REVIEW – Zen Pinball 2: The Walking Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadpool, & Doctor Strange

Game review by Steve Cullum.

Zen Pinball 2 Wii U Key Art
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Game – Zen Pinball 2 – Marvel and The Walking Dead tables (Wii U)
ESRB – E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older
MSRP – $2.99 US each
Obtained – eShop download code via Zen Studios

While the days of going to your local arcade and playing physical pinball tables all evening is, unfortunately, something that does not happen much anymore, Zen Studios is doing its best to keep pinball alive in digital form. Playing pinball on a screen has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Zen Pinball 2 is one of the best versions. Recently, they released four more tables – The Walking Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadpool, and Doctor Strange – and I got a chance to play them all.

Let’s get into a bit more in detail on each table.

The Walking Dead

Zombies! Everywhere you look, there are zombies in today’s movies, television, books, and games. The Walking Dead pinball table is based on the popular AMC show, which was based on the popular comic book series. The spot-on design of this table is exactly what you would expect from the collaboration of Zen Studios and Telltale Games. Another area this table shines is in its choice-driven gameplay, where players will be asked who should live or die, solve problems, hunt for food and supplies, acquire tools, and lead the group across each episode from the show’s first season. Of course, for new players, this might be tough to follow, but experienced players should be able to advance quite far and rack up their score.

The Walking Dead: Zen Studios, Telltale Games, Robert Kirkman and Skybound have worked together on each detail of the table design, sharing ideas and fusing their passion to bring the story and choice-driven gameplay of The Walking Dead: Season One journey to the playfield. Touring locations from Clementine’s treehouse and Everett’s pharmacy in Macon, all the way down the tracks to the walker-infested streets of Savannah, players will find an authentic tour of Season One capturing the peril and drama of Lee and Clementine’s story.
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The Walking Dead: Zen Studios, Telltale Games, Robert Kirkman and Skybound have worked together on each detail of the table design, sharing ideas and fusing their passion to bring the story and choice-driven gameplay of The Walking Dead: Season One journey to the playfield. Touring locations from Clementine’s treehouse and Everett’s pharmacy in Macon, all the way down the tracks to the walker-infested streets of Savannah, players will find an authentic tour of Season One capturing the peril and drama of Lee and Clementine’s story.


 
Marvel: Guardians of the Galaxy

As soon as you start up the Guardians table, you will be hit with a multi-ball frenzy. This is to mimic their escape from prison. In fact, the game follows the new Guardians movie in its plot, which is pretty cool and should appeal to fans of the film. There is a lot happening on the table, with its multiple flippers, ramps, and other items. It definitely keeps you in the game, and you often feel like you are finding something new. Guardians of the Galaxy clearly makes for an exciting and fun game of pinball.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy pinball brings all five members of the galaxy’s greatest crew of warriors to their pinball universe as they combat Ronan the Accuser. Beginning with a four-ball multiball as players escape the Kyln, the Guardians of the Galaxy pinball table starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up. The table showcases the individual strengths of each member of the Guardians of the Galaxy team, including Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Groot, and the group’s wild card, Rocket Raccoon, as well as landmark battles from the comics and film, including fights against Yondu and the Ravagers, Nebula, and Ronan himself.
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Guardians of the Galaxy: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy pinball brings all five members of the galaxy’s greatest crew of warriors to their pinball universe as they combat Ronan the Accuser. Beginning with a four-ball multiball as players escape the Kyln, the Guardians of the Galaxy pinball table starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up. The table showcases the individual strengths of each member of the Guardians of the Galaxy team, including Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Groot, and the group’s wild card, Rocket Raccoon, as well as landmark battles from the comics and film, including fights against Yondu and the Ravagers, Nebula, and Ronan himself.


 
Marvel: Deadpool

One of the most well-known things about Deadpool is that he often breaks the “fourth-wall,” meaning that he interacts with the reader. In this case, though, he interacts with the gamer. There is not much of a plot to this one, but there are several things happening on the table. Many of them involve Deadpool hopping around and saying things to you. He comments on your play, the game’s design, and even refers to Zen Studios. Clearly, the best things about the Deadpool table is are the fun that is happening on the table and in the monologues.

Deadpool: Featuring the supreme voice talents of the one and only Nolan North as Marvel’s notorious character, Deadpool, this table captures the acerbic, fourth wall-crushing attitude of the character as well as feature supporting characters from his universe, including Blind Al, Weasel, and Lil’ Deadpool.  Deadpool’s pinball debut features a dynamic table that will switch at his whim, quick-time events, a “Blind Mode” courtesy of Blind Al in which only the ball, flippers and target lanes are visible, and even a mode where the player can help Deadpool take down some of his most nefarious enemies: raging comic book fans!
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Deadpool: Featuring the supreme voice talents of the one and only Nolan North as Marvel’s notorious character, Deadpool, this table captures the acerbic, fourth wall-crushing attitude of the character as well as feature supporting characters from his universe, including Blind Al, Weasel, and Lil’ Deadpool. Deadpool’s pinball debut features a dynamic table that will switch at his whim, quick-time events, a “Blind Mode” courtesy of Blind Al in which only the ball, flippers and target lanes are visible, and even a mode where the player can help Deadpool take down some of his most nefarious enemies: raging comic book fans!


 
Marvel: Doctor Strange

In terms of basic structure, this is the most simple of all the tables. It has a few ramps, and there is essentially nothing in the middle of the table. It also appears smaller than the average pinball table, which will cause you to think on your feet much more. On top of that, the ball often disappears and reappears in other locations, based on the special features of this table. It is also hard to really tell what is happening. I will, however, say this might be partially true due to my limited knowledge of Doctor Strange. I will say that while I did not like this table in the beginning, it is somewhat growing on me.

Doctor Strange: Adapted from 50 years of Marvel’s Doctor Strange comic books, the greatest powers of the occult, both from our own world and the darkest dimensions in existence, are combining their forces to take over Earth. And only one man can stop them — Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme! With the help of the beautiful Clea and his faithful servant Wong, the Master of the Mystic Arts faces his greatest challenge ever in Doctor Strange pinball.
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Doctor Strange: Adapted from 50 years of Marvel’s Doctor Strange comic books, the greatest powers of the occult, both from our own world and the darkest dimensions in existence, are combining their forces to take over Earth. And only one man can stop them — Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme! With the help of the beautiful Clea and his faithful servant Wong, the Master of the Mystic Arts faces his greatest challenge ever in Doctor Strange pinball.


 
Simply put, some tables are better than others. However, much of this is based on preference, too. In general, though, I find most modern pinball tables a bit frustrating because of the many times I lose my ball in the far left or right slots. Yes, you can simulate shaking the table, but it hardly ever helps, and you also risk getting a Tilt. Other than that, the design of all four tables is fun and creative. They really fit the theme well, including the music and sound effects. If you’re a fan of Marvel or The Walking Dead, you should at least download the free trial versions of each table.

FINAL SCORES:

The Walking Dead – 8.5 out of 10
Guardians of the Galaxy – 8 out of 10
Deadpool – 7 out of 10
Doctor Strange – 6 out of 10

ABOUT ZEN PINBALL 2:

Zen Pinball 2, developed by Zen Studios, is available for free on the Nintendo eShop for Wii U. There are several tables you can download, including the four mentioned above. If you do not want to pay for them, you can also download a trial of each table that allows you to play for a few minutes.

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About the author:

Steve has been a Nintendo fan since the NES. He currently owns a NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, GameBoy, DS, DSi, 3DS, and 3DS XL. His favorite types of games are action platformers and multiplayer “party” games. Overall, he loves a game that is pure fun and pulls him in for hours, and if that can be shared with friends, it is even better.

Steve has been blogging for NintendoFuse since April 2008. He started off as an avid reader, and eventually was asked to jump on the team. Currently, he enjoys writing game reviews and sharing breaking news with the fans and readers. You will also find him on the forums as an admin.

Steve – who has written posts on NintendoFuse.


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