Following the recent launch of Pinball FX2, Zen Studios show no sign of slowing down. They’ve been hard at work on building the next few tables for their pinball series, this time tapping into the goldmine offered by the Marvel comic book licences.
Marvel Pinball is available for both PSN and XBLA, but the method of obtaining it differs depending on which platform you choose. On PSN it’s a stand alone release, but on XBLA it takes the form of a downloadable expansion for Pinball FX2. The reason for this is the way that Zen Pinball was designed and although it allows for extra tables, unlike Pinball FX2 you are required to pay for the core engine. Zen say they didn’t want to restrict people to buying Zen Pinball just to play the Marvel tables and that’s certainly a fair point, but to our minds if you haven’t bought it then you really should make it a priority since it really is that good.
There are four new comic themed tables in this release, each with different Marvel heroes – currently this stands as Spider-Man, Iron-Man, Wolverine and Blade. Each one features the seminal heroes and a selection of their most notable villains, with all the fan service a comic book aficionado could ever want. This ranges from Tony Stark’s propensity for drink and parties, through to Deacon Frost’s plans to throw the world into darkness on the Blade table.
As we’ve come to expect from Zen, each one is extremely well crafted, making them a delight to play. Be it the large swooping ramps on the Spider-Man table which are befitting the web slingers aerial acrobatics, through to the animated characters who dominate the tables, each one is a visual spectacle to be enjoyed. It’s certainly a sight to behold as Doc Ock starts to clamber down the table towards the flippers, Wolverine’s claws punch through the top of the table, or Iron Man suits up to tackle The Mandarin or Whiplash. These are a spectacle that just wouldn’t be possible on a traditional pinball table, but despite their grandeur they manage to stay functional and serve a purpose. They also show that Zen know how to strike a balance between producing an entertaining table without over egging the pudding.
It also goes without saying that the tables feature Zen’s excellent leaderboard and score integration, meaning highscore addicts will have plenty to keep them occupied and the new tables open up new possibilities for laying down whole new challenges amongst your friends.
With additional Marvel tables already planned it’s clear that they’re tackling the license with relish. This enthusiasm shows in spades and there’s certainly more than enough here to keep both fans of Marvel and Zen’s pinball very happy indeed.