Review :: (eShop) Zen Pinball 3D

Is that a pinball in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Written by Super User

Published Thursday, 09 February 2012 19:00

Write your own review !

My love of pinball has been steady for the vast majority of my life. I certainly can’t even stand in the same room as the ‘Wizards’ out there, but my enjoyment of the game manges to transcend my skill level by far. These days, most of my pinaballing is done electronically, and Zen Studios has emerged as my favorite provider of video pinball. They really established themselves with Zen Pinball, honed their craft to a fine edge with Pinball FX 2, and is continuing to evolve their skills with the Marvel Pinball series. Which is why I’m disappointed with this grey cloud that formed as I was working on their latest offering, Zen Pinball 3D...

Zen Pinball arrives on the eShop in full 3D splendor...if that’s your thing. While the game does indeed look pretty nifty with the 3D effects engaged, it doesn’t really have any impact, one way or the other. Granted, presentation carries a lot of weight in pinball, especially video pinball, but here, you could crank the slider all the way down and the visual shift will be minor. Fortunately it doesn’t detract from the game or smack you around with a massive migraine within the first 10 minutes of gameplay, so use it as you feel the need. 3D effects aside, the visuals are quite nice. Vibrant coloring and thematically suited design stylings drop this one on par with the rest of Zen’s work, even though it rests on much different hardware.

"Most impressively was how many of the online features from its console brethren made the jump over."

I have to hand it to Zen, they certainly get an ‘A’ for effort. Zen Pinball 3D has four tables - Excalibur, Earth Defense, Shaman, Eldorado - with the latter two having never seen the world outside of Sony’s Entertainment Network. Even though none of them are necessarily a “new” experience for anyone who’s been playing Zen’s other pinball franchises, there’s still plenty of missions to complete, a local hot-seat mode, online leaderboards, and even a Pro Score ranking, sort of like the Wizard scoring found in its console cousins.

This really should have been a homerun, knocked way out into left field. Sure, it could have used a few more tables, but given that this is a portable title, along with Zen’s penchant for post-launch downloadable content, I can’t be satisfied with what’s offered here. Sadly though, the physics toss a curveball across the plate, making it triple out left-center. Simply put, it’s floaty. I spent a considerable amount of time with each of the four tables, and a lot of times I found the ball physics to be not quite as accurate as those found in some of Zen’s other recent work, such as Marvel Pinball or Pinball FX 2. It isn’t enough to make it unplayable by any stretch. But the subtlies are there enough to be noticed if you are looking for it. Things weren’t helped much by the 3DS’ diminutive size, controlling the flipper with the shoulder buttons (as we have become accustomed to over the years with the console controllers) became cramped and uncomfortable after awhile. Switching over to the d-pad/face buttons added to the disconnect that the floaty physics created.

Final Focus

Don’t get me wrong, Zen Pinball 3D is serviceable as pinball game. The seven dollar entry fee nets you four tables that have plenty to offer portable Wizards-in-training. Most impressively was how many of the online features from its console brethren made the jump over. The more die-hard fans may find the physics to be a little tough to swallow at times, but to get a quick table fix on the go, Zen Pinball is still a solid choice.

 


Pros
+ All the online features + Looks great + Nice to see Shaman and Eldorado make an appearance + $7
Cons
- Physics felt floaty at times - 4 tables may feel a little lean

Final rating
7.5 / 10
Comments
More Nintendo 3DS reviews
2013-08-01 :: Project X Zone
2012-12-27 :: LEGO Lord of the Rings
2012-10-26 :: Spy Hunter
2012-08-12 :: Heroes of Ruin
2012-04-18 :: Kid Icarus: Uprising
2012-03-23 :: CRUSH3D
2011-11-17 :: Super Mario 3D Land
Game details
(eShop) Zen Pinball 3D
Release date : 2012-01-12
Platform :
Publisher : Zen Studios
Developer : Zen Studios
Gameplay : Flipper

GameFocus High Fives, June 2015 - Jesse
There is arguably no other aspect of gaming that is more underappreciated than the Non Player Character (NPC). Serving as companions, quest ...

Read more

GameFocus High Fives Canada Day Bonus Edition
Happy Canada Day! Bonne fête du Canada! We here at GameFocus hope you’re celebrating the enactment of the British North American Act (Consti...

Read more

GameFocus High Fives, June - D.J.
There is arguably no other aspect of gaming that is more underappreciated than the Non Player Character (NPC). Serving as companions, quest ...

Read more

GameFocus High Fives, June 2015 - Jesse
GameFocus High Fives Canada Day Bonus Edition
GameFocus High Fives, June - D.J.
DLC Talk

DLC Talk: Bioshock: Burial at Sea Ep. 1

DLC Talk: Bioshock: Burial at Sea Ep. 1

Here we are. The next generation of consoles is among us and it is finally time to start thinking about finally unplugging our beloved current-gen systems. Could there be a better swan song for one of these systems than taking a trip back to Rapture?


Read more
First Impressions

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us, the upcoming DC fighting game by NetherRealm Studios, is set to be released on April 16th. Even though the release date is just around the corner, they continue to announce additional characters that will be playable upon release, as well as alternate costumes for numerous ... Lire la suite...

More previews
GF Blogs

Summer Gaming Guide: What to Play

Summer Gaming Guide: What to Play

Whether it’s a rainy day, a sickness, or some other reason not to go outside and enjoy the beautiful summer air, video games are the perfect way to spend your time - that is, if you can find a game to play. In terms of releases, summer generally isn’t the most fruitful of seasons, and this year is no different. So what games could/should you be sinking your teeth into during the dog days?  


Read more

The Last Guardian Will NOT Appear at #E32015 and Here's the Reason Why...

The Last Guardian Will NOT Appear at #E32015 and Here's the Reason Why...

Since its reveal at E3 2009, The Last Guardian has not resurfaced other than in rumours and in statements regarding said rumours. Sony admits to major studio problems during the game’s development, but constantly reassures those anticipating the game that it is still not, and will not, be canceled. So is this the year that we finally see the resurrection of The Last Guardian? In my opinion, the answer is a big fat NO.


Read more

A Few Good Reasons for Grounding Players in WOW

A Few Good Reasons for Grounding Players in WOW

Getting my first mount in World of Warcraft was a major milestone. It came at a time before Blizzard reduced the cost of training for a ground mount and the gold required seemed like an impossible sum when quests were doling out a few coppers. What's more, I was foolishly selling my gathered iron or mithril to in-game vendors rather than placing it up for auction. I won't get into the particulars of my moneymaking strategy but I will say that it wasn't effective and very indicative of my n00b status.


Read more
GameFocus 2015 Top 10
1
Apotheon (PC)
9.4
2
Splatoon (Wii U)
8.6
3
Rocket League (PlayStation 4)
8.5
4
Splice (PlayStation 4)
8.4
5
Hand of Fate (Xbox One)
8.0
6
8.0
7
Toren (PlayStation 4)
8.0
8
7.8
10
Dead or Alive 5 Last Round (PlayStation 4)
7.7

facebook-follow-us

twitter1

 

GameFocus Podcast: June 2015
This time the guys talk E3 2015 and see what stokes those flames of excitement.  What game is the equivalent of a Total Recall film remake? Are L...

Read more

GameFocus Podcast: June 2015

Recent comments

Powered by Disqus