Tag Archives: Zen Pinball FX 2

Zen Pinball FX 2: Balls of Glory review

Ball of Glory adds four new tables to Zen Pinball FX 2, each based on a different Fox animated comedy, and whilst the tables feature nothing particular new with their mechanics, excellent aesthetic authenticity truly brings each to life, resulting in terrific fan service.

Moreover, each table is also highly accessible. The majority of the challenges and missions are completed by shooting the ball up ramps, and the bottom half of the table is mostly empty, bar some superbly produced art work from the relevant show. They also all run at the same pace, with a fairly quick drop towards the flippers after careening around the bend of a ramp collecting points, making them fun and fast tables to play that are ideal for highscore competitions.

Balls of Glory 1

Figuring out each table’s set of missions is also fairly intuitive, thanks to the elegant design, however, a few hidden features are worth looking up in each table’s online manual.

Wonderfully, each table achieves a level of authenticity that many of Zen’s tables don’t reach, with characters from each show – Bob’s Burgers, Archer, American Dad and Family Guy – voiced by their respective talent. However, these audio assets along with the music are pulled directly from each show rather than original dialogue being produced, but it’s been cleverly woven into the narrative of each table to match how it’s being played. The source material is also well represented and accurate, even covering jokes that ran over multiple seasons, making them ideal companions to their respective shows and a great nod to classic moments for the fans.

Balls of Glory 2

Family Guy, American Dad and Bob’s Burgers switch up the usual, realistic art style of Zen’s typical tables by matching the cell shaded style of each animated show. As such they look very different from the usual tables and lose some of the charm along the way. As bombastic and feature rich as the tables usually are they looked as if they could exist in an arcade, however, these new ones reject realism entirely. That’s is except the Archer table, which more closely resembles the previous Zen style.

There’s still the unfortunately side effect of frequently repeated dialogue plaguing each table, a common occurrence with licensed tables but a largely unavoidable one, however, fans are unlikely to mind. Each one does such a terrific job of telling short stories through their missions while providing fast and fun pinball action that even the slightest interest in the shows will endear you to the tables. It’s another fantastic set of tables from the king of digital pinball.

Thanks to Xbox and Zen Studios for their support 

[rprogress value=95 text=”TiX Score 95%”]
[xyz-ihs snippet=”XboxOne”][xyz-ihs snippet=”Pegi12″]

Plants vs. Zombies Pinball brings the battle to the Xbox One

Zen Studios and PopCap games have announced that their Pinball FX2 and Plants vs. Zombies collaboration is now available for the Xbox One.

This Xbox 360 fan favourite brings the eternal struggle between the undead masses, and the floral forces to the Xbox One, bringing the zombie invasion to the pinball table.

It is now available to download for the Xbox One for £2.49/$2.99/€2,99.

If you have previously downloaded the table on the Xbox 360, you will be able to download it for the Xbox One, for free.

Ant-Man Pinball review

Another Marvel movie release of course means another pinball table to add to Zen Pinball on the Xbox platforms. This time it’s Ant-Man, and thanks to unique mechanics and a seldom seen layout, it’s another superb table to add to your collection.

The Ant-Man table focuses its feature in the top half, leaving the bottom peculiarly empty. It results in fast ball movement and the occasional unhittable drops between the flippers, but it does make it a simpler table to fathom, as well as helping you concentrate when multiple balls enter the field. It certainly feels a little odd at first, but it’s a design choice that’s clearly appropriate to the table, and once you’ve experienced more of what’s on offer, this becomes abundantly clear.

Ant-Man Pinball 2

The Zen Pinball table standard of integrated mini-games built into the table reveal themselves as you complete objectives by hitting the ball towards the ramp-heavy top and the particle suspended in the upper right. And as expected they’re theme appropriate, fun and intense to play, whether it’s using bumpers to keep the ball active on the table, or shooting the animated, 3D Ant-Man as he shrinks and dashes around. They’re excellent rewards for your skill, dishing out copious amounts of points for you to tackle the leaderboard as well as achieving feats of pinball wizardry a real table never could – such as the empty bottom half peeling back to reveal a mini-game and separate field to play underneath.

The aforementioned particle grants points and shrinks each time you hit it, until it finally reaches ball size and comes loose, brilliantly acting as a second ball. A few well placed shots later and a third ball can enter the mix, ant sized and a nightmare to see, but a great way to rack up even more points. It all comes together to provide ample opportunities to hit the ramps and create combinations to unlock bonuses.

Ant-Man Pinball 1

It’s a fast table but one that’s full of easy to reach areas that reward you with tremendous points. The austere lower half aids with ball control, and thanks to its subtle lights, and colour scheme of red, black and blue, it’s an attractive and intuitive table to play. The odd low-tech traditional pinball sound effect sounds a little incongruous with the theme, but believable voice doubles for the film’s cast sells the authenticity nicely. It’s another great marvel table that should definitely be in your collection.

