Hot off the heels of the summer blockbuster The Avengers, Zen has released a set of new Marvel pinball tables that focus more on teams, as opposed to their previous Marvel tables that focused on individual characters. As with the previous offerings, Zen aims to tell a story through pinball with some great characters, awesome looking tables, and some pretty bad voice acting.
Entitled Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles, we get four new tables that are all centered on Avengers members and based off the recent movie and comic book series. Chronicles includes a machine baed on The Avengers movie and is appropriately named The Avengers. The other three are based on events found in comic books and are titled World War Hulk, The Infinity Gauntlet and Fear Itself.
The Avengers table, as mentioned earlier, is based on events from the movie of the same name. The whole team is represented, and each has their own custom ball representing them. This table requires you to complete specific missions for every ball in order to defeat the trickster, Loki.
In World War Hulk, the titular character has been banished to outer space and is none-to-happy about it. He returns to take revenge on those that made his new home in the stars and that includes the X-Men, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, and Doctor Strange.
The Infinity Gauntlet table has you “playing” as the Silver Surfer, taking on Thanos to recover the six Infinity Gems. Each Gem you collect produces an interesting effect on the table that makes things pretty interesting and, at times, a little more difficult. If you can get past some of these modifiers, you might appreciate it more.
Finally, the Fear Itself table was by far the most intriguing. The Avengers are assembled yet again to stop an Asgardian God named Serpent who has enslaved the world in fear.
As previously seen in the ever-expanding collection in Zen Pinball, Chronicles offers up some amazing looking tables that are essentially set pieces for each story. I find myself at times not paying attention to where my ball is because I’m too busy looking at the artwork. It’s not only because they look gorgeous, but also because there is a lot going on in them. I tried all seven of the different camera angles and found one that shows the whole table. I prefer this angle because I like to see everything that is going on to try and fully appreciate everything Zen has accomplished. The other angles are a nice touch, but they typically follow the ball. This makes it a little hard to actually know where the ball is on the table.
Besides the look of the tables, all the sound effects that make pinball enjoyable also return for this new set. Unfortunately, that includes the bad voice acting. It’s just bad, and it kind of makes me chuckle when I hear it. I’m not 100% positive that it isn’t intentionally campy for the sake of immersion (remember, pinball was HUGE in the ’80s) and cheesiness, but it borders on being annoying. This set features a lot of dialogue, partly because Zen wants to give you a richer narrative experience that you can’t get from watching the movie or reading the comic series source material.
While I think Zen makes amazing pinball tables, and I applaud them for not being afraid to do new and intriguing things, focusing on story isn’t the best fit for pinball. If you’re one that appreciates a narrative spin on your silver ball, you should definitely give these tables a try. They are heavy in story and dialogue. Personally, I am too wrapped up in trying to make sure I don’t lose my ball and try to rack up a high score to even pay attention to any kind of story.
Zen has done it again. They have made some amazing pinball tables that will eat up a huge chunk of my life. They continue to impress me with the amazing look and feel of each, the nice touches like the 3D characters on the table, and some pretty interesting mini-games and concepts. I loved pinball when I was a kid, and Zen has reminded me why. I just don’t understand the inclusion of a deep story for this type of game. It just gets overlooked as these tables require your full attention at all times or your ball will be lost.
If you love pinball, no one does it better than Zen. Although the price is only $10 (800 MS points) for all four tables, that is the only way to get them. If you want just one of the four, you’re out of luck, but that shouldn’t be a problem, because all of these tables are awesome and each has its own special concept that will have you playing for hours and hours to try and see what they all have to offer.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.