Now that Pinball FX 2 is out for Xbox Live Arcade, Zen Studios has the opportunity to continually add more tables to the growing collection. Pinball is also coming to PlayStation 3 owners because Marvel Pinball will be released as a stand-alone game with four tables that are centered on some of your favorite superheroes. While the game will cost the same on both consoles, Marvel Pinball will feature tables with Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine, and Blade.
You'll also get a chance to have your say in regards to what superhero should be featured next because you can vote for the next table at marvelpinball.com. Marvel has shared its IP with Zen Studios, so there will definitely be more tables coming your way in the near future. In the meantime, we were able to get a quick look at the first set of superhero tables, which were built around the themes of each character. All of the tables feature two or three villains for you to do battle with, via your flippers and pinball. Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, and Mysterio will be your primary targets for the friendly-neighborhood Spider-Man. Like other tables from the developer, everything comes to life once you hit the key spots, so with these tables, you can rack up some serious points by initiating boss battles. Things can get hectic while your pinball is zipping down the weblike rails on the side and Green Goblin is zipping all over the place.
Blade is an especially cool table because there are day-and-night cycles to not only change the look of the table, but also change the available missions. Blade's friend Hannibal spends a good amount of time snoozing, so if you manage to get him up, you can both take on Deacon Frost and his undead army. There's also plenty of action going on in the dot-matrix display if you activate a certain mode and can peel your eyes away for a second. Even though you have a limited amount of energy at night, most of the boss fights occur then, and you'll do other things during the day.
Marvel fans will notice the details with each table, such as the adamantium bonding chamber on Wolverine's table. There are also hidden eggs and secrets to unlock. Wolverine will face the likes of Sabertooth, Sentinel, and Silver Samurai who all come to life when their modes are activated. But the purpose behind each of these tables was to create a Marvel experience for each character, so regardless of who you're playing as, there's plenty of personality that comes through with the voices and animations. The eccentric and cocky Tony Stark will take center stage and transform when he is ready for a showdown with Mandarin, Ultimo, or Whiplash.
Because the developer has access to the entire IP, we were told that later tables won't be limited to just characters and can include events, like the civil war or dark siege. The game looks great with the colorful artwork plastered all over the table, and everything from the rails to the bumpers are placed and designed carefully for that specific theme. Like the comic-book world where things can get a little extravagant and over the top, when you activate certain modes, the transformations that follow are similarly excessive. If you're into pinball just for the flashy lights and sounds (and of course, points), then you'll find that there's a lot to look at with these Marvel-themed tables.
There is no split-screen multiplayer for the PlayStation 3 version, but the local hotseat and online simultaneous multiplayer modes are there. One advantage to having it on the PS3 is that the controller can be tilted to nudge the table. Hero Score and Team Force are the equivalent of Superscore and Wizard Score, respectively, for XBLA so that you can keep track of how well you do. Keep an eye out for Marvel Pinball when it hits the PSN and XBLA sometime in December.