Thanks to Xbox and Zen Studios for their support

[rprogress value=88 text=”TiX Score 88%”]
[xyz-ihs snippet=”XboxOne”][xyz-ihs snippet=”Pegi12″]

Portal Pinball review

Zen Studios are certainly back on form. Their Star Wars: Rebels table was highly authentic and enjoyable, and their latest table, Portal, follows in its footsteps with just as much care and attention to detail as any other property they’ve turned into a pinball experience.

Indeed the Portal pinball table is smashing. Dialogue has been expertly lifted from Valve’s puzzle series and repurposed to fit this table and your actions within it spectacularly; with GLaDOS taunting you, Wheatley encouraging you, and the companion cube silently loving you. Moreover, the miniaturised GLaDOS and Wheatley, residing near the top of the table, look fantastic, GLaDOS in particular with her fully animated motion and reactions to lazers being refracted by cubes and aimed at her.

Portal Pinball 1

Moreover, series protagonist, Chell, stands ready to the bottom left with her trusty portal gun, ready to create portals and re-appear above her starting position or across a light bridge to a platform on the right above the ball launcher. The ball launcher itself is a digital computer display of the power you can generate when launching the ball, however, on the launch lane are a set of collapsing tiles and portals, time your launch and get the right power and you can jump through one and start the round off with a nice score bonus. Indeed, it’s a visually stimulating and attractive, feature rich table.

However, it’s also a visually busy table, with the aforementioned features and table details that represent the minimalist and clean white Aperture Science labs as well as the darker, grimier foundations, all vying for your attention alongside the fast pace of the ball. The table is also complex, of course there are the portals which pop up where you’d otherwise see targets and drops, teleporting the ball to other parts of the table. They’re terrifically implemented to fit with the expected play of a pinball table but match the aesthetic and theme of Portal. Tight lanes mean hitting a specific one can be a challenge, even more so when physics altering goo is splashed onto the table. Add two extra flippers, one on the central lane and the other on the left, and the additional options to fling the ball around and rack up speed and points multiplies further. It all results in a fast and frantic experience that’s equally challenging and awe-inspiring.

Portal Pinball 2

Fortunately, the missions can be completed in any order and you can choose which of the six to tackle each time you activate them, keeping the focus on fun pinballing action rather than narrow parameters and potential frustration. Overcome them all and you get to face GLaDOS in a final showdown.

The Portal pinball table is brilliantly authentic and oodles of fun to play while offering a stiff challenge for pinball veterans. It’s another spectacular example of Zen Studios capturing the essence and personality of a property and converting it wonderfully into a pinball experience. What will they think of next?

Thanks to Xbox and Zen Studios for their support

[rprogress value=90 text=”TiX Score 90%”]
[xyz-ihs snippet=”XboxOne”][xyz-ihs snippet=”Pegi12″]

Star Wars: Rebels Pinball review

After a slightly disappointing table for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Zen Studios had something to prove with its next release. Fortunately, Star Wars: Rebels re-captures the excellence the developer is famed for.

The Star Wars: Rebels table is wonderfully authentic, taking lines of dialogue, sound effects and music from the animated show and the Star Wars universe of films to truly capture the Franchise feel. Additionally, an orange and yellow heavy colour scheme, desert backdrop and 3D animated ships and characters adoring the table immerse you further in the Star Wars atmosphere. It’s all very thematically in sync.

Star-Wars-Rebels-Pinball 1

The table itself achieves an excellent balance between intuitive and challenging, offering up easy to hit lanes and targets but a fast ball pace. Again it fits the theme spectacularly, matching the action-packed fast pace of the source material. Mid-way up on the right is an easy to use third flipper for racking up the score by sending the ball back towards the bumpers. Meanwhile, the middle of the table houses targets for triggering events and an animated turbine that heats the ball up causing it to glow red, this is also where you can lock balls for the multi-ball scenario.

Each main character from the show has a mission you can take on by playing a mini-game. Whilst these are largely the same as with other tables, where you need to hit specific lanes and targets to achieve a goal, or are transported to a different play-field to hit targets, it’s once again in line with the theme and due to that authenticity feels different enough to quell any feelings of repetition, no matter how many tables you’ve played previously.

Star-Wars-Rebels-Pinball 2

Star Wars: Rebels is thematically excellent, fast paced yet intuitive table that certainly puts to rest any concerns of complacency from the developers. Being able to choose which character’s mission you take on helps you work through the table’s narrative and achieve those high scores without frustration, and overall the table’s lanes and targets are placed in easy to hit regions. The force is certainly strong with this one.

Thanks to Xbox and Zen Studios for their support

[rprogress value=90 text=”TiX Score 90%”]
[xyz-ihs snippet=”XboxOne”][xyz-ihs snippet=”Pegi12″]