Zen Pinball 2: Iron & Steel Pack (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gareth F 04.03.2015

Review for Zen Pinball 2: Iron & Steel Pack on PlayStation 4

Pinball fans aren't sophisticated folk and don't really need much convincing when it comes to throwing down a bit of cash for a few new tables to play on. With that said, it's common knowledge in the gaming industry that the most important aspect of releasing DLC is giving it a snappy name, something that will make the product in question stand out from all the other competing items on the marketplace vying for the lucrative gaming dollar. This is a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed by Zen Studios, who knows that giving a table pack the right name not only makes pinball sound cool, dangerous and desirable, but could potentially draw in the unfortunate few yet to discover the simple joys of firing balls at high speed towards flashing targets. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado... Zen Studios' latest cool, dangerous and desirable table pack for Zen Pinball 2: Iron & Steel.

While the name Iron & Steel sounds like a long lost Judas Priest album, it also conjures up imagery of industrial steel mills manned by big, burly, string vest wearing guys sweating over a blast furnace, with huge bubbling vats of molten hot ore stretching out as far as the eye can see - the kind of location that any sane person would head to if being pursued by a malfunctioning Terminator. It's an excellent premise for a pinball table, and to the best of this reviewer's knowledge it's yet to be done, but Zen has already dismissed that idea altogether and has instead opted for a pair of pinball tables inspired by cowboys (Wild West Rampage) and the Medieval days of yore (Castlestorm).

Attentive pin-heads will be aware that Zen Studios' recent output has mainly consisted of high profile licenses covering the likes of Star Wars, Marvel, South Park and The Walking Dead, amongst others, so it's surprising to learn that the Iron & Steel pack features Zen's first two non-licensed tables in three years. Much like the Walking Dead table that preceded this pack, Zen has blurred the edges somewhat by removing the illusion of a play area set within the confines of a table, which gives the impression of a playfield that has been lowered into an existing environment - an illusion that does a great job of making the playfield seem larger and actually adds to the immersion.

Screenshot for Zen Pinball 2: Iron & Steel Pack on PlayStation 4

The main strength of Zen Pinball 2 is its modular format, which allows players to cherry pick individual tables and cultivate a personal collection accessible through the central hub. This, of course, guarantees that the whole experience is underpinned by a robust set of options as standard, meaning that all the social features, operator menus, multiplayer and high score tables are proven and work as expected. With that said, then... is the Iron & Steel pack a worthy addition to the collection?

First up is 'Iron,' which likely refers to the armour worn by the noble Sir Gareth in Castlestorm, a table based on Zen's very own action/tower defence title set in fraught times for those investing in a stone fortress during the Medieval property boom. Once again, the pesky Vikings led by chief Ramhorn are proving to be a nuisance, and given Sir Gareth's previous experience defending castles, there's no man better qualified to tackle the Nordic scourge. As a direct contrast to the limitations imposed on emulating real life, physical pinball tables, Zen remains unfettered by convention, which comes hand in hand with the freedom to add animated characters that will interact with the ball, enhance features and generally bring the tables to life. That would certainly explain the huge fire-breathing dragon that circles the table during play, as well as the aforementioned Vikings that regularly advance down the playfield towards the flippers. Nothing that a well aimed steel ball to the sternum won't put a stop to.

Rounding off the package nicely is Wild West Rampage, the 'Steel' of the title, likely referring to the railroad track running down the left hand side of the play field, complete with steam powered engine. The story follows Cindy, a female bounty hunter, who arrives in the lawless town of Rackton Point just in time to interfere with the plans of the corrupt Sheriff Evans, who has his own idea of law enforcement. It's a ramp heavy table complete with a swing door saloon at the end of the street and an undertaker's to the right, which, given the frequency of gunfights the player gets drawn into, is making good bank from Cindy's arrival. Skilled players will get to flip the ball on the back of a moving train and assist Cindy in shooting dynamite out of the air callously tossed in her direction by Sheriff Evans, a man who clearly hasn't had the relevant health and safety training. Zen has really gone to town with the detail on this table, from the sheriff badge spinner all the way to the six-shooter and wagon wheel bumpers.

Screenshot for Zen Pinball 2: Iron & Steel Pack on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Zen Studios can do no wrong and certainly knows a thing or two about constructing a decent pinball table. Iron & Steel is yet another winner to add to the collection and enjoy.

Developer

Zen Studios

Publisher

Zen Studios

Genre

Table Games

Players

1

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

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
jesusraz, justin-p, lukezeppo, mikem52

There are 4 members online at the moment.