hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Zen Pinball 2
 BLOG ABOUT THIS

Review: Zen Pinball 2 (PS4)

2:00 PM on 01.10.2014 // Brett Zeidler
  @BrettZeidler

That PS4 sure plays a mean pinball

You've no doubt run into at least one of Zen Studios' pinball platforms by now, appearing on virtually every current device out there that can play games (the only exception being Xbox One as of right now). They hit it big over the years with numerous licensed and original tables such as Star Wars, Marvel, Plants vs. Zombies, Ninja Gaiden, and Street Fighter, with many more surely on their way for 2014.

After landing on the Wii U last year, the PlayStation 4 is the next current-gen system to get the pinball treatment from Zen Studios in the form of Zen Pinball 2. Those who have checked out any past incarnation know what to expect, but newcomers are definitely in for a treat should they jump in -- which they absolutely should.

Zen Pinball 2 (PlayStation 3, PS Vita, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Wii U)
Developer: Zen Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment, Zen Studios
Released: September 4 2012 (PS3/Vita) / March 21 2013 (Wii U) / December 24, 2013 (PS4)
MSRP: Free (Sorcerer's Lair table included, other tables are various additional prices)

As usual, Zen Pinball 2 is a free platform that offers a "try before you buy" model for each table, and an import process for players who own any tables from PlayStation 3 and/or PlayStation Vita's Zen Pinball 2. Whereas on PS3/Vita this was a simple Cross-Buy purchase, on the PlayStation 4 this has to be done through an import button on the game's main menu.

Since this entry is not technically a Cross-Buy title, the import process does not work backwards from the PlayStation 4 version to any other system, so a player with multiple systems who would like the most bang from their buck would do well to remember this. It's clear the import system was not the easy solution, so the effort Zen Studios went through to make sure players would not have to re-purchase anything is definitely appreciated.

PS4's Zen Pinball 2 does not currently offer the entire back catalog of tables. Instead, it has Star Wars Pinball, Star Wars: Balance of the Force, Marvel Pinball, Avengers Chronicles, Plants vs. Zombies, Epic Quest, Paranormal, Earth Defense, and Sorcerer's Lair in starting line-up. This collection includes arguably the best tables Zen has put together so far and will no doubt give players plenty of pinball action to digest while the rest of the library -- and new tables, of course -- will inevitably make their way to the platform in the coming months. 

The game runs in 1080p at a blazing 60 FPS, and looks stunning in motion. There doesn't appear to be any noticeable visual edge here, but there didn't need to be. Zen Studios' tables are consistently colorful, vibrant, and have always had an unmatched visual presentation. It looked stellar before, and still does in this outing. Ball physics also appear to be untouched; which is also great as they were perfect the way they were.

Zen Pinball is not a simulation of the real pinball experience, but rather what I colloquially refer to as cinematic pinball. Objects and characters will move around the table and directly influence the ball, with the camera sometimes moving to set pieces that do not exist on the table itself. These are pinball tables that can only exist in a videogame, and that's what makes them -- and this game -- so special.

Controls are standard fare, with things like the DualShock 4's TouchPad not being used for any radical control option. Of course, this is just fine as it wouldn't make any sense and would more than likely end up feeling imprecise; detrimental to something like a pinball videogame. L1/R1 (or L2/R2) control the left and right bumpers respectively, and the left analog stick handles nudging (don't tilt!). The controls are simple, but there's a sense of even more control now with the fantastic DualShock 4 feeling much more tight and precise than the DualShock 3.

Leaderboards, personal statistics, the in-game trophy system, multiplayer, and an operator's menu are all here, and create a wide range of incentives to continually return to the game outside of simply wanting to impulsively best personal high scores.

Zen Studios were undoubtedly the digital pinball kings last-gen, and are already well on their way to claim the same title on current-gen. PS3/PS Vita players, other platform players, and complete newcomers alike all have no reason to miss Zen Pinball 2 on the PS4. There's no added benefit to this version; just the same game with the same tables we've come to adore, but that doesn't stop it from being a game absolutely everyone should play.

Zen Pinball is a must-have anywhere you can grab it, and Zen Pinball 2 specifically on PlayStation 4 is equally just as desirable -- if not more-so.



THE VERDICT

9.5

Zen Pinball 2 - Reviewed by Brett Zeidler
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Brett Zeidler, Contributor and Engineer
 Follow Blog + disclosure BrettZeidler Tips
Destructoid's Resident Baby/Super Contributor. Musician. Computer Science Student. Panda, corgi, burrito, iced tea enthusiast. Praise Yeezus. more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Dreggsao avatarDreggsao
A fart says more than a thousand words.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
A fart a day keeps the doctor away.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Why can't we have more Lovecraftian horror games? It's such a great setting, but nobody ever uses it.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Best purchase I've made in a long time. This little remote controlled BB-8 robot by Sphero is amazing. [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/bb8%202.jpg~original[/IMG]
gajknight avatargajknight
I fart, therefore I am.
extatix avatarextatix
Working on my next collection blog and holy shit, I should sell some stuff already.
Myles Cox avatarMyles Cox
My first word was "fart".
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Philosophical question: if the only way to get Batman: Arkham Knight to run decently on my laptop is to lower all the settings and have it run windowed, am I really playing it?
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm farting right now.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I farted in Gamestop today and wasn't blamed!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
I have never farted. #TrueLies
From Must Git Gud avatarFrom Must Git Gud
Getting banned soon!
VIRGO avatarVIRGO
Here's to hoping Nintendo makes mobile games as compelling as Pac-Man 256...
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
I hate when a new game comes out and D-toid gets flooded with stuff about a game I don't know anything about and I'm just stuck here, sitting with myself and my freeware games...
Dreggsao avatarDreggsao
It is the middle of the night and Yu-Gi-OH is on TV. Are children with insomnia so common these days?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
My hair's done did and my Teddie cosplay is officially ready for next weekend's Comic-Con! Do I impress you, Sensei? [img]http://i.imgur.com/ZNlOmMf.jpg[/img]
ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
Replaying Tales of Symphonia for the first time in years, I only just now realized how random the plot is. Our goals are decided at Lloyd's whimsy, while we get major revelations just 'whenever'. Still a good game, but I'm proud to be #TeamBatenKaitos.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Question Time! What's YOUR MGSV Helicopter music?
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Today at work, I made a reference to the DK Rap in one of my news pieces. Any day that I get to do that is a good day.
gajknight avatargajknight
Everyone's playing MGSV...and I've just arrived in Skellige in The Witcher 3. At this rate, I'll get 'round to MGSV when the PS7 arrives.
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Zen Pinball 2


  Mar 15

Zen Pinball 2 will launch next week on Wii U

After a long delay, it's finally here


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -