Zen Pinball Review
Zen Pinball comes to the PSN and promises much. Can it deliver where so many have failed in the past?
Digital pinball has always been a touchy subject for a gamer like me. On one hand I've always been fascinated by the concept of having an inexpensive game with expandable tables. On the other hand, no one seems to have captured that tense feel associated with pinball nor have they really been able to compete with the complex licensed tables of the 90s. Zen Studios does its best to make large, complex tables and capture that complete pinball experience. While I must admit that the overall feel of Zen Pinball isn't quite real life pinball, it does one of the best jobs to date.
The first thing I noticed was that there is a delay between when I push the flipper button and I see the flipper react on screen. Given the fact that pinball is all about timing and working with the movement of the ball, this was a huge disappointment. I was able to self calibrate for the lag after only a short period of play, which is what kept me from hating this game outright, but I could see some people being turned off immediately. Actual physics within the game and the movement of the pinball are in direct contrast as they feel realistic and logical. As the pinball moves across the table, up and down ramps, and is thrown around by the flipper it moves at a fast pace that can be as impossible to predict as any true pinball. Various camera angles are a great addition to allow any type of pinball player to enjoy it (my favorite is 1w), but the fact that you can't change the angle while the ball isn't in play seemed an odd choice. All in all there's a strong trade off between what looks good and what feels good.