I’ll start off by mentioning just how addictive I find pinball games to be. I always remember the first PC I had access to when I was a kid, and I loved 3D Pinball on Windows. From there, Pokemon Pinball became one of my favourite time passers. It would seem strange for me to then admit that I haven’t played any pinball games on the PlayStation 4 before playing Rogue One.
I’m also a huge fan of Star Wars games, even though I'm not too keen on the films. Don’t get me wrong, the films are good - but I don't really enjoy films as a general rule. However, from Shadows of the Empire on the Nintendo 64, to the Battlefront series, I’ve always looked forward to the next iteration of the Star Wars gaming franchise.
The combination of pinball and Star Wars was very appealing to me from the off, and it’s fair to say the game didn’t disappoint. I have read reviews of Zen Pinball 2, and it’s more or less well received by gamers. Zen are known for producing pinball machines based on popular trends like Marvel, or gaming companies like Bethesda, and it's fair to say they have a pretty good track record in replicating them in their own inimitable way.
Visually, there is a lot going on as you would expect. It’s really nice to look at, and the pinball machine is jam-packed with enemies and ways to boost your points total. In terms of the controls, it's more of the same really. R1 and L1 (alternatively R2 and L2) are the the buttons you're chiefly going to need to use to control the flippers. The pinball itself has a really nice and heavy feel to it. Catching the ball with the right timing leads to real satisfaction, whether it's hitting a bonus multiplier or defeating an enemy. I kept trapping the ball with the flipper just so I could hit the perfect shot to exactly where I wanted, and it was quite successful. A word of warning however: don't use the left analogue stick too many times, as bumping the table will eventually cause the flippers to freeze, and consequently, you will lose a ball.
What can you expect to find on Rogue One then? Depending which way the ball goes you could be confronted by the Death Star or a Stormtrooper - both of which take shape in 3D at the top of the pinball machine. When a Stormtrooper arrives, your aim is to stay away from their gunfire by finding the lanes with the ball. (Insert joke about a Stormtrooper’s shooting accuracy here!)
Sometimes you will spawn enemies who sit in the upper middle of the board, and for every time you hit them you can get upwards of two million points! Upon defeating them, you will receive extra bonuses as you accumulate points and face tougher enemies the further you advance. Different areas of the pinball machine will light up at various times, and hitting the lit up lanes can gain bonus points or trigger side missions.
It is a wonderfully relaxing game to play, and it’s also one that makes you strive to beat your best score and keep ascending the leaderboards. I managed to keep beating my previous best as I totalled a score of over 60 million points! I beat my previous best a number of times, but I'm still well off the world number one spot which is astonishingly high.
Zen Pinball 2 (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Rogue One is a brilliantly designed pinball machine and I enjoyed it so much that I'm likely to be a late arrival to the Zen Pinball series fandom. There was plenty of action on offer and I didn't find myself getting bored at any time. And I'm sorry but I have to… The force is strong with this one!