Pinball is one of those game genres that, despite being around for so long in video games, is always pleasant to see when a new one is released. Potential masters of video games, Zen Studios, have brought a lot of what made everybody love about Piball FX 2 and bring it over to the PlayStation Vita. Does the pinball game hit all the right bumpers or does it suffer from one too many shunts?
Zen Pinball’s base game is free allowing you to try out any of the tables you’ve downloaded as a free trial. If you like any table, you can buy most of them separately or as packs to enjoy. The version reviewed includes full access to all 26 pinball tables.
Visually Zen Pinball looks great. The colours and lights look truly impressive due to the beautiful 5 inch OLED screen. No matter what table I was playing on, I was always impressed by either the starting overview of the table or as playing went on that no matter how much activity was occurring on-screen, the game continuously ran silky smooth.
The tables themselves range from entry-level tables to ones that are extremely technical. Some of the older tables, or classic Zen Pinball tables are quite simplistic. Some of the tables will feel quite barebones but offer a great way to introduce you to the game and the mechanics that are involved with pinball.
But as you move on to the newer tables, including the Avengers table, you will really be challenged with completing the missions on the table. Slots to put your ball through will sometimes be very obscure. Some placements are also risky meaning you will have to wait until the last second to use the flipped to reach to part of the table needed. Too slow though and you will miss the ball and it will fall between the flippers, losing the ball in the process.
The game features more than a dozen Marvel tables that offer unique scenarios and visuals depending on which table is chosen. Ghost Rider is more dark with flames coming from wherever the developers could fit them on the table to something like Spider-Man which is bright and colourful, with a much more open mid-table. You will certainly not feel like you are playing the same table over and over again when you chose different themes, a feat that must be commended.
The game also features a couple that are based on video games including: Plants vs. Zombies and Ninja Gaiden. Plant vs. Zombies does a great job of bringing what makes Plants vs. Zombies great onto a pinball table. You will be collecting sun and killing waves of zombies using the ball. The Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 table features a lot of the visuals that fans of the series will instantly recognise.
It doesn’t matter how many tables are features, they will all ultimately fail if the gameplay isn’t responsive enough. Zen Pinball 2 offers two different ways of playing. You can either use the shoulder buttons or flip the system any way you want and use the touch screen. Easily my favourite of the two was the touchscreen. The shoulder buttons are acceptable but using the touchscreen feels more immediate. There is less input and resistance using the touch screen meaning as soon as you move your thumb, the action will instantly be seen on the screen.
Zen Pinball 2 features that incredible addicting feeling that the Vita needs. It offers fun pick up and play for those who just want to kill some time, but the tables are so intricate and complex that players could spend many hours on each table just to understand all the systems, then it comes down to getting the best score possible. This is a downloadable only game that deserves your attention if you’re a Vita owner.