can go where real-world pinball tables simply can’t go.
Star Wars Pinball VR comes with 8 unique tables from the Star Wars universe, including A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. The prequels and sequels are nowhere to be found but there is a Rouge One table, Star Wars Rebels, The Mandalorian, and even a table based on the original collectibles. Each one has its own story to tell, with a ton of secrets and collectibles to uncover. The display will give you hints as to what to do next, and If you can spot a blinking light in front of a sinkhole or certain path, then you need to aim for that. If you hit your target and can do it consistently, you’ll be treated to some really cool Star Wars scenes while you rack up the points. I seriously thought you just smashed the ball as hard as you could for as long as possible…
The voice acting for the Star Wars characters is mostly on the weak side, but the sound effects are on point. Lightsabers, blasters, speeder bikes; they are all here and they sound great. Plus, the indelible John Williams score is here and it sounds as good as ever. You can even unlock certain tracks that you can play while hanging out in your “fan cave”.
The “fan cave” is basically a Star Wars lover’s basement full of insane Movie memorabilia. I’m not a collector in real life because clutter gives me a headache, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked filling my virtual shelves with nerd trophies. It’s basically fluff, but a little fluff can be good sometimes. Plus Star Wars fans are notorious collectors so this feels like a perfect match. I guess if we still have to be cooped up in a basement, it might as well be a cool Star Wars cave, right?
Using the Dual Shock only, you can walk around the basement, change posters, play music on the jukebox, or head straight to the table. Here you can choose any of the eight tables and an arcade or original mode. The original mode delivers a more traditional pinball experience, while the arcade mode cranks up the fantasy and allows for some truly crazy gameplay. Whichever mode you choose, these tables offer way more than initially meets the eye. If you can follow the brief hints and directions that flash on display, you’ll open up hours of gameplay for each table.
But if you want more bite-sized chunks of pinball goodness, walk over to the TV in the “fan cave”. Here you’ll be able to choose the career mode. This mode is for the player who wants a shorter, more streamlined pinball experience and it’s a good place to start if you’re new to the series. Here you will play missions with a predefined list of tables and rules. You can get a great idea of some of the secrets that these tables have to offer in five-minute bursts.
The ball physics feel great, and the fun Star Wars action happening both around you and on the table is a real treat for fans of the movies. If you’re chasing those top scores you may find some of the action distracting, but I was able to tune it out when I wanted to or needed to. Sadly, I am at the age where looking down at the table for hours at a time hurts my neck. Hopefully, you’re not old and frail like me, because but if you’re a fan of pinball and/or Star Wars, this is an easy recommendation.
Star Wars Pinball VR PSVR Review
Pinball in VR is a great alternative to the real thing, and in many ways, it can be even better. When you’ve got 3 balls going at once, and an X-wing flying around you or baby Yoda is cooing and drooling in the corner, you realize this isn’t the arcade in your old hometown. It’s pretty great unless you don’t like Star Wars. Then it’s just weird. But for the rest of us, Star Wars Pinball VR has some excellent fan service, some interesting Star Wars-based minigames, and some insane pinball action to go with it.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PS5, PS4 Slim, PSVR.