Date: 06-28-2011 21:01
Author: Matt Gonzales

PDC profile: Matt

Updated Review w / DLC -- With the of release of Zen Pinball last year, Marvel Pinball enters PSN unexpected. What does it add that is different from Zen Pinball besides being Marvel themed? Is the DLC any good? Read after the break.

Heroes Among Us

If you haven't played a pinball game; just about every target, ramp and loop increases your score or raises your multipliers. Depending on the table your playing, you can get Skillshot bonuses when launching the pinball at a certain time. With each mode that you activate, rules change for the Special Shots and the combos that become available. Combos and Special Shots will increase your score, making you achieve a highscore spot faster. Although, Marvel Pinball was originally released as DLC on other consoles, PS3 owners get treated with a standalone title. Marvel Pinball follows last years successful pinball game, Zen Pinball, with Marvel themed tables. Each table focuses on a Hero along with their Villains. There are 4 tables included in the initial release; Spider-man, Wolverine, Ironman, and Blade. Your challenge for each Hero is to defeat his Villains and beat every 'mode' that stands in your way.

As I mentioned, each Hero has Villains to combat. Spider-man has Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, and Mysterio. Ironman battles Whiplash, Mandarin and Ultimo. While Wolverine makes waste of Silver Samurai, Sabertooth, and Sentinel. And lastly, Blade tries to capture Deacon Frost. Each Villain of the table will have a 'mode' that gets activated when hitting the enemy or their corresponding button. These 'modes' can last long periods of time and become very difficult when the flashing lights make the pinball hard to see. Each time you do the challenges in the 'mode', the rules change and the 'modes' level goes up. Each Villain gets more creative attacks on each the 'mode' you activate. As an example, Doctor Octopus on the Spider-man table will change the controls of the flippers, while Whiplash on the Iron man table will hit the pinball with his whips. Wolverine's table gets confusing when fighting Sabertooth because you must hit certain areas on the table to attack him, while constantly looking back and forth at your score box to know where to hit. This is just to name a few of the 'modes' you'll play in Marvel Pinball.

You and Your Fellow Heroes
There are two features that extend beyond each table you play; Hero Score and Team Force. The Hero Score increases by making improvements on your high scores and Tournament Score. If you have friends who also play Marvel Pinball on your Friends List, then your Team Force will increase as tables get played, highscore spots taken, and Villains defeated. Team Force is a lovely edition in Marvel Pinball, but only if you have the friends playing Marvel Pinball.

Along with Marvel Pinball comes two multi-player variations. First, there's Local Hotseat, this allows four players to play on one console with one controller. Each turn passes after the the ball is lost. Then there is Online Multiplayer, which includes four player online. The first person to reach the set target score wins. You are able to use the PS Eye while playing online. Unfortunately, I was unable to play the Online Multiplayer because Marvel Pinball was not out yet during the writing of this review.

The Verdict
More tables are promised along the way as DLC, Marvel Pinball is sure to keep you in the hotseat. You can spend endless hours mastering each table, reserving high scores, or playing online with others. The only flaw I can complain about for the entire game is the framerate. This messed up my mojo twice while playing the Spider-man and Wolverine tables. But you'll not run into the nasty framerate much as it only happens when unlocking a trophy, which doesn't happen often because they are difficult to obtain. In the end, Marvel Pinball was fun to play. Now go on and try to be the Pinball Wizard/Hero!

Marvel Pinball is developed and published by Zen Studios. It has been released in North America and Europe on the PlayStation Store for $9.99/6.29. This review was written after playing everything this game had to offer for 6 hours, except for the multiplayer.

DLC - Fantastic Four Table
Zen Studios pulls out their first DLC for Marvel Pinball with the addition of the Fantastic Four table, celebrating 50 years of Fantastic Four. All members of the Fantastic Four are present along with their enemies Doctor Doom and Galactus. Silver Surfer and Skrull also appear as animations in the Dot Matrix. The story of the the Fantastic Table revolves around Galactus wanting to consume Earth, and only the Fantastic Four can stop Galactus's actions until the Silver Surfer comes. Doctor Doom is thrown into the mix with the help of the Skrulls and Doombots, stopping the actions of the Fantastic Four. The main objective is to defeat Doctor Doom with his own powers against himself, and fend off Galactus from eating Earth.

This first thing I noticed when starting up the table, is that the design is superior to all of the other tables. I was actually able to see the ball, while all the other tables usually had the ball blending into the table. There is a wide variety of objectives to achieve in the Fantastic Four table, and it is not a easy feat to accomplish them all. Missions are easy to activate, thus make the the table more difficul. Often times though, I just seem to be hitting The Thing, which can get annoying since he shakes the table. Activating The Human Torch's mission sets the ball on fire, while Invisible Woman uses her force field against Doctor Doom setting up a kick-back feature. Mr. Fantastic's missions are the most difficult of them all, where the ball must land into his hand thus building a device to use against Doctor Doom, as I presume, at least, since I never seem to get the last ball in his hand.

Once again Zen Studios has created a perfect theme to the Fantastic Four table, managing to stay true to the voices and design. You'll be hearing many more voices in the table, as it features twice the amount of sound compared to the other tables featured in Marvel Pinball. This table is much more difficult than the others, but a true pinball wizard will love this. At the set price of $2.49, the Fantastic Four offers a lot of solid gameplay and adds 3 trophies. The Fantastic Four table is definite buy for all Marvel Pinball owners.

DLC - Captain America Table
Zen Studios continues to push more DLC in their most recent game, Marvel Pinball, with the addition of a Captain America table. This new table is set in World War II, and Captain America is accompanied by his sidekick Bucky and the Howling Commandos in order to stop Baron Zemo and Red Skull. Captain America is inside of Zemo's castle, and must stop all of Zemo's evil actions. The theme of table all coordinates with gameplay, for example, hitting Red Skull's omnipotent Cube gives you a bonus score. There are also missions present in the table, where you must disable Zemo's Death Ray and Adhesive X. Each time you clear a mission you get closer into defeating Zemo, which is easier said then done.

The Captain America table was a real pleasure, being fast paced but still balanced and therefore making the missions much more difficult to complete. The tables design can get in the way of gameplay, for instance, the ball will occasionally blend into the tables bright design. I don't know much of Captain Americas story, but true fans will enjoy seeing any character throughout the table. Voices, sounds, design, and the flashy lights were all spot on with the theme of Captain America. The table is set at the lovely price of $2.99 and includes 3 additional trophies. My verdict is that the Captain America table is a must buy for all Marvel Pinball owners.

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