Zen Pinball 2: Marvel's Avengers - Age of Ultron (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gareth F 05.05.2015

Review for Zen Pinball 2: Marvel

Over the years software publishers have implemented many novel ideas to drum up business and generate interest in new, upcoming video game releases. Some have been a raging success and celebrated almost as much as the product being hawked, whilst others have totally missed the mark and no doubt resulted in lost revenue for all concerned. The few times that an excellent ad campaign for an awful video game succeeds in siphoning money out of consumers' wallets, it's hard not to feel like a minor mugging has just taken place. Celebrity endorsements and scantily clad females can only go so far and probably not the best way to create a buzz about the release of a new pinball table. What would be the best approach, then?

Zen Studios seems to have stumbled upon a novel ruse to promote the latest Marvel table to hit the collection with the simultaneous release of a Hollywood blockbuster movie of the same name - Avengers: Age of Ultron. It's a gutsy move, but one that already seems to be working judging by the media coverage and it's simply heart-warming to see all the normally closeted pinball fans emerging out of the woodwork in droves to descend on the cinemas. With a bit of luck this video game/movie crossover lark might just catch on.

Zen's long running residency in the Marvel universe has already seen a number of the heroes that appear in this package take centre stage in their own dedicated tables, and this is actually the second outing to feature the Avengers as a collective. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye are reunited to oppose the forces of Ultron, which once more will be tackled with a few well aimed, high velocity steel balls. It's very much a 'by the numbers' table with dedicated game modes for each hero, numerous multi-ball features and animated characters interacting with play, all of which have become a staple for the series. Robot attacks are a fairly frequent occurrence and accomplished pin-heads will also get opportunities to activate an aerial fist fight involving Ironman and Ultron, or take aim in a first-person sharpshooting mini-game catering to Hawkeye's skill set.

Screenshot for Zen Pinball 2: Marvel's Avengers - Age of Ultron on PlayStation 4

New to this table is a selectable difficulty setting, which crops up between each ball, with one of three standard options to choose from, ranging from easy to hard. The mildest setting has less stringent activity timers and a lower table pitch, which in theory should result in slower ball speeds. The other end of the difficulty spectrum is met with a higher pitched table, stronger bumper reaction and increased scoring potential. It's definitely an interesting idea, but tough to gauge whether it actually works or not as pinball in itself is half skill, half luck, with the bounce of the ball being a random factor that's fairly ungovernable. Chances are if the ball is about to drop between the flippers on the easy setting, it would be exactly the same story if the tougher option had been selected.

It's hard not to compare this to Zen's first Avengers outing, which was not only superior in design and implementation, but also bundled in with three other tables as part of the Avengers Chronicles Pack, automatically making it feel like quite the bumper package by default. Even though Age of Ultron is well designed, it's unfortunate that it feels slightly empty in comparison, which is not to say that this is a bad table by any stretch, but maintaining a consistently high standard in terms of innovation and fresh ideas with the kind of output Zen Studios manages to sustain has to be a stretch. The time is right, so this release makes perfect sense when the movie is doing such brisk business at the box office, but truth be told, this reviewer is growing slightly weary of Marvel and Star Wars tables and much prefers Zen's unrelated/original themed output.

Screenshot for Zen Pinball 2: Marvel's Avengers - Age of Ultron on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Zen Studios has designed enough tables over the years to know exactly what works and what doesn't, so it seems a shame that this entry to the series feels slightly bereft of features when compared to more recent additions to the collection.

Developer

Zen Studios

Publisher

Zen Studios

Genre

Table Games

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

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

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