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Zen Pinball Classics [XBLA] Review

Posted on December 27, 2012 AT 04:39pm

Zen Studios is at it again with another round of tables for their pinball game, Pinball FX 2. With tables from hit franchises such as Plants Vs. Zombies and numerous tables from the Marvel Comics universe, this one free XBLA game has a lot going for it. In what is likely a bout of nostalgia, Zen has released their Zen Classics set of tables from original Zen Studios designs, a group of four classic tables with new layouts and adventures for pinball fans.

The four tables: Tesla, V12,  Shaman and Eldorado are very different from one another, each with their own themes and layouts. Secondary flippers are switched up, different props and tools are thrown in throughout the levels that tie-in to the theme, and overall, each table is a game all its own. Each of them looks great though, with the authentic pinball feel that fans of the game, which has been out for over two years, have come to know and love.

The first table, Tesla, features the famed scientist and a bunch of electricity-based traps and events that are triggered throughout the table. With the figure of the man himself gracing the table, this one is probably the highlight of the pack given its ease of use and varied traps. The second table, V12, is car-based, and is probably the most difficult of the four. There aren’t as many events that trigger that give much notice, and overall, the feel, while authentic, isn’t all that gratifying. It’s fun, but its look is pretty standard and doesn’t pop like the others.

Shaman is a fun, voodoo-based map with plenty of tricks and traps that are all pretty entertaining. It’s not as much fun as Tesla, but it’s a wonderful table, with a truly unique feel. The final table, Eldorado, is an explorer themed table, with likely the most to do out of the set. There’s totem poles to hit, boulders to escape, and plenty of things to keep a player going throughout the course of their playing time. Eldorado is another fun map, but it’s also one of the most difficult, with the ball rolling out of reach more often than any of the other tables.

Summary: Zen Studios continues to prove that they know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to making new and exciting table for their pinball platform. This classic set has four great tables, all of them with their own unique looks and feels. While some are more entertaining than others, all of them are fun and challenging, though not quite as robust as some of their licensed tables, such as Marvel’s Civil War, or the aforementioned PvZ table. Well worth the price of the download for several more terrific tables, however.

The Good: Unique Tables, Responsive Controls

The Bad: V12 Table Not Up To Level Of Others

The Ugly: N/A

Score: 8.5


Russ Pirozek, known as "Noobcrawler" to some, is a gamer and comic book fan who sometimes gets around to writing for He's also awesome. If someone looked up "awesome" in the dictionary, his picture wouldn't be there, but that's because he's too busy being awesome to pose for a photo.

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