ZEN Pinball Review
- Posted May 18th, 2009 at 04:27 EDT by Eric Blattberg
- 18 Comments
- PSU Review Score
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ZEN Pinball is one of the PlayStation Network's best releases this year.
- The well-designed tables
- The gratifying local and online multiplayer
- The sharp and stylish presentation
- The lack of tables
ZEN Pinball is the best pinball game on the PlayStation Network.
Okay, that statement requires a bit of clarification. Since ZEN Pinball is the only pinball game on the PlayStation Network, it could be an absolute disaster and still obtain the aforementioned title of "best pinball game on PSN." Luckily, that is not the case.
When ZEN Pinball boots up, it quickly becomes evident how polished the game is. The slick menu has a distinct pinball style, with lights on a pinball table representing the selectable options -- and there are a myriad of options on offer. Single-player, local multiplayer, and online multiplayer all make an appearance, as do extras like slow motion gameplay, mid-game saves, and custom soundtracks. Scoreboards, meanwhile, contain the expected weekly and all-time high score rankings, but also track score speed, best one-minute streaks, and online multiplayer ranking. It's an incredibly comprehensive experience.
The only thing lacking in ZEN Pinball is table quantity. Though more tables are en route as (presumably paid) downloadable content, we would have liked to see at least five included in the base game. Still, the four available tables -- El Dorado, Tesla, Shaman, and V12 -- are fantastic. Each table is rendered beautifully, sporting a unique visual theme with an accompanying theme song. They're rich with content, with dozens of objectives and events to trigger. Plus, the six camera angles (and a free-look feature for those so inclined) allow everyone to find a view that suits their tastes. Our favorite is View 3, as it gets us close to the action without restricting the overall view of the table.
The action is non-stop once it gets going. The ball physics, without feeling unfair or fake, are incredibly fast. That does increase the challenge to some degree, but makes high scores that much more rewarding. You'll need to take advantage of the tilt mechanism, mapped to the left stick by default, in order to prevent perpetual lost balls. When you do lose, however, it's probably your fault; in our four days of play, we only encountered a single game-ending "stuck ball" situation. Outside of that blip, things ran incredibly smoothly.
As fun as aiming for high scores and Trophies is solo, multiplayer is where ZEN Pinball shines. Local play, though simple, is classic fun. Pass the controller around between a group of one to three other friends and aim for the highest score -- again, nothing fancy, but tremendously fun nonetheless. Online play is a bit more complex. Two to four players race toward a set score simultaneously. Players have unlimited balls, but the host can set a ball loss penalty if desired. You're able to see other players' progress in real-time via a bar on the HUD, and communication -- otherwise known as trash talk -- is possible over voice chat or with the PlayStation Eye. When the match concludes, the winner receive 100 points, losers get 10 points, and quitters lose 10 points. These points then add to (or subtracts from) your cumulative online ranking score. We've already played online for hours, and have yet to get bored of besting others with our pinball prowess.
Now that we've discussed the game's contents, let's expand on that first statement -- not only is ZEN Pinball the best pinball game on the PlayStation Network, but it's one of the network's best releases this year.
- 11:36pm EDT - May 17th, 2009
they need a "create a table" feature. Then i would been down
- 11:41pm EDT - May 17th, 2009
yeah i liked the demo. maybe a future purchase. BTW good review, and 1st! LOL I really meant 2nd!
- 11:49pm EDT - May 17th, 2009
Played the demo and it was fun. If it is cheap which I don't remember if it is, I will pick this up.
- 11:58pm EDT - May 17th, 2009
i thought this game was ok, its not as exciting as regular pinball. compared to the pinball game on my laptop, its WEAK
- 12:23am EDT - May 18th, 2009
its fun and pinball is my favorite game.
newf_52 | newf_52
- 2:06am EDT - May 18th, 2009
i thought the demo was pretty terrible...not fun at all....
- 2:34am EDT - May 18th, 2009
I like how it uses the analogue feature of the X button to allow control of how hard you pull to launch the ball.
I do wish they would have given the option to use the sixaxis to kick the table instead of the left stick.
I hope they get the license to reproduce some real pinball tables (perhaps classics like the T2 table or the Twilight Zone table).
- 3:43am EDT - May 18th, 2009
There aren't that many logical uses for Sixaxis as it is. Why the heck wouldn't you make the "shake the table" feature sixaxis...dumb.
- 4:34am EDT - May 18th, 2009
I like it, but i gotta say there should be a create a table feature, because the tables are to small for some reason imo, they need to be bigger with more and better tweaks and feautres.
Even still, all its obvious flaws aside, its worth it for the flashy gloss of the game along with trophie and online player support, aswell as splitscreen support. so PSU's score is justified. 8.5 is right on the mark, not perfect, but not bad to, a fair balance in between.
- 7:27am EDT - May 18th, 2009
Demo was boring, just as pinball is.
- 8:20am EDT - May 18th, 2009
Dont buy it yet as you can pretty much bet your grannys teeth that it will be cheaper if not free in a few weeks, demo was pretty good fun and quite addictive though.
- 8:32am EDT - May 18th, 2009
Remote play would have been great considering that only r1 and l1 are used for the flippers :)
- 10:13am EDT - May 18th, 2009
If they put some real pinball tables into this game i will pick it up no question and if they do I would love to see "White Water" created.
lordAlucard | sympozium_666
- 12:23pm EDT - May 18th, 2009
It should have 10 tables instead of 4 it feels like that ultra boring pinball game on Xbox OH and Zen Pinball WILL only add 3 new tables like that Pinball game on Xbox
- 12:33pm EDT - May 18th, 2009
Haven't found a pinball game that compares to good old 'slam tilt' for the PC. I miss that game. The tables are pretty enough in this game but it lacks the most important feature of any game......FUN. I'm disappointed that I purchased this.
- 3:39pm EDT - May 18th, 2009
This game is really really good. i only have 2 complaints: 1. to obtain extremely high scores is really hard for me. i have seen scores on the leaderboard as high as 24 mill but the highest i got was 3 mill. how the heck do they do that. 2. is that to obtain trophies. they seem a bit conveluded. i am not sure whaqt i have to do or they seem impossible. i have 3 already. 2 were really really hard and 1 i got the first time i played the table. other than that the gamplay is amazing so realistic, and is only topped by the graphics, so fresh so clean.
- 6:24am EDT - May 19th, 2009
I like the demo, think about getting it soon if I can.
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