Also On: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita, PC
Publisher: Zen Studios
Developer: Zen Studios
Gone are the days of going to a local arcade and playing some great licensed pinball tables. Zen Pinball 2 fills that void nicely. From South Park, to Star Wars, to the Marvel Universe, Zen Studios does a remarkable job theming pinball tables to the franchises they obtain. Balls of Glory pinball brings some new tables into the mix. We can now welcome: Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, American Dad and Archer to the world of Zen Pinball 2.
I should also mention that I am a fan of all of the included shows. Honestly, I don’t know why you would even consider picking up this set if you didn't at least like some of the shows. I watch most of the shows casually with the exception of Bob’s Burgers which I watch religiously. Basic knowledge of the shows is required to get full enjoyment out the tables.
One other quick bit before we get to the tables. I also want to include that I played Balls of Glory pinball on the PS4 as well as my very dusty PlayStation Vita. I feel it’s worth mentioning how Zen Studios allows you to carry over any purchased tables to all of the hardware Sony is currently supporting. I’m a big fan of developers giving consumers more bang for their buck and allowing me to play my pinball tables at home and on the go is an awesome selling point.
Let’s start with the table I was most excited for: Bob’s Burgers. As with the other Zen Pinball 2 tables, there are plenty of characters visible on the table and all of the Belcher family voices are utilized. I would have liked to see some of the supporting characters like Teddy (“BOBBY!") but that’s me just nitpicking. A cool feature that is unique to this table is that you can change from day to night. Each time of day also features different happenings on the table. Handing out flyers at Wonder Wharf during the day or exploring the taffy factory at night with Louise, I had a lot of fun with this table and all of its features.
Good morning U.S.A. it’s time for the American Dad table. The whole Smith family didn’t appear during my time playing the table (Hayley was noticeably absent), but unlike the Bob’s Burgers table we had a key supporting character featured: Director Bullock, voiced by Patrick Stewart. Director Bullock is used heavily and is really front and center. I also really enjoyed the usage of Roger and everyone’s favorite fish with the brain of an olympic skier, Klaus. The American Dad table doesn’t have nearly as much going on as the Bob’s Burgers table but it does have Wheels and the Legman.
The Griffins and the Family Guy crew was up next. Family Guy is a show I used to really love but it just got too repetitive with too many cut aways, so I kind of gave up on it in the past 4-5 years. The table included in the Balls of Glory pack