The Mandalorian table in Star Wars Pinball VR is the real star, of course.
I’ve thought about living a simulated Star Wars life in VR — and I’ve actually even done it a bunch of times, in location-based arcades, with AR headsets and several times on Oculus Quest. Even the real-life Galaxy’s Edge experience at Disney has its own VR version. When I heard that a Star Wars pinball game was coming to VR, it sounded possibly fun. I didn’t expect it to end up being great.
Zen Studios’ Star Wars Pinball VR exists in non-VR form in lots of other places, but the version I tried on the Oculus Quest 2 is particularly immersive (it’s also in VR on PlayStation VR and Steam). The eight included tables are all loaded up with a lot of extras, unlockables and minigames. All of these tables are also nested in a Star Wars Fan Cave setting with posters and memorabilia you can display once they’re unlocked through various score achievements.
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But, back to the pinball. The tables look stellar on the Quest 2 and ball motion is high frame-rate and fluid. The feeling of moving flippers and standing at the table is convincing. Zen Studios has other pinball games in VR, but the presentation and number of tables in Star Wars Pinball makes it a better choice. If you ever dreamed of having a set of virtual pinball tables in your home, this is an actually affordable option.
Another fun bonus: the ships and characters that end up standing alongside the table as you’re playing. An exclusive Mandalorian table has The Mandalorian and Grogu on either side, watching and sometimes moving (when I lose, Mando takes off on his jetpack, disappointed).
One wall of the “fan cave.”
The collection of tables is, unfortunately, somewhat incomplete-feeling. There are tables for Episodes IV-VI, plus Rebels, Mandalorian and Rogue One tables, plus a “collectibles” table with action figures embedded in the table design and a “Masters of the Force” character-themed table. But there aren’t any Prequel tables or New Trilogy tables (or Clone Wars), which is a shame since the Switch version has 19 tables compared to the 8 that are here. Maybe there will be add-ons? (Please bring add-ons.)
Playing the tables one at a time or in a campaign filled with timed and high-score challenges, unlocks posters, models, helmets and full-size character recreations that can displayed in the virtual fan cave, which yes, appears to be in a (fancy) basement.
This looks a lot cooler with the headset on.
It all reminds me of the fun I used to have playing arcade games in VR on the Oculus Go and Gear VR with Oculus Arcade, an app that never made the move to Quest. I used to love the feeling of standing at an arcade cabinet playing Joust — the feeling was always realistic enough to spare me making an impulse buy on an arcade cabinet for my home. Star Wars Pinball makes me realize that VR’s best simulations (like pinball, or ping-pong) are often some of the smallest.
Now do Marvel next.