Zen Pinball 2: Marvel's Avengers - Age of Ultron (Wii U) Review

By Albert Lichi 27.06.2015

Review for Zen Pinball 2: Marvel

Zen Studios is no stranger to tie-ins with their pinball games. The developer has pretty much established itself as the go-to team for making licensed digital pinball games thanks to their very believable physics and realistic pinball machine mechanics that emulate the real deal. With the massively popular Avengers: Age of Ultron film that came out in summer of 2015, it was only natural that Zen Studios would be contracted to deliver the DLC to their Zen Pinball 2 app on Wii U. Now that it is available, is the Age of Ultron add-on for Zen Pinball 2 everything an Avengers fan or pinball enthusiast ever hoped for? After a take on the PS4 version, Cubed3 gives the low-down on Zen Pinball 2: Age of Ultron for Nintendo's home console.

Anyone who has played a coin-op pinball machine will get the basics of Zen Pinball 2: Age of Ultron fairly quickly. Core mechanics are based on the game's life-like ball physics and how it can be bounced around using the two flippers controlled by the left and right shoulder buttons. The trick is to get the ball bearings into specific channels or bounce points to rank a high score. What this version does a little different from other pinball games to make use of the Avengers namesake is incorporate a semi-mission based structure to the gameplay and flow of events. Typically, this requires getting a ball to a specific point in the cabinet and hoping that it strikes the right bumper. For added realism, the ability to "tilt" the machine is viable, so it is possible to slightly cheat. Tilting is always discouraged, so to prevent it from being abused there is a countermeasure "built" into the machine that will seize up the flippers should the machine get tilted too much.

Anyone who is even a casual follower of the Marvel movies will notice that the sound-alikes Zen Studios acquired for the Age of Ultron table sound absolutely nothing like their film counterparts. With sound bites not being used from the film, it seems like a missed opportunity considering that using audio from films was a common practice for movie tie-in pinball machines. Even the 3D models that stand around on the cabinet's surface like action figures brought to life hardly resemble any of the actors. Despite these quibbles, the 3D models are well animated and do have a solid weight to them. It is also pretty amusing to initiate the next sequences and getting these tiny actors to act out sequences in their own way. The cabinet itself is a pretty standard pinball machine cabinet with all the expected trimmings anyone would expect, but with that Zen Studios flair. Ironman's gauntlet being used to launch the steal balls is executed in a way no real pinball machine could, and thankfully this machine will never go out of order and need new parts.

Screenshot for Zen Pinball 2: Marvel's Avengers - Age of Ultron on Wii U

Difficulty wise, Zen Pinball 2: Age of Ultron can be pretty tough. Right from the start the game has two balls on the table, and for first timers it can be slightly jarring. Even when managing a single ball, getting it where it's needed can be a test of patience and can devolve into boredom. The final level involves upwards to four balls slinging around on the cabinet, and the game becomes so frantic, it is admirable. Seeing the machine go berserk from all the bumpers being struck and balls crashing is pretty satisfying and a peaceful sight. Even despite all this, Age of Ultron is still a pretty standard pinball game in the Zen Studios' catalogue.

For about three dollars, this is probably worth it for a young Avengers fan, though it may wear thin on the tyke after a while. Realistic ball physics and video game visual flourishes just aren't enough to make it distinct from other pinball games. The medium is not used to its full potential, and lazy use of the Avengers will leave most unimpressed or wanting. Zen Pinball 2: Age of Ultron aims low and hits the mark on the bullseye. The game's core mechanics feel quite polished and the frame rate never hitches once. Maybe Avengers just isn't an interesting enough property to make a compelling pinball game out of, since Zen Studios is obviously a competent developer with much more interesting pinball games for their "Zen" line.

Screenshot for Zen Pinball 2: Marvel's Avengers - Age of Ultron on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Zen Studios is widely considered the leader in pinball sim games, but not for Zen Pinball 2: Age of Ultron. While it is a ho-hum entry in the Zen Pinball oeuvre, this is still worth the low price, since the game is competent and isn't insulting. It is, however, unimaginative and kind of cheap considering the tie-in property it is attached to.

Developer

Zen Studios

Publisher

Zen Studios

Genre

Table Games

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

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   

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