Earlier this week we reviewed Avengers: Age of Ultron for Pinball FX2, and we regret to say that we were disappointed with it. Because it felt familiar and uninspired, we were a little bit worried that the developer, Zen Studios, might be losing some of that magic it's been injecting into its pinball tables for the past few years or so. Thankfully, with Star Wars Rebels, the Hungarian studio follows up a superhero stumble with a Force to be reckoned with. We'll admit that we don't have much knowledge of the television show that it's based on, but that doesn't matter – there's a game of pinball here that's at the top of its class. Yep, Star Wars Rebels is awesome.
First off, while Age of Ultron was slightly dull in the visual department, Rebels is stunning. With an effective use of vivid colors and flashing lights, the table glows like you'd expect from something based on the Star Wars universe. We're not sure if the color settings on our television are cranked up a little higher than usual, or if the contrast from Age of Ultron increased the impact, but the light show and visual splendor was legitimately stimulating at first. To take things even further, the music is thunderous, and when the main Star Wars theme kicks in, it helps to bring the action to life in a big way. Even the audio clips are managed well, and they never repeat too frequently or grate on the nerves like they can in some other tables.
When it comes to gameplay, if Rebels has a dark side, it's that the table can often swallow up balls faster than you can say "nudge." This isn't something that will bother skilled players all that much, but the novice audience will need to learn to adapt very quickly or come to terms with very brief rounds. Other than that, the playfield is supremely designed, and it lends to a majorly satisfying and electric game of pinball. In fact, we haven't been this hooked on a Pinball FX2 table from the get-go in a long while. There are plenty of missions to trigger and none are all that tough to initiate, keeping the challenge focused on survival and hitting your targets. This approach just feels right.
The entire table is built around a multiball challenge that can be the route to big points once you learn how to handle the ball with control and caution. You can lock up to four balls before they all dump into the playfield, which leads to chaos…exhilarating chaos. There's even a roulette spinner that can grant extra balls, among other things, and taking advantage of this can also be integral in setting that leaderboard-dominating score you're after. Being able to lock balls away, earn extra balls, and complete a checklist of missions provides the table with a feeling of progression, and it helps the player to feel like they're building to something significant. These features and qualities, along with many others, make Star Wars Rebels a real treat.
While it's always possible to compare similar elements of one pinball table to another, Star Wars Rebels feels like its own thing right off the bat. From theme to design, missions to appearance, this is one table where everything comes together in impressive fashion. After being let down by Age of Ultron, this is exactly the comeback we needed to get us excited about Pinball FX2 again. It worked, and we anticipate coming back to Rebels for a long, long time to come. Bravo, Zen Studios. If there are more like this on the horizon, we say keep 'em coming.
This is the table you're looking for – Star Wars Rebels mixes excellent design, addictive action, and a flashy presentation, making it an essential purchase for fans of pinball.