Zen Pinball 2 has had a very busy couple of weeks, with new tables for both Star Wars Rebels and Avengers: Age of Ultron showing up on their pinball service front-end thingy. May doesn’t seem to be quite so packed, but it won’t be short on content either thanks to today’s announcement of a Portal-themed table arriving on the 25th. The Aperture Science Heuristic Portal Pinball Device will see GLaDOS put Chell and Wheatley through their flipper-tapping paces, using all the familiar props from the series to create a tricky little table with plenty of extra goodies and modes.
As for the other two tables of the past week, they’ve turned out nicely as well. Avengers: Age of Ultron starts the game with two-ball multiball, which is a nice way to get right to the point. The pinballs are themed in the superhero colors for as long as the mode lasts, and Black Widow wanders around below the playfield. The gameplay flow is mostly focused on loops and ramps, with different modes for the various heroes and Ultron. There’s a lot happening on the table in terms of lanes that siphon the ball all over the playfield, leading to a very fast pace when things get moving.
Star Wars Rebels, on the other hand, has just enough target shooting involved to give it the edge, if you can only play one table. It’s got a more traditional pinball-y design and comes off as the better table because of it, with light-up lanes, multiple types of target, and a nice selection of ramps to bat the pinball through. It’s even got cut-out storm troopers moving back and forth in lanes that look like they’re carved from the base of the table, which may not be as flashy as the fully-modeled characters hanging out above the bumper field but look like the kind of thing you might find on an actual pinball table. Of course, they explode when you hit them, so maybe it would be an expensive game to maintain, but that’s beside the point. Another thing Star Wars Rebels gets right is how well the playfield reads, which is a big help when you can’t take your eyes from the table to look at the instructions on the scoreboard. The contrast of the colors on the board’s lights read better, drawing your eye to the flashing shots instead of making them something you have to look for, like in the Avengers table. It makes for a game that gives you a good idea of what to do at all times, which is a big help because I’m an impatient person who has yet to crack open the instructions on either table.
The pics for the Portal table show off a design following in Star Wars Rebels footsteps, with targets supplementing the ramp action, a hidden playfield below the center of the main board, and Chell using the portal gun to move all around the background elements. It’s a sharp-looking table with an array of great-looking features, and promises to be the highlight of Zen Studios’ very busy springtime pinball explosion.