Marvel Pinball

Pinball Tables Assemble!

Marvel Pinball brings some new heroes into the fold with the Avengers Chronicles
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: June 20, 2012
Every time we think we've had enough pinball, Zen Studios pulls us back in. Once again they release a four-pack of new tables for Marvel Pinball. It's a summer blockbuster!


Avengers Chronicles adds four new tables to bring the total available to FOURTEEN (all of which will be integrated into Zen Pinball 2 when it comes out next month) which is a heck of a lot flippy action! How do these new tables stack up to the existing ones? Well before we get into that…

This was the first time I REALLY explored the "Table Settings" options in this series. HOLY COW! While messing with these settings disables the online leaderboards, if you are just looking for some casual fun delve deep into the setting where you can change everything from the color of the dot matrix display to the tilt of the playfield to the "bounce" of the bumpers. You can make the table easier, harder, more likely to give extra balls, the list goes on and on and on. There are even loads of detailed statistics for every table telling you how many times you activated each mode, how many times you hit a certain bumper, and dozens upon dozens of other stuff.

As for these new tables, the first thing you'll notice is that this is the furthest Zen has gone from "traditional" tables. They've never been slaves to reality, but a couple of the new tables couldn't exist in our universe. That isn't to say that they are bad, but after recently playing the recreations of classic tables in Pinball Arcade you can see the stark contrast. So what do the new tables have to offer?

The Avengers - The Avengers attempts to tell the story of this year's film through the magic of pinball. The layout is reminiscent of the original Iron Man table, with a wall of ramps and loops at the top of the field and wide-open space in the middle. There is a real interesting mechanic where you select which ball you want to launch from among six heroes, and each ball grants a different power like higher scoring bumpers, longer ball save times or faster multipliers. Each ball is colored like the uniform of the hero and the whole thing adds another layer of strategy to your game.

World War Hulk - Another table that pushes the boundaries of reality, Hulk is a fun table that centers around rollovers and spelling out words by lighting them up. The biggest drawback is that the table is VERY yellow and it is quite easy to lose the ball in the garish playfield. It also features a Zen trademark minigame that shifts the focus to a tiny playfield reminiscent of those cardboard and plastic pinball machines that you got at the grocery store when you were a kid (or at least when I was a kid… you kids today had Tamagotchis or something at the store).

The Infinity Gauntlet - I have to admit, I have no idea who the grey skrull-like guy who is the focus of this table is. I assume since the Silver Surfer and Firelord are also featured on the table, it has something to do with Galactus. The table is pretty austere for this collection, centering on the eponymous gauntlet at the top of the playfield. Action is actually pretty slow, but every once in a while a huge stone word GOD comes crashing down into the center of the table to spice things up.

Fear Itself - Centered around the exploits of Thor and other Asgardians, this is another simple, slower table that features a pretty unique loop UNDER the main flippers (sort of seen before in the original Spiderman table, but taken to a new level here) and a very Norse feel to the whole shebang. There is even a Discs of Tron-styled minigame you can unlock. Maybe it's just me, but this was the lowest scoring table for me in the entire collection to date. It's TOUGH to break 10 million on this baby.

Truth be told, this is probably the weakest collection of tables Zen has rolled out in quite some time, but that speaks more to the quality they've been churning out up until now. For fans of pinball, this is absolutely worth picking up to broaden your already robust collection. Once Zen Pinball 2 rolls out, and these tables are integrated with the dozen or so tables from Zen Pinball 1 it'll truly be an epic collection! Fans of the more obscure parts of the Marvel roster will appreciate some of the references too. Nuff said!
The Verdict
7.5

The tables might not live up to some of the past ones, but that doesn't mean these aren't still fun. All four tables bring something different to the... ahem... table, and the collection bolsters the already impressive value of Marvel Pinball

8.5Graphics:

Still bold, still beautiful! Painstakingly detailed playfields that run quite smooth and look hand drawn never get old.

8.0Sound:

It sounds like the real thing! Plus the super heroes have the perfectly campy voices you would want them to have. The music is a little lackluster though.

7.5Control:

There has always felt like there is a slight bit of lag in between the time you press the buttons and when the flipper flips, just enough to be a nagging little gnat buzzing around your head, but not enough to ruin the game.

7.5Gameplay:

It's pinball! These tables don't seem to have the same creative juice the original tables did, but they still do a neat job of telling a story, not something you see in your average pinball game.