Star Wars Pinball

Review: Star Wars Pinball 3DS

Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve been a big Star Wars fan, but my experience with the silver ball has been a lot more limited. Rarely do you now see a pinball table in arcades or pubs, with most people more likely to be familiar with the Pinball game that comes pre-installed on Windows, or Nintendo gamers with the Pokémon Pinball games on the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance. In the past few years, Zen Studios have gained critical acclaim for both their original tables and their Marvel themed expansion pack, but how does this expansion from a galaxy far far away stand up on the 3DS?

Star Wars Pinball 3D does an excellent job of capturing the magic of the Star Wars mythology, featuring three tables based on The Empire Strikes Back, The Clone Wars, and a third original table starring the feared bounty hunter Boba Fett. These tables have been lovingly crafted with so much detail that would not be possible on a machine in real life – Boba Fett jumps from side to side, Luke’s lightsaber will extend guiding your ball down the table; along with the classic soundtrack we all know (and love) you can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of nostalgia.

In this 3DS version, the upper screen shows the table, while the lower screen gives you a replication of a dot matrix display, giving you information on your score, your objectives, and even little video sequences. Each table is packed with objectives to complete, which are often difficult to work out without reading up on the table guide in the pause menu. Unfortunately, with pinball being a high paced game, it is sometimes quite difficult to actually see some of these fleeting messages while trying to pay attention to the top screen.

SWP Clone 02     SWP Boba 02

Unfortunately, the visual department is where the 3DS version of Star Wars Pinball falters. The tables are simply too big to be shown properly on the small screen, being more suited the HD visuals of the Wii U. Particularly on the Boba Fett table, you will find yourself squinting to see where the ball is against the pixelated textures. You are given eight different viewpoints to play from, varying from zoomed out to options where the camera follows the ball around the table. While you won’t lose the ball on these panning/zooming options, I found it more difficult to visualise when the ball would actually hit the bumper. The 3D effect does add a bit of depth to the table, but it is easier to play with the slider down due to the rapid movement up and down the table. If you can find a viewpoint you are comfortable with, you can definitely have a lot of fun with this game.

Perhaps this game’s biggest black spot is that it crashes all the time if you try to use any of its online functions. Along with online leader boards, Star Wars Pinball makes you choose between the light side and the dark side, to fight for the “Balance of the Force”. This persistent struggle puts a unique spin on the high score mechanic, with your top scores influencing whether the Jedi or Sith will prevail. Unfortunately, unless you turn the wireless switch on your 3DS off, the game will crash as you try to start a game, making these online functions worthless. At the time of writing, Zen Studios are aware of the problems, but a solution is yet to be provided.

N-Europe Final Verdict

If you can forgive the visual and online flaws, and have time to learn the tables, Star Wars Pinball will give you hours of fun, and for a price of £4.49, it’s not going to break the bank. It’s packed with missions ripped from the Star Wars universe and is, most importantly, a great pinball game, just better suited to a system with a bigger screen.

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability5
  • Visuals3
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Addictive pinball gameplay
Loads of missions to master


3DS screen too small, muddy visuals
Online functionality broken

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