Back in April at Star Wars Celebration Chicago, the Hungary-based video game developer Zen Studios announced it would be releasing the first-ever Star Wars-licensed game for Nintendo Switch: Star Wars Pinball, a compilation of nineteen pinball tables set in A Galaxy Far, Far Away.
The tables in Star Wars Pinball have all been previously released by Zen Studios for other platforms, but the Nintendo Switch collection will include HD rumble and vertical play, plus others exclusive features and the unique ability to own a physical copy of this acclaimed series as a whole. At E3 2019 in Downtown Los Angeles last week, I had the exciting opportunity to get my hands on the game via a demo presentation by its developers, which also included a little play-time for myself, and as both a Star Wars and pinball fan, I have to say I’m very excited to own the finished version when it comes out at the end of the summer.
Watch Star Wars Pinball for Nintendo Switch announcement trailer:
“Players are going to be able to pick Light Side or Dark Side,” explained the Zen Studios developers who showed me Star Wars Pinball at E3. “Everything you do in-game is going to contribute to your side: the points you score, your participation in the leagues or tournaments. There’s this constant tug-of-war between the community as to which side is winning.”
“We have a fifty-mode career progression system in the game. You’re going to unlock things like Force powers and talents, which you can apply to your tables and earn gameplay bonuses and multipliers on your score. We [also] have a lot of cool minigames in Star Wars Pinball that start suddenly on players. Sometimes you’re not prepared, you don’t know what to do, so we actually allow those to be played during the career mode, so you can master them. There’s lightsaber battles, there’s speeder bike races… it’s a feature that’s long been requested, so we’re making that available.”
“[In] single-player [mode], you play through the tables, you unlock all sorts of really cool rewards and in-game [features]. League plays are ongoing and refresh on a weekly basis, so depending on how you’re doing you move up or down in your leagues, and you get matched up against players that are of similar compatibility or [skill]. We’ll have constant Galactic Tournaments offered by Zen, which are official, and you’ll win badges and rewards. We also let users create tournaments based on a number of criteria. You can make it available to just your friends or to the entire community.”
“And then on Cantina Jukebox, you will unlock the songs that we have officially licensed in the game, and you can play these in the lobby depending on your choice. That’s also been long-requested.”
When it was time for me to take the Nintendo Switch into my own hands to begin playing Star Wars Pinball, I was introduced to the Flip Grip, a device from video game merchandising business Fangamer that allows gamers to play the Switch in vertical mode while still hand-holding the console with both Joy Con controllers attached to the sides. At $12, this is an incredibly affordable and essential accessory for playing arcade-style and pinball games on the Switch.
Upon selecting my Star Wars pinball table, I picked the one inspired by “young” Lando Calrissian (as played by Donald Glover in Solo: A Star Wars Story) but among the other eighteen available tables are those based on Episodes IV-VIII of the larger Star Wars saga, plus Rogue One, Rebels, The Clone Wars, and other individual characters, locations, and themes. In the ten minutes I was given to play the game, I had a tremendous amount of fun racking up points, triggering special in-theme moments, and simply enjoying the title’s design and attention to detail. “Star Wars Pinball is made by hard-core Star Wars fans,” concluded the Zen Studios developers at the end of my demo. “It’s an awesome year for Star Wars, and we’re just happy to be a part of everything that’s happening.”
Star Wars Pinball will be available on Nintendo Switch in both physical cartridge and downloadable forms beginning Friday, September 13 from Zen Studios. For more information, be sure to visit the game’s official website.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.