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.

CastleStorm – Free to Siege Review

CastleStorm – Free to Siege Review

May 15, 2014

It is quite impressive what Zen Studios has accomplished with the port of CastleStorm on Android: the game looks as good as ever and plays very similiar as the console version.

In Zen Studios’ CastleStorm, players get the task of defending its own castle, while crumbling the opponents. The game combines this tower defense gameplay wth real time strategy elements from games like Swords and Soldiers and even real time battling. Like the player, the computer controlled enemy can do the same: the can also deploy units on the ground, fire spears and other objects from one castle to another and bring in the heavy stuff with special attacks.


CastleStorm has a meant to be cheeky story with dialog that isn’t a burden to read; it’s actually very funny and handy. It gives the player a sense of progression in the story, even though the game opens up at a very enjoyable peace with his fine difficulty curve. Its mayor difference between the Android and console version is that the ballista isn’t controlled like players are used to: the Angry Birds style of slingshot gameplay has made place for direct point and click control.

Technically, one could say this works better on mobile devices, but I would beg to differ. Later one, precise shots are needed to advance, and with my thumb constantly being in the way of my view, I could not control the battlefield as I prefer – or as the game wants you to play. Because, just like the console version, players need to combine the three above mentioned gameplay mechanics all the time and without a good flow, the game isn’t working like the developers imagined.

But the graphics and the sound are so well done. It is really impressive what Zen Studios did with the available resources. It fits the gameplay and the story also so good. I could nog imagine it being something else than this, with the cheeky story in mind. Combine that with the awesome combination of the gameplay, and CastleStorm is one game not to overlook when browsing any digital store. Sadly though, my thumb was sometimes in the way of the action, but that’s the only downside to this game.

Watch CastleStorm: Free to Siege’s Beta Test Version in Action Now

Watch CastleStorm: Free to Siege’s Beta Test Version in Action Now

Feb 27, 2014

CastleStorm: Free to Siege is the upcoming mobile version of Zen Studios’ 2013 game about destroying castles, and destroying those who would dare destroy castles besides one’s own self, because only one person can really destroy castles. Only one.

While the game released as a premium title for consoles, the mobile version will be free-to-play. While Zen Pinball uses a free model, it’s about content unlocks, not consumable IAP. Thus, Zen is doing something smart: a soft launch of the game that will allow them to sort out how their game will monetize and any of the technical issues that arise.

Interestingly, Zen Studios has decided to eschew the regional soft-launch that many companies prefer, and have gone with an open beta test through Google Play’s tester services. This means that anyone can sign up and play, and since the game’s not yet publicly available on Google Play, it still manages to limit the audience in a good way.

Want to check out what’s up with the beta for yourself? Sign up here, or watch our gameplay footage below.