PlayStation 3PSNReview

Zen Pinball 2

[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Zen Studios” publishers=”Zen Studios” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”September 4, 2012″]

Zen Pinball 2, developed by Zen Studios, is the sequel to Zen Pinball. Many of the same features grace both games but Zen Pinball 2 updates the original with better physics and better tables. Did Zen Studios create a brand new experience to satisfy our pinball needs or is this just another remake with some added polish?

The game itself is very simple and uses only two buttons during gameplay. R1 and L1 operate the right and left paddles, respectively. One button also lets you shake the table (and if you do it too often, the table actually stops with the words tilt just like a real pinball machine). Balls are shot onto the board and you use the flippers to hit them back up, gaining points by hitting different objects on the table all while hoping the balls don’t pass through the few holes into the bottom, ending that round.

The physics in the game are great. This is especially evident during a multi-ball sequence when anything from an additional ball to a handful of balls enter the table. Hitting the balls and watching them bounce of one another realistically is a great site to see and allows you to guess when a ball is going to shoot towards your flippers a lot easier.

Downloading Zen Pinball 2 doesn’t get you any tables. Instead, you buy the tables separately or in groups. Any tables you may have from the first game can be played in Zen Pinball 2, as well. Each table has a theme of some sort and many of the tables revolve around characters or events from Marvel Comics.  There aren’t many new tables but, given the amount of DLC for the first game, that will be remedied soon.

My biggest critique of the first Zen Pinball were the tables. The tables in that game were too realistic. Everything shown in the tables could be done on a real machine. The point of a video game version of pinball is to allow for ridiculous tables that could never be created in the real world. Thankfully, Zen Pinball 2 brings such ridiculousness. On the newest Marvel tables, characters fly around the table, electricity pulses on certain objects, and the gravity of tables turns upside, forcing you to play the game backwards. Suffice it to say none of this is possible on a real table.

The graphics of this game do the job. The tables are vibrant, colorful, and flashy (in both their flashing lights and their aesthetic). The characters are modeled correctly and look great off the comic page. The characters shout out threats during the tables and are very talkative. They are all voiced well. The hitting of objects makes the dinging sounds that emanate from any pinball arcade and the flippers sound realistic when you use them.

Score: 9/10

If you like to play pinball, this is the game for you. The tables are well-done and a lot of fun, the graphics and sound are all great, and the physics, pivotal in any pinball game, seems almost perfect. You’ll be able to compete with friends given the game’s comparing scores from your friend’s list which will allow this game to have some legs in its replayability. Plus, trying to beat your last high score is a must.

Josh Ricker

Josh lives just outside Boston. He fell in love with video games when his parents bought him Mario Bros for Nintendo and he's been gaming ever since. In his online dating profiles, long walks on the beach are never mentioned. Instead, he lists the desolate rubble of the Capitol Wasteland as his ideal vacation spot.

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