Angry Birds Action! Review

Angry Birds Action! Review

May 29, 2016

If one mobile gaming developer can claim to have changed the landscape, it’s probably Rovio. Angry Birds helped usher in a new type of game, and a new monetization system to boot.

And it isn’t over yet. Say hello to Angry Birds Action!

As to be expected, the name (aim?) of the game is (still) recovering eggs, taking on baddies and doing other things which incensed avian creatures do when trapped in a recurrent pinball nightmare.aba3

Artistically, franchise savants should feel comfortable, what with the glossy, in-your-face graphics that catch the eye and define the very first Angry Birds way back when. There is a definite tropical feel to the game, and the use of color that manages to feel natural and whimsical at the same time. The sound is a good fit, with plenty of poppy effects. The game seems set to live or die by its animations, and it mostly lives.

The projectiles are quite familiar, as they are from the usual stable of creatures.

The gameplay boils down to pinball action, nothing is more suited as a control mechanism than the iconic pull and release motion that defines the original game. The game is consumed in portrait; in the playing area, there are eggs that are freed by contact, plus other obstacles and “bumpers” to keep things interesting. As noted, one drags the bird, sets the direction using a virtual arrow system, and then releases the bird to do mayhem.

The bird typically bounces around, doing its thing until it loses momentum; if all the eggs weren’t released, one gets to go again, up to the amount of times allowed. Yes, the idea is to release all the eggs with the fewest tries.

Finishing successfully opens the next level, and the 3-star system is in full effect. The game gets more challenging as one goes on. One interesting aspect are “birdcodes,” which allow one to access extra content via AB paraphernalia and even the upcoming movie.

All in all, it’s different, but familiar. It does have an energy requirement, but manages to be interesting, especially in spurs.

The Walking Dead Pinball Review

The Walking Dead Pinball Review

Oct 8, 2014

The Walking Dead Pinball goes to show that two rights can make a wrong.

If you haven’t heard of the Walking Dead by now, than it is possible you have been sleeping for the past couple of years. The franchise, once only a comic book and now grown in to a TV series and multiple games, is massive and keeps on going forward. Zen Pinball, creators of my most memorable digital pinball experience to date, created a game I never saw coming: a pinball version of the point-and-click story-driven drama game from Telltale Games. And I’m not sure if I like it.


So on one hand, we’ve got the best pinball game developer there is and on the other hand we’ve got Telltale, making sure we get to play the Walking Dead video game out there. But combined… well, let’s just say that it isn’t a winning formula. This pinball machine (you can download it separately or withing the existing Zen Pinball app) offers story driven gameplay, including making some choices, but it always leads to unnecessary distractions or unclear goals.

But the base of the game, the pinball machine itself, is how it is supposed to be. It is the pinball magic we’ve come to know and love by now. It man, does the game look great – it has the same graphical appeal of the Walking Dead game bij Telltale, so you’re in for a treat. But like I said, the game does offer a great deal of distraction, making you loose a ball when you think your attention is need elsewhere – but the fact is, you always need to focus on the ball, otherwise it is gone.

And another thing I found quite… odd: there is the option to ball an extra pack of pinballs, a dollar per three, when you’re game over. I understand Zen Pinball found a extra way to make a quick buck, but it defiles the basic rules of pinball. The rule that game over is game over, that you’ve just lost your points and that you can always try again, next time. This just feels wrong.

Zen Studios and Telltale Games Partner to Create New Digital Pinball Game based on The Walking Dead Game Series

Zen Studios and Telltale Games Partner to Create New Digital Pinball Game based on The Walking Dead Game Series

Jun 5, 2014

Digital Pinball experts Zen Studios is collaborating with TellTale Studios and The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman to introduce a new digital pinball game based on The Walking Dead game series.

According to the press release, Zen and Telltale worked carefully to bring choice driven gameplay of The Walking Dead; Season One to the pinball board. It pullss in locations from the franchise that should be familiar to fans.

“Zen Studios is a huge admirer of Telltale Games, and we truly cherish the opportunity to work with such amazing visionaries,” says Mel Kirk, Vice President of Publishing at Zen Studios. “Working with Telltale’s The Walking Dead is a hallmark moment as we continue our quest to create the most memorable and authentic pinball experiences.”

Says Steve Allison, Telltale Publishing SVP, “Zen knocked it out of the park with their interpretation Telltale’s first season of The Walking Dead as a pinball table. Players once again get to step into the shoes of Lee Everett and protect Clementine as all the major events of season one play a role in the first ever pinball game that features choice and consequence gameplay.”

The Walking Dead Pinball Game is due out this Summer.

[Source: Zen/Telltale Press Release]

The Upcoming Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within Will Feature Multiple Character Tables

The Upcoming Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within Will Feature Multiple Character Tables

Mar 31, 2014

SW Pinball 1

The newest table pack to the Star Wars Pinball series from Zen Studios will feature a table dedicated to Han Solo, among others. Here are the names for the upcoming tables: Han Solo, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars Pinball: Droids, and Star Wars Pinball: Masters of the Force. The pack will be released on Google Play, probably around early April. Meanwhile, you can purchase previous game here: Star Wars Pinball 2.

Star Wars Pinball Review

Star Wars Pinball Review

May 24, 2013

Pinball is an interesting state of flux: the genre as a physical form is not in great shape, but it is doing fantastic in virtual form. Fans of the silver ball have series like Pinball Arcade and Zen Pinball which both provide regular amounts of new tables to freshen up the experience regularly. Star Wars Pinball, a standalone release of the Zen Pinball table based off of Empire Strikes Back, is a great way to check in to this series.

While the game includes in-app purchases for two other Star Wars tables, the base purchase includes just the one table. That’s hardly a bad thing – there’s a lot going on here. There’s multiple missions to complete by hitting various triggers, lots of targets to go for, and plenty of flashing lights and loud noises. The fanservice is strong with this one – there’s all kinds of art and sounds from the movie. This isn’t a cheap cash-in, a lot of love was put in to this game.

The physics feel realistic enough, though as someone who’s not a pinball expert, I’m not the best judge of this. Still, it’s easy to tell when a game’s physics feel fake, and this definitely does not. The game is a natural fit for the Nexus 7 with its portrait mode display, but for those that want to play in widescreen, well, that’s possible too. Pretty much every camera orientation that a person could want to play a virtual pinball game with is supported here.


However, Star Wars Pinball just does not do a whole lot for me on its own, without much in the way of context. I’ve heard pinball experts raving about it, but to a relative neophyte like me, it doesn’t really come through. I tend to enjoy my pinball experiences as more fantastical games (I have sunk countless hours in to Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire for Game Boy Advance) rather than as more realistic ones.

So, for the casual or lapsed pinball fan, this is definitely worth checking out, or even in the context of the larger Zen Pinball series – this table is available as add-on content for the main app as well. Star Wars fans should check it out because it’s a pinball game that pays great homage to the series. I hear only rave reviews from the pinball-obsessed as well.

I don’t know if this is the game to get people in to pinball for the first time, but for those with a pre-existing interest in pinball or Star Wars, this is a must-have.

Jewel Bash Pinball Review

Jewel Bash Pinball Review

Mar 12, 2013

Picture this: a violent collision involving Bejeweled and your favorite pinball machine. Bam. You now have Jewel Bash Pinball.

The game itself came in three different flavors. Mount Olympus took me high into simulated altitudes with an especially long playing area fitted with an extra set of paddles. It was an interesting look, with the combination of jewels and white background making it look like slalom course. Wooden Cabinet played with a background that evoked deep teak. Techno Jam pleasantly assaulted just about all the senses with its appropriately named playing environment.

As in any regular pinball game, keeping the ball in play for as long as possible was the main strategy. In addition, the mini-game of jewel popping gave me an opportunity to score more. Hitting sequenced colors was big, and after a while, I figured that timing had a lot to do with general accuracy, just as in — wait for it — real pinball. The developer was able to create a very authentic simulator that left me believing the physics of the gameplay. The plunger launcher and active bumpers were especially lively, and the spinners were a nice addition. I ESPECIALLY liked the Awards board, which was a list of achievements that I could attain over time.

The controls were generous, in that tapping on the left of the screen controlled the leftmost paddles, and any task on the right did the same for the corresponding tools on that side. I found the paddles to be fairly responsive. The game looked great as well, with bright, fun animations, and the use of color especially showed in the depiction of the jewels.

It was a pleasant juxtaposition of two very fun type of games, and it is merged very well. Frankly, I was surprised at the lack of awkwardness the gameplay. It all seems to make sense.

Enzo’s Pinball Review

Enzo’s Pinball Review

Jul 15, 2011

I’ve always held the belief that pinball is a zen art, an experience to become lost in as you focus on the moment. The moving parts, the lights and sounds; it’s a physical, mechanical experience that can be tricky to translate into the virtual world of video games. While some games do a great job of giving you a decent pinball experience in a digital simulation, it’s still something you have to feel. That’s where Enzo’s Pinball goes above and beyond.

Enzo’s Pinball features haptic feedback by vibrating your phone every time the ball comes into contact with a physical object on the table. Each collision coincides with a little buzz that confirms the contact. It works very well. Of course, you can’t judge a game based solely on gimmicks — all the neat tricks in the world won’t make a bad game good. Fortunately, Enzo’s Pinball, isn’t bad at all. In fact, it’s quite good.

What you get with Enzo’s Pinball are 3 tables, each based on a different theme. There’s the Clockwork table, full of moving gears, dials and other moving parts; Steam-Powered, a steampunk-themed table with gauges, dials and a giant Tesla Coil that plays some electrifying tricks with the ball and DJ Table, a tribute to the analogue days of vinyl records. Each table has plenty of OpenFeint achievements and other secrets to unlock, including some unique details. For example, take a closer look at the 45 record on DJ Table — it’s Pinball Wizard!

You control the plunger and flippers by touching the sides of the screen, although I think it would have been a nice touch to include support for the hardware buttons on most Android phones. Enzo’s Pinball even makes use of the gyroscopic function in most Android handsets and tablets by implementing a “tilt” function. Simply by rocking your device left or right, you can put a little extra spin on the ball to influence it in one direction or the other.

The graphics are pretty good, and you get a nice view of the whole table without any scrolling. However, you only get one view — straight down from the top. Also, the tables aren’t very complex. Aside from a few basic gimmicks, they each only have one level, and once you’ve mastered some of their more unique attributes, there isn’t much else to do. Each table features a similar layout, as well. It’s nice to have 3 tables to choose from, but when they’re so alike, it’s not much of a choice. Another downside was that the controls seemed a bit sluggish at times; they weren’t always immediately responsive.

Enzo’s Pinball is a very well done pinball game that offers a lot of replay value as you attempt to unlock all the achievements while competing against friends via OpenFeint. The physics seem to work realistically enough and the haptic feedback definitely lends itself towards completing the overall experience. In all, while it may not be the most complex of pinball games, it does offer quite a bit for the pinball enthusiast on the go.

Pinball Ride Review

Pinball Ride Review

Mar 17, 2011

Ever since I was a young boy I’ve played the silver ball. From Soho down to Brighton I must have played them all. Alright, enough of that – you get the picture, I love pinball, as well as The Who. While my love of The Who actually has nothing to do with this review, my love of pinball is quite relevant. Pinball Ride attempts to put the pinball experience in your pocket. Making pinball portable is a tough order to fill, and Pinball Ride gets it right in some ways, and wrong in others.

Pinball Ride does a great job of miniaturizing the pinball control scheme. By tapping the right side of the screen, you flick the right flipper. By tapping the left side of the screen (you guessed it) you’ll flick the left flipper. Launching a ball requires you to slide your finger down to create “tension” and then release it to send the ball flying. You can even “shake” the machine by shaking your phone.

In addition to strong controls, Pinball Ride has solid physics. When you hit the ball, it goes where you expect it to based on trajectory, and the force of the hit. Between the controls, and the physics, the overall pinball experience in Pinball Ride is probably the best you’re going to find on a mobile phone. That being said, there are some significant flaws that hold the game back from achieving greatness.

There’s only one pinball machine in the game, and by performing various tasks in the story mode, you add upgrades to it. Unfortunately, those upgrades do very little to change how the game handles. To make matters worse, the virtual pinball machine in question is fairly simple. That’s to be expected from an Android game, but the lack of additional tables makes it far too easy to get burned out on this game.

Pinball Ride has the potential to be a great time killer, but that potential is eclipsed by the game’s flaws. The solid controls just aren’t enough to break through the monotony of a single simple table. If you really enjoy playing pinball games on your mobile phone, and you’ve played every other pinball game out there, Pinball Ride might be worth your time and money. Otherwise, you might want to get your pinball fix elsewhere.