Adding to its already impressive number of Star Wars themed tables, Zen Studios recently - ok, fine, a few months back - released a table based on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Much like the movie, Rogue One does away with a number of pinball tropes, but unlike the tale of Jyn Erso, it never quite comes together successfully.
Built around a central platform that houses both the table’s set of TIE themed bumpers and a ball death drop, Rogue One is the most top heavy pinball table I’ve played from Zen Studios. Given that most of the pinball action for nearly any table happens away from the flippers, the bottom of the table is surprisingly bare, lacking even the standard letter spelling drain lanes. Instead, the rollovers have been moved to the surrounding ramps, requiring an activation criteria to be triggered before you can light things like Jyn’s name.
The rollovers' positions on the ramps lead to more frequent activation. Score wise, this produces some exciting boosts, but I spent an inordinate amount of time watching Jyn Erso make her way across the table in one of Rogue One’s canned animation features. The rest are built around the center panel and provide some real pleasant surprises that I don’t want to spoil.
As with all of the Star Wars tables, the sights and sound effects are culled straight from the property itself. This table really shows off when it comes to moments involving TIE Fighters or the Death Star. Animations for characters like Jyn who are part of the tablescape are stiff, similarly to Black Widow/Madam Masque's in the Women of Power Pack.
Even though it feels as fully featured as many of their other tables, there’s still something that strikes me as off regarding Rogue One, especially when compared to the more recent Bethesda tables. There's an excitement there that’s missing here. Even considering that some small chances were taken with the design, like moving the rollovers to the left and right of the main flippers, the table still feels simple and by the numbers. It’s a stark contrast to the source material, a not so simple mission that proves to be one of the pivot points upon which the success of the Rebel Alliance largely rested.
In the pantheon of pinball tables bearing the Star Wars name, Rogue One runs close to the middle of the pack. Some exceptional visuals serve as standouts, but are not enough to carry the sadly banal play of the table itself. It never reaches the lows of the American Dad table, but unless you are looking to fill out your collection, Rogue One is nothing to go out of your way for.
Reviewer and Editor for Darkstation by day, probably not the best superhero by night. I mean, look at that costume. EEK!