Mustang is Stern's first pinball machine of 2014, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ford Motor's Mustang line of cars. The playfield was designed by John Trudeau with Camilo Pardo, John Youssi, and Greg Freres behind the artwork; Lonnie Ropp, Tanio Klyce, Jack Benson, Mike Kyzivat, and Waison Cheng making the rules; and David Thiel and Mike Kyzivat responsible for the sound and music. George Gomez supervised the production of this pinball machine. This is the third pinball machine to have "Mustang" as its name.
The player is asked to pick a Mustang spanning from the classic 1965 convertible to the 2013 Boss 302. From that point on, there are three different types of objectives with this table: Upgrades of different classes to different parts of the car; completing a small collection of notable Mustangs each with its own mode; and the two multiball modes, Gears Multiball and Mustang Multiball. With a complete Mustang collection and fully-upgraded rides, the player can then advance to Silverball Stampede, the wizard mode featuring the (at the time) upcoming 2015 model.
A notable feature of Mustang is a 1/24 scale model, placed on a platform above the G-E-A-R-S drop targets. Replicas of various models from throughout the years are used for the pinball machine, the specific model randomly chosen. The Premium and Limited Edition machines also allow for easy substitution of any particular Mustang (or, if in an iconoclastic mood, a different brand of car) upon the platform. Another notable aspect of Mustang is that this is the first Stern table in a long time to have its own set of characters created specifically for the machine. This machine also introduces "multiball cancel," where you can choose to put off your multiball for later in exchange for more balls.
The game is largely considered incomplete among pinball enthusiasts, but this is chalked up due to its relative newness. Multiballs are currently disproportionately valuable compared to the rest of the game, and there are a number of unused features and lights. Like with Batman (Stern), Spider-Man (Stern), AC/DC, and Metallica, Stern intends to release updates to improve the game and add more features.
A digital version is available for Stern Pinball Arcade.
The Mustang pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Automated Automobiles: MUTT, the KITT-like robot car in the "Rally Race" mode.MUTT: "You winning is like me dividing by zero — it will never happen!"
- Badass Driver: The player has to prove himself to be one by completing the Stunt Driver mode.
- The Big Race: The Rally Race and Drag Race modes.
- Calling Your Attacks: The director in "Stunt Car" describes his special effects as they happen.Movie Director: "EXPLOSIONS!"
- Cool Car: Of course.
- Donut Mess with a Cop: Police Pursuit begins with a driver racing past a cop at a donut stand. During the mode, the cop will occasionally eat a donut on the display during the Hot Pursuit.Cop: "More donuts!"
- Everybody Owns a Ford: Well, a Mustang, but it's the same company...
- Fruit Cart: One of the animations shown during the "Stunt Car" mode has a Mustang plowing through a fruit cart... which is labeled "Explosive Fruit".
- Hot Pursuit: Invoked by the Police Pursuit mode. Doubles as a Shout-Out to High Speed and its sequel along with Donut Mess with a Cop because of its similar storyline setup.
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: The Premium and Limited Editions, as is typical with Stern. These more expensive versions have a slightly modified playfield, with drop targets in front of some of the N2O targets with the scale model's platform on a turntable, and four additional songs. The Limited Edition also has a powder-coated blue frame.
- Machine Monotone: MUTT delivers his insults as such, complete with Stock Phrases.MUTT: "Please hold. System reboot."
- Mad Scientist: One of the competitors in the races. May be a Shout-Out to Wacky Races's Professor Pat Pending.Melvin: "Back to the laboratory!"
- Match Sequence: A car drives donuts around an open field and writes out a multiple of 10 as skid marks.
- Mission Control: Tanner Faust (also a Special Guest; see below).
- Off-the-Shelf FX: The Mustang model near the middle of the playfield. The more expensive models allow for easy customization, as the turntable is pre-drilled to accept either Maisto or M2 brand 1/24 scale cars.
- Product Placement
- Progressive Jackpot: The M-U-S-T-A-N-G letters for Mustang Multiball will carry over from game to game by default.
- Real Song Theme Tune: There are four songs in the Pro Edition and eight songs in the Premium and Limited Editions courtesy of Sony Music, including "Ace of Spades" (Motorhead), "Free Ride" (Edgar Winter), "Drag City" (Jan & Dean), and "My Own Worst Enemy" (Lit). The Premium and LE versions also include I Just Want to Celebrate (Rare Earth), Frankenstein (Edgar Winter), and What I Like About You (The Romantics).
- Score Multiplier: The N2O boost, which can be lit on the left standup after hitting three other small N2O targets, will temporarily double scoring.
- Shout-Out: Many of them, both in reference to previous pinball machines and popular culture.
MUTT: "Wait, come back! I will give you cake!"
- The feed to the right inlane features a whirlpool layout in an almost identical location to that of Creature from the Black Lagoon.
- Burnout Multiball is another shout-out to Creature from the Black Lagoon, as the multiball has the same rules as the multiball from said game.
- One of the competitors in the race modes greatly resembles Charlie Chan.
- During the "Rally Race" mode, some of the competitors include an Attack from Mars-like Martian, the "Sparky" character from a previous Stern title, Metallica, and an Expy of KITT from Knight Rider (named MUTT, in this case). As a bonus, MUTT is named after Muttley, Dick Dastardly's canine assistant in Wacky Races.
- One of MUTT's quotes:
- The black Cobra Mustang convertible on the right orbit belongs to Jim Schelberg, publisher of Pingame Journal magazine.
- Skill Shot: Three of them. The most obvious one is conveniently labeled at the upper right corner of the playfield.
- The super skill shot is activated when the player plunges the ball while holding in the left flipper. A quick shot to the Mustang Store will collect the award.
- A code update added a Pin Bot-style skill shot, activated by holding the left flipper while the ball is launched. The columns of lights will strobe, and the GE, A, or RS targets must be hit when the column of lights in front of them are lit.
- Special Guest: Professional racing driver Tanner Foust provides callouts for the game.
- Spelling Bonus: There is a drop target associated with each of the letters in "GEARS". Spell it out the first time by sinking all five the to start Gears Multiball. For each subsequent time, you have to spell it out five times.
- Spelling out M-U-S-T-A-N-G starts Mustang Multiball.
- During the second phase of Burnout Multiball, each spin in the whirlpool will add another letter in "BURNOUT". Completing it will begin the final phase, lighting the super jackpots.
- Spiritual Sequel: To Corvette, as both are pinball machines with George Gomez's fingerprints based on a car he has once owned.
- That Came Out Wrong: Narrowly averted; the GEARS targets were originally supposed to spell SHIFT, until someone realized that knocking down the letter "F" would cause a scandal...
- Timed Mission: "Stunt Car" asks the player to complete a series of shots within 20 seconds. However, if time runs out, the player simply starts from the beginning rather than failing the mode, and the display indicates the next take.
- Vanity License Plate: Jim Schelberg's black Cobra Mustang convertible has PINGAME license plates.
- Wacky Racing: The racing modes are clearly not meant to be taken seriously, considering the absurd nature of the competitors.
- Wizard Mode: Silverball Stampede, which is available after advancing through all of the challenges in the Challenge Ladder. The Silverball Stampede is a four-ball multi ball mode, an all-out coast-to-coast race against all of the game's opponents.