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Pinball FX3: The Walking Dead (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 17.02.2018

Review for Pinball FX3: The Walking Dead on Nintendo Switch

Telltale Games is arguably the king of modern adventure games, of the point-and-click nature, of course, while Zen Studios is arguably also the king of modern virtual pinball. That both should be destined to meet someday and get along together should, therefore, not come as a massive surprise and this happened way back in 2014. By that point, the critically and commercially successful videogame adapted from, or rather inspired by, the comic book series (not so much the TV series) was already two-years-old and had received too many awards to count. That it should be adapted to pinball came as a surprise, but also made all the sense in the world, considering how successful the original was. The only licensed pinball table currently on Pinball FX3 for Nintendo Switch that actually was already available before for a Nintendo system, the Wii U in this case, is now back on Nintendo's hybrid system, and while everyone already knows nothing has changed in-depth, it is nevertheless time to look at it again.

It comes as no surprise that, being based on Telltale's game and plot, The Walking Dead pinball table centres on the events surrounding Lee Everett and Clementine, as Lee is on his way to prison for killing a senator his wife had an affair with when the zombie outbreak occurs and, after a car crash, he happens upon Clementine who is surviving on her own in her tree house, not knowing where her parents currently are. The events displayed, related in the original five episodes of the first season, follow these two protagonists and the group of survivors they stick with for much of the season, although the latter group is not featured prominently in the pinball table.

Screenshot for Pinball FX3: The Walking Dead on Nintendo Switch

Naturally, a pinball table does not tell a story as well as an adventure game/visual novel could ever do and understanding the story completely would still require someone to play the source material but, assuming that the player has already done so and picked up the pinball table for that very reason, seeing the events of the first season play out again through the player's actions on the pinball table is awesome indeed. As was the case in the original, and a defining feature especially in the first season, choosing who to help in dangerous situations will affect the outcome of the events and who survives in the end. The missions that can be started by hitting into a zombie coming out of a sewer drainage enough times to clear the way and sink the ball in that makeshift orbit all follow one of the five episodes of the season and, after accomplishing different objectives that were originally in the Telltale's rendition, the same choices have to be made as in the original game, such as choosing to save Carley or Doug, knowing that only one of the two can remain for the rest of the missions after this choice was made.

Screenshot for Pinball FX3: The Walking Dead on Nintendo Switch

Something not present in the original, however, is a small mini-game where the player has to look through the scope of a sniper rifle and take down zombie targets that appear at windows in a derelict neighbourhood. Other than that, however, it is still a fairly simple pinball rendition with the table displaying many of the locales encountered in season one, from the streets of Macon and Savannah, to the St. John's Dairy. The table itself is not too complicated to understand but playing through each of the smaller enclosed spaces dotted around the field, in which the table is a lot harder to keep from falling back into the main table, is easier said than done, although required to keep the combos rolling. It is a medium difficulty table where scoring high is only moderately hard to accomplish, which kind of makes sense within Zen Studios' logic of making tables easier or harder to score on based on the target audience, and the audience for the original game is quite varied indeed, the franchise itself being so mainstream and Telltale's game being so beloved by the most hardcore of audiences.

Screenshot for Pinball FX3: The Walking Dead on Nintendo Switch

Depending on the events, night can fall on the pinball table and it is in these moments that the improved game engine shines in every sense of the term as light sources cast their light onto the play field and shadows get cast accordingly, so this is mostly where changes from previous versions of the same table can be witnessed: in the aesthetic presentation. Of course, new to this is the usual bonus and upgrades system that is at the core of Pinball FX3 but that goes mostly without saying since every table has these features built in as they are more part of the engine rather than of the tables themselves.

Screenshot for Pinball FX3: The Walking Dead on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Getting The Walking Dead Pinball table for anyone's Pinball FX3 collection is a fairly easy choice to make. It is already, to begin with, a beloved franchise and its original adventure game rendition is considered by and large to be one of the finest representatives of the genre, and this pinball adaptation lives up to the expectations of the fans of both pinball and the original title. Rendering an adventure in pinball form is something that can't really be expected to play identically to the original, but it is surprisingly faithful, and that is as much of a commendable effort now as it was over three years ago when it first graced consoles. It is also a standalone table, so no other tables come attached, so it is maybe an even easier choice to make whether to pick it up or not.

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 Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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