Overall this is another fantastic outing for Zen Studios that any fan of Pinball will appreciate.
Marvel Pinball is the second pinball offering on the PS3 from Zen Studios. Once again Zen shows that they know what they are doing when it comes to pinball. This version comes with four tables to start, each based off of a different character from the Marvel Universe: Wolverine, Spider-man, Iron Man, and Blade.
As with Zen Pinball, Zen studios have put their pinball knowledge to good use once again offering a great feeling pinball experience. The pinball physics are superb and act as how you would expect them to on a real table. Each of the four tables offers a multitude of ramps, orbits and bumpers that you are accustomed to but are mixed with special effects that would probably be impossible to do on a real table. Things like seeing Wolverine’s claws go through the back of the table, Mandarin and Iron man duking it out during a mission, or Hannibal King shooting a ball at a target are pretty cool effects and really add to the enjoyment of the game. Each table is also chalked full of references to characters and locations from the Marvel Universe that is sure to please fans
All of the games controls are customizable but the default of using R1and L1 for the flippers and the X button as the pressure sensitive plunger works quite well. The only thing you might want to change is the table nudge from the SixAxis to one of the sticks or the directional pad to have it a bit more accurate. You also have an option of using a slow motion button to slow things down a bit to help you learn some of the more difficult shots, though this will disable trophies and scores if used.
Each of the tables offers multiple missions for you to complete to rack up points and to take on each tables villains. With so many different triggers for the missions and other special things like multiball the tables can be a bit overwhelming when you first play them. Thankfully the game includes a full rule book for each table that can help you learn all the table specific rules. Though it would have been nice if diagrams where also used as some of the explanations can be a bit ambiguous if you are not already used to the table. You can play each table by yourself or multiplayer through local hotseat or online. In local you can play up to four players and pass the controller after a ball is lost. In online up to four players play at the same time trying to reach a target score the fastest with unlimited number of balls but a score penalty for each ball that is lost. The game also supports Tournaments, but these are only every few months for a limited time, so I was unable to see how they worked. It would be nice if these were held more often.
The game has pretty extensive leaderboard support offering local, all time, weekly, and multiplayer for each table and also a Team Force and Hero Score leaderboard. Hero Score is like an overall score taking your best score from each table plus your best tournament score rounded down to the nearest million. Your Team Force is you Hero Score plus the Hero Score of people on your friends list multiplied by how many tables you have played. While playing a table you will get notified how close you are to beating you friends score or achieving a new personal best, which really pushes the competition to get the best scores and get the gold medal on each table for getting the highest score out of all your friends.
As an added bonus you can also access the Operators menu for each table, which allows you do things like changing table settings (though changing anything besides extra adjustments will disable trophies and high scores), do system checks of the tables lights and sounds, and see table statistics like how many times a ball was lost or how many times multiball was activated. While you might not fool around with the Operators menu much, it’s a nice bonus and really shows that Zen is trying to offer an authentic experience as possible.
With only four different tables to play on things can run a bit stale after extended playtimes. But multiple times while writing this review I would load up the game to check on a certain feature and end up playing for 15-20 minutes, just saying to myself one more game. There are also some other tables which can be purchased via DLC to help spice things up. Really the main positive thing you can say about Marvel Pinball is that it can suck you in for those short bursts of play like a real pinball machine can, trying to obtain that new high score. Overall this is another fantastic outing for Zen Studios that any fan of Pinball will appreciate.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
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Release Date:December 2010
Players:1-4 (Local OR Online)