Game Review: Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles
Pinball has been around for a very, very long time, rather like comic books. The two seem to go hand in hand… Before we had flashy movies, we had flashy, electric pinball tables, and way back then, we knew of The Avengers in comic book form. Therefore, the world has been given the gift of Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles, a set of tables for Pinball FX 2 by Zen Studios. So are these tables worth playing? I’d say. Read on!
So first off, what are you getting with MPAC? The following four tables:
- The Avengers
- World War Hulk
- Fear Itself
- The Infinity Gauntlet
Having played all four, I must say that each provides quite the challenge. So where do I begin? With aesthetics. The visuals on these tables are absolutely insane- I spent half my time ogling the marvelously detailed backgrounds. While I did find the freakish abundance of flashing, dancing light to be kind of distracting, it was just something that took a bit of getting used to- when I learned to focus on the ball, the game changed for me. The challenge was now getting the ball to a goal- which, typically, consists of a specific target on the board, which will typically trigger something awesome, like an Avenger popping out of nowhere and smacking the pinball around, granting wild bonuses and such. It’s really quite amazing. But getting back on track, the game is pretty satisfying graphically- the sound effects and music are also pretty good.
Gameplay-wise, what can I say? It’s pinball, and it’s awesome. But in all seriousness, most of the time, you’ll be aiming for a target around the top-center of the board, and hitting it enough times will unlock a new mode, or, as I’ve mentioned before, will cause an Avenger to pop out. Or it’ll cause put you in an arena (World War Hulk). There’s something unusually satisfying about this that I can’t quite put a finger on. Smash! Sorry, had to get that out of my system. Moving on, I particularly appreciated a certain mechanic on The Avengers table- each ball is a different hero, and grants different bonuses- I thought this was a pretty awesome feature. Another cool feature about these tables is that they speak to you. Insanity? Nope. There’s actually narration as to the story of each table- it’s like experiencing the comics all over again. Are the stories fully fleshed out? Of course not- it’s more like listening to a highlights reel, and you know what? That’s a good thing. The bits of dialogue really add to the experience without becoming distracting. One thing I did find a little distracting, however, was the dot-matrix display that occasionally said something important in the upper-left hand corner of the screen. I must admit to losing a few balls staring up at that thing for but a split second- it’s slightly annoying, too, to have directions up there that are quickly swapped with something else- it’s kind of frustrating. Occasionally, it works and I figure out how to get myself a nice bonus, but sometimes… Sometimes I’m reading and all of the sudden, ball out. I suppose it’s really a minor issue- you can ignore it, but then you’re missing out on points- glorious points!
I could drone on and on about these tables- but I won’t. I’m stopping myself because- who am I kidding? I’m running away to play more pinball, and you know what? You should too. These tables are excellent– they look great, play beautifully, and are absolutely worth your time, money, and tears of geekdom. Zen Studios has done a fantastic job- I can’t wait to see more licensed tables.