Zen Pinball 2 was one of the earliest games I downloaded for my Wii U, helped in part because it provided free timed trials of every table. Since I'm a Marvel fan in general, picking up the "Vengeance and Virtue" 4-table set was a fairly obvious choice, mostly because it included an X-Men table. The Ghost Rider table feels kind of basic, but the Thor and Moon Knight (whoever that is) tables are pretty fun. But I don't really know those comics and since I wasn't getting any of those other references I pretty quickly went back to the X-Men table which uses the IP quite well. The table has tons of fun nods to the long history of the X-Men, such as a mission centered around the Phoenix and "appearances" by long-time series villains such as Mystique, The Blob, and Juggernaut (and Magneto, of course).
The X-Men table is pretty complex, and activating missions range from fairly easy to fairly complicated. Although missions kick things up a notch, activating (and at times completing) them can be pretty tedious (in particular, spelling out "UNITE" over and over again by hitting the same ramp again and again gets boring fast). The graphics are very good and there are a wide range of camera angles that you can set; the ball physics work pretty well; the voice acting is quite good; and the animations make the game nicely distinct from realistic pinball games. The game has two flippers at the top of the screen as well as the bottom screen which makes the game much more of a challenge, but also helps keep things more interesting. The upper flippers are positioned in such a way that even with the variety of camera angles it's a bit difficult to find one that's completely satisfying, but that's a minor gripe.
All in all this is definitely a polished package, and although I obsessively played the X-Men table for hours on end (and strained my hands in the process), even when I learned the ins and outs of the table I still found it to be a bit tedious and I'm guessing it's probably not as fun overall as some of the others in this set. I don't know when I'll dust this off again, but I'll probably review the other individual tables separately when I get around to spending more time with them.
Unite these Zen Pinball 2 links:
- There's an in-game guide to the X-Men table, but here's a comprehensive guide from the official site
- Miiverse Community
- Review at NintendoLife
- Official site for the Marvel pinball games
- Entry on Wikipedia
- Page on official Nintendo site