There’s usually a problem reviewing pinball games, and that is that these games are what they are- pinball simulators that either play well, or they don’t, and there is nothing more to be said about them. Sure, a bit of discussion can be had on the games’ tables, and whether they are well designed, or too sparse, or maybe too over the top and so extravagant as to hinder gameplay, but by and large, a review of a pinball games is essentially just a quick glance at whether the game simulates the pinball mechanics which is is emulating well enough or not.
Which is kind of a shame, because some pinball games go above and beyond the call to provide the player with a high class, well polished, top notch pinball experience, with some great production values to round the experience. Take the recent batch of pinball games that Zen Studios has created for instance. Offering some great themed courses, a solid pinball experience, some great graphics and nice sound effects, and some great value, all at a very nice price, these pinball games are usually recommended to anyone without any hesitation.
Such is the case with their latest romp, Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virtue. Offering four Marvel themed tables for $10 on PSN or 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live, the price might be a bit too much to swallow, especially if you already have any of the previous Zen Pinball outings, for what essentially amounts to a map pack. However, the new tables are uniformly excellent and well made, and if you are a pinball fan, this is wholeheartedly recommended.
So, what are the tables that are on offer? There’s an X-Men themed one, a Thor one, a Ghost Rider one, and a Moon Knight one. So the full spectrum of the Marvel Universe is covered, from their most popular characters, to some obscure ones that the casual fan probably hasn’t heard of.
Marvel Pinball appeals to two denominations at once: pinball fans, who will probably want the new tables, mostly because they are so well designed, and because they somehow manage to add a new spin to a formula as well established and cemented as pinball for crying out loud. And to Marvel fans as well, because each of the four tables on offer is like a love letter to the Marvel universe that it is based on.
Each table features prominent characters from the property that it is based on, and it attempts to recreate some of the locales, events, battles, and key story arcs all in pinball form. The X-Men table, for instance, has all the old suspects, and it manages to divert you into several missions and side quests too, before you face off against Magneto for the final boss battle. Yes, all of this in pinball form.
There are three other tables, and all of them are as good as the X-Men one. The Thor table takes you to Asgard, and has you face off against some of his all time favorite foes, such as Loki and Ymir; the Ghost Rider table highlights Johnny Blaze’s stuntman abilities; and the Moon Knight table will probably serve as a great introduction to the character, taking you straight to his traditional setting of New York, and squaring you off against some of his best foes.
Really, there isn’t much else to be said about Vengeance and Virtue. It’s a pinball game. You either like it, or you don’t. You’re either gonna get it, or you won’t. The pinball mechanics here remain as good as they were before, and players of the old Zen Pinball games know what I’m talking about.
If you’re a fan of pinball, I recommend that you get it. If you are a fan of any of the previous Zen Pinball games, I recommend you get it. If you are a Marvel fan, I recommend you get it. At $10, it’s not going to set you back by much, and you’re probably going to enjoy it quite a bit.