Date: 11-05-2012 03:01
Author: Matt Gonzales

PDC profile: Matt

Super heroes, zombies, classic cars, fighters, and adventurers. Zen Studios collaborates all their DLC and stand-alone pinball games into one: Zen Pinball 2. Is it worth becoming a pinball wizard again or was the ball lost already?

The Bally Table King
Zen Pinball 2 is a collaboration of Zen Pinball, Marvel Pinball, and each DLC of its respected game. All tables can be purchased or demoed for free, not to mention that Zen Pinball 2 itself is free. Like past pinball games, the main goal is to get a high score with skillshots, multipliers, and activating objectives. There are currently 26 tables that Zen Pinball 2 offers on the PlayStation Store. Did I also say that it's cross-buy? That means it's playable on both PS3 and Vita.

The controls are exactly like Marvel Pinball; Flippers use the L1 & R1 buttons (or Touchscreen), shaking the controller tilts the table, to change table view, and launches the ball. Nothing was much different until I played the Vita version. The Vita's beautiful 5-inch OLED screen just compliments Zen Pinball 2 when put into portrait mode. Controls, though, are slightly awkward with the Vita's size, shape, and grip. The L & R buttons can still be used in portrait mode, but it is difficult to aim the ball in certain modes of tables like on the Plants vs. Zombies table. The touch screen can be used in both portrait and landscape modes, but it isn't very reliable when wanting to nudge the table.

Tables can be purchased separately, in packs, or can be demoed for free. High-scores and Trophies are disabled when demoing tables. Any table or Zen Pinball game that was purchased in the past is free to the user. Basically, what Zen Studios did was make Zen Pinball a Free-2-Play model, which is what I love. Now, about the tables. They are said to be updated with the latest engine and graphics of the series. Although, I didn't see much of an upgrade, personally. The Captain America table was still fast paced, Iron Man table was as difficult as ever, and the Spider-man table was the easiest, just as it was in Marvel Pinball. The Moon Knight, Thor, and Blade tables did seem to have a brightness change so the user was able to actually distinguish the ball from the table.

DLC - Plants vs. Zombies
With the release of Zen Pinball 2, PopCap's hit title "Plants vs. Zombies" was made into a table. This table doesn't hold back on the theme. The ball is a pea, zombies rise from the table, Crazy Dave is crazy, and Sunflower appears in the middle of the table. Money and sunlight are collected in special modes that are activated to get higher scores. The most fun table in the the entire game was probably this one. Hearing Sunflowers voice when getting multipliers and the Zombies moans when knocking them down were a great addition to the theme. This is a must-have table in the collection.

DLC - Street Fighter II
Possibly one of the most challenging tables in Zen Pinball 1, the Street Fighter II Tribute table comes again in Zen Pinball 2. The vibrant colors of the table makes it standout to other tables. Almost everything that a Street Fighter fan would want is included: Hadoukens, punching sounds, paper cars, Akuma's intimidation, and Blanka helping along at the beginning of the table. The spacing of the flippers seems farther apart than other tables, similar to the Iron Man table. The placing of the multipliers makes it difficult to get to, for instance, I always seem to hit the car in the middle of table countlessly. Nevertheless, it is a great table to look at and devise a plan to get a highscore. It's a great addition for players that want a challenge.

Zen Pinball 2 doesn't change much in the series, but complements what already has been established. It is basically an application that gives any player an easy environment to play a pinball game without releasing different stand-alone titles. This game will definitely get a new player interested and old players to play at ease in one spot. Although It was disappointing seeing there were only minor changes to the tables. Nevertheless, this is a great game for the cool price of free.

Zen Pinball 2 is developed and published by Zen Studios. It has been released on the North America PlayStation Store for free. This review was written after playing both Vita and PS3 versions for about 8 hours in total, except for the multiplayer.

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