From the creators of the Pinball FX franchise comes ZEN Pinball, a PlayStation Network game that is set to come out this spring. I had the opportunity to play with the demo, which consisted of a single El Dorado-themed table. It's been awhile since I've played a pinball game, even longer when I think back about the last time I even played on a real machine.
However, there's something very relaxing with pinball. Watching your points go up and hitting all the cool bumpers on the table is incredibly addictive. ZEN Pinball will come with four tables: V12, Tesla, Shaman and El Dorado. The demo we played only came with the El Dorado table, so check it out in the video below.
The pinball aficionados in the office all had a good time with the table. If you hit the right spots, you'll even unravel a story and discover more challenges. The flippers are responsive (using the R1 and L1 triggers) and the physics are solid, but purists might be put off by the blazing white trail that the ball leaves behind when it starts to pick up speed. Being able to save at any time will come in handy and there's also a slow motion feature if you want a little help. For advanced players, you can shake the table with the left analog stick. There are five views to toggle through with the square button but you can hold it down to enter a free view mode, which lets you control the camera by tilting the controller. There will be different difficulty settings and if you're not very good at pinball, your ball is saved quite often if you happen to lose it early in the game.
There are multiplayer modes, in which up to four players can compete against one another in a local hotseat mode. You can also go online and play with pinball fanatics from around the globe and with the right equipment, voice chat and video chat are also available. It looks like worldwide tournaments will also be held, and additional tables will be available to download via the PlayStation Store. To keep you motivated, there are also going to be several online scoreboards, so you can aim for the top slots in the"All-Time" and "Weekly" scoreboards as well as "Score Speed," "Best One Minute" and "Multiplayer Ranking" boards.
Depending on pricing, which hasn't been announced yet, this looks to be a nice addition to the PSN library. There are still pinball fans out there who are just dying to play, and a new generation of players who could probably use a bit of a history lesson. Look for ZEN Pinball when it is released sometime this spring.