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.

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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.

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.

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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.