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Star Wars Pinball for iPad is paddle-flipping fun

Star Wars Pinball for iPad is paddleflipping funZen Studios will release Star Wars Pinball for iPad tomorrow. I've spent a week with it and am happy to say that it's great. The game's attention to detail, visuals, gameplay and surprises make it a winner. There's something here for old-time Star Wars geeks as well as those who are growing up with The Clone Wars. Pinball fans will enjoy it, too. Here's my look at Star Wars Pinball for iPad.

Looks

To call Star Wars Pinball a stunner is like saying the sun is warm. There's so much to it, and I keep finding new things. The start screen is well laid out and the buttons are easy to hit and clear in their purpose. Menus are clear and easy to tap.

Of course, the real fun is in the tables themselves. You start off three to choose from: The Empire Strikes Back, The Clone Wars and Boba Fett. Each is appropriately themed with all sorts of goodies. For example, the Boba Fett table features a tentacle-waving sarlacc, a frozen Han Solo and a really cool Fett paint job. As you play, an animated Boba Fett flies back and forth.

There are lots of little details, too. On the Boba Fett table, the launcher is Fett's rocket pack. On the Empire table, it's a lightsaber and on the Clone Wars table, an escape pod puts the ball in play.

Once you've selected a table, you can enjoy a "flyover" examination before gameplay begins. There's no time limit to this feature and it's a super way to find all the hidden gems, artistic touches and references that make this game so nice to look at. For example, don't miss the red R2 unit in the Empire table. He's hard to see during gameplay. Prepare to geek out, Star Wars fans!

Gameplay

Just like a real pinball table, there are many bonuses to unlock. Minor bonuses boost your point total while others are more impressive. For example, a certain combination on the Boba Fett table releases an animated Jabba the Hutt, who has a interaction with Boba Fett via a brief cinematic. Likewise, an animated Vader can appear on the Empire table, while Anakin and Ahsoka fight with battle droids on the Clone Wars table. The Empire table will even let you see brief scenes from that movie. And no, I won't tell you how to trigger these cinematics. That would spoil the surprise!

Really, that's just the beginning. There's a lot to find.

The physics work well. The game's flippers are very responsive and the ball behaves as you'd expect.

Another fun aspect of the game is your Force allegiance. Choose to support the Dark Side or the Light Side. You earn points as you plan and move along the ranks (Jedi initiate, padawan, etc.). Achievements and Game Center leaderboards provide additional challenges.

Conclusion

Star Wars Pinball for iPad is a lot of fun. Star Wars fans and pinball wizards will enjoy it. It will be available on the App Store tomorrow (pricing was not available at the time of this writing).

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