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Zen Pinball Review

Developer: Zen Studios Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: May 14, 2009 Available On: PS3

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That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball. While I might not be a pinball wizard I enjoy the classic American game. This time the bumpers, ramps, targets, holes and spinners come to the PlayStation 3 in the form of Zen Pinball for PSN. This comes from Zen Studio, a development house that is known for other games such as Pinball FX for Xbox 360, Flipper Critters for Nintendo DS and Zen Pinball: Rollercoaster for the iPhone.

Zen Pinball is really just another standard offering of pinball with graphics that better conform to next-gen standards. While the game certainly looks polished, it also features a realistic ball physics engine that closely resembles that of an actual game of pinball. I remember playing older games and it would seem that there were a limited number of paths that the ball would take. Not the case with Zen Pinball so much as I can tell. Along with the ball physics are table physics that are spot-on.

As for the tables themselves, there are unfortunately only four of them. While it is true that this is only a $10, it is actually quite expensive considering you will probably get bored of playing the same four tables relatively quickly. I would have liked to see it priced at least half of what they put it at, but nonetheless, Zen Pinball delivers a challenging variety of tables that have unique features and themes.

Tesla is a table where the Russian scientist is prominently featured. Its theme is obviously electricity with sound effects and an Eastern European accent. Shaman is a table with the theme of what look like jungle people complete with a bongo, volcano and golden jewelry. El Dorado is another jungle themed table, but this one focuses more on ancient ruins. Finally the last table is called V12 and themed after automobiles complete with an engine and other auto parts. Each have their own unique soundtrack.

While I am not going to go into what pinball is like (if you don’t know then I would suggest Wikipedia), there are some distinct features that set Zen Pinball apart. Your ball can get saved and spit back onto the table. You only have three balls to play with each time you play and you can unlock multiple balls on the table at the same time to increase your score. Aside from the single-player which features All-Times and Weekly scoreboards, you can also take your game online. Head-to-head bouts as well as daily tournaments offer plenty of play time for those that wish to venture online. Zen Studios is also promising downloadable tables (not sure if they will be free though).

With colorful graphics, interesting tables and multi-player action, Zen Pinball is likely the best pinball game on PS3. Whether you are a fan of pinball or a casual gamer looking for a simple experience, Zen Pinball is a decent investment. The entry fee of $10 might not sound like a lot, but at the same time you only get four different tables to choose from. Thankfully downloadable tables will be available in the future. With Zen Pinball I might not be a pinball wizard, but I can pretend to be.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 7.5
Written by Kyle Write a User Review