Zen Pinball 2: Venom (PlayStation 4) Review

By Luna Eriksson 27.12.2014 2

Review for Zen Pinball 2: Venom on PlayStation 4

Nothing takes people back to the past and the age of the arcades - times long lost - than a good pinball table, and this is a feeling Zen Studio has capitalised on for a very long with its digital pinball machines. Zen Pinball 2: Venom is the newest addition to the family of table releases. Pegged as a pinball title of great quality and one that succeeds better than most with capturing the feel of a real life 3D pinball table, will Zen Pinball 2: Venom be a hit or miss in reality?

There was a time when gaming was simpler, when beating high scores was the focus - a time before complex storylines and big multiplayer battles, and a time when the bloody fights took place on the high score tables at the local arcade. Welcome back to the 20th Century.

Well, not exactly. There are several differences between the Zen Pinball 2 tables, and with it Zen Pinball 2: Venom, than in the 20th Century. Don't worry, they are good ones. The best thing about digital pinball tables are the prices. For a cheap penny or so there is 24/7 access granted when previously real tables cost a lot of money and the fees to play at the local arcade quickly ate up whatever change accessible. Also, there is a global high score list here to conquer, in addition to the local one.

Screenshot for Zen Pinball 2: Venom on PlayStation 4

What about the table itself, though? Zen Pinball 2: Venom is based on Spider-Man vs. Venom, a theme it holds very dear, and it comes with several styles of gameplay mechanic and bonus games, as might be expected from a great digital pinball table. To begin with, the main table is separated into two parts, one upper and one lower. The upper is considered a "bonus zone" where it is possible to quickly rack up good score and earn a form of ball safety by getting it into a specific hole and, therefore, protect it if it falls down, a very great mechanic to keep the game going and the scores increasing. The lower is where the main game mostly takes place.

Specific places of interest on the lower table include, but not limited to, a SUIT sign that the player removes the letters from by hitting the lighted letters, revealing holes into which balls can be stored in a similar but different way than in the upper field. The goal here is to store three balls and activate black suit mode. When in black suit mode, Spider-Man dons his black suit to fight Venom, and here three balls are in action at the same time, making it possible to gain very high scores quickly.

The second place of interest is the saucer that can be reached through a halfpipe on the right side of the screen. When hitting it, one of several things might occur, the most common being that one of the letters on the CARNAGE meter lights up, but if the bumper was recently hit by either failing to reach the saucer or by shooting the ball up there, an event starts that makes it possible to complete a mission to rack up a whole lot of points.

Screenshot for Zen Pinball 2: Venom on PlayStation 4

When the CARNAGE meter is filled by lighting up all seven letters, Carnage himself breaks loose and traps the ball in his jail. While here, the goal is to light up all the letters in the words JAIL BREAK and then escape to gain a score multiplier and a lot of extra points. This is done by hitting the letters spread out all over the stage and then escaping through the pipe.

All of these mechanics create a very lively and complex pinball table that takes a while to learn the correct strategy to get higher points at the same time as it demands gamers to aim to get good bonuses, keeping it balanced. With all the bonuses it is easy to start scoring more and makes the table very addictive, and soon enough it becomes hard to shake that "just one last time" feeling, with hours literally flying by. Zen Pinball 2: Venom really captures the addictive feel that a great arcade pinball machine should have.

Screenshot for Zen Pinball 2: Venom on PlayStation 4

The design of the table itself is also beautiful, and captures the Spider-Man vs. Venom feel, especially in the top-left corner where the legendary clock tower is, as well as in the top-right where there is a flame machine. Needless to say, a lot of points can be gained by having Venom there and hitting these to inflict major damage on the Symbiote. The lights also give an extremely arcade pinball feel that is essential for a great Zen Pinball 2 table.

A minor concern is that it is too easy to gain extra balls by storing them in the upper field, which can make it too easy to survive for too long with one ball as that does not count as dying. This can be really problematic if playing hot seat multiplayer as the time between each player's turn might seem too long. It is not a big matter, but it is something to keep in mind if playing hot seat.

Overall, Zen Pinball 2: Venom is a very fun, addictive and action-filled pinball table that really captures the spirit of what it is based upon. The fight between Spider-Man and Venom is very well reflected in the mechanics of this table and it is a table that is strongly recommended for everyone who either likes Spiderman, pinball or both.

Screenshot for Zen Pinball 2: Venom on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

As one of the better Zen Pinball 2 tables Venom succeeds in capturing the old school feel, whilst at the same time adding a lot of exciting and creative elements that really enhance the theme. The mix of different counters to keep excitement levels up, along with a skill demanding system, creates an extremely enjoyable pinball experience that fans of the genre should not miss. At $2.99 it is affordable and extremely worthy of the price, considering the quality given.

Developer

Zen Studios

Publisher

Zen Studios

Genre

Table Games

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I hope this comes to Wii U, Venom is my favorite Marvel Super Villain.

It is not wise to speak on subjects you do not know all facts about, nor is it smart to judge a game based on looks alone. PSN: Nintendo_Gamer 3DS: 4296-3029-7422

Indeed. This is a great table and should really be out on as many systems as possible.

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

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