One of Stern’s cornerstone games of 2021, the Stern Mandalorian Pinball Machine has been met with exceptional levels of hype by casual and pro players alike due in part to the success of the Disney+ series. As such, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it to try it out for ourselves the moment it reached our showroom.
A visual beauty in person, there are so many aspects to the Mandalorian model that we felt showed Stern’s ingenuity as one of the last major pinball makers in the US. As such, the first article in this review series will start by looking at the three major components that can make or break a pinball machine’s immersive experience: artwork, audio & visuals, and overall playfield features.
The first thing that most people will notice, comic artist Randy Martinez does great in his comic-style interpretation of the Mandalorian, the backglass and sides following this signature style rather than using heavily edited images of real actors as seen on Stern’s original Star Wars machines. This definitely makes it a much more stunning and refreshing sight to the eyes, especially in real life.
Furthermore, the hand-drawn playfield art also adds a warm, personal touch that builds to an adventure and intergalactic experience that really feels so well integrated with The Mandalorian theme.
Audio & Visuals
Theme integration for the Stern Mandalorian Pinball Machine was really something that stood out for us and we probably have to go back to 2019 Keith Elwin’s Jurassic Park for something just as good. We were already entranced when we heard Stern would be using The Mandalorian’s original soundtrack by Ludwig Görranson and it did not fail to delight us through our play experience, giving us an epic sense of adventure, excitement, and eagerness even as you plunge your first ball. To guarantee that you’re kept on your toes, different original audio tracks are also used during different modes to distinguish them, generating a different type of excitement for each adventure as you play through and complete the different missions, encounters, and hunts. Timed so well to the playfield’s light and visual effects, it practically makes you feel like the Mandalorian himself!
Fans of the series are also in for another treat in the audio department—all call outs and voice narrations have been specifically recorded by Mandalorian actor Carl Weathers, who plays bounty hunter and ally Greef Karga. Can you imagine having Greef Karga telling you to look out over at the right ramp! Or him telling you “This is not the way,” when you’ve scored badly?
An unexpected ally: Bounty hunter Greef Karga is here to help all his fellow bounty hunters (players) on their missions and narrate their thrilling sagas from across the galaxy.
Lead designer Brian Eddy also did a great job with making sure everything on the playfield is a delight for the best of fans. Your unmissable companion throughout all your adventures, the custom Grogu figurine situated at the top left corner is always with you throughout each shot and can even help you. When you trigger the ‘CHILD’ rollover switches, Grogu can offer the players powerful buffs and assistance throughout certain parts of the game. The Grogu toy isn’t stingy or small by any means either and is often the first thing that you will notice when you walk up to the machine.
On the other hand, there is also the detailed and beautifully sculpted Razor Crest ship placed in the middle of the playfield with flaming ember lights that flash from its rear exhaust. Another eye-catching custom model, the Razor Crest—much like Grogu—is also a unique target that allows players to start the game’s own Razor Crest modes.
Brian Eddy also puts a well-placed scoop that is accessible from both lower flippers and an integral part of the main gameplay as it grants players access to the Foundry and Missions area. This is accompanied by three buttery-smooth, fast-flowing ramps that are a signature Eddy style that encourages smooth and fast-paced gameplay. While not as tight as those found in a Keith Elwin’s title, they are nevertheless fun and satisfying to hit, providing a great feature to the game.
With bright, fluorescent colours and lights that would draw anyone to it out of curiosity, the Stern Mandalorian Pinball Machine does well to balance these three aspects and create an overall satisfying yet immersive game.
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