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TOPIC: Jousting with Zen Pinball 3D

Jousting with Zen Pinball 3D 3 months 1 week ago #199

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It's been a few years since I played a pinball video game, so I was quite overdue. I've had Zen Pinball 3D on 3DS for a while, and I'd actually already played its sequel, Zen Pinball 2. The first Zen Pinball game first appeared on PlayStation Network before releasing on 3DS (and Android, apparently). It seems like the tables have since been released in other configurations on Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Steam as well.

As usual, although I tried all four tables, I focused mostly on one, in this case the medieval-themed one called "Excalibur". As with their other tables there are a lot of different goals to shoot for around the table and missions to attempt, including a jousting mini-game and a knight's duel mini-game. The graphics, sound effects, voice clips, and controls are all solid, although it's kind of a drag that many of the missions reset when you lose a ball, making it difficult to actually accomplish them.

The game does suffer from being crammed on the 3DS. I had the game on a regular New 3DS, and it would definitely have benefited from being on a larger 3DS XL system. The game feels much more cramped than other pinball games on DS and 3DS since it restricts the main view to the top screen rather than utilizing both screens. This makes sense in terms of the game being presented in stereoscopic 3D (which looks great, by the way) and also being a port from another system, but it's a big waste of screen real estate as the second screen is just used for the LED messages that mostly just shows the score. A big side effect of this is that you often can't really see what's going on with the ball when it's bouncing around the top part of the table, although you can select between eight different views. The zoomed-in view isn't really satisfactory, though, and the most zoomed-out view is pretty unplayable.

From what I've played of the other three tables the layouts feel a bit too similar, although playing them more may make their differences more apparent. I played the game pretty addictively, and it's a good game to play on the go. It's a little more stressful than what I would usually first turn to, though, so although I enjoyed playing it I probably won't make it one of my go-to 3DS games.

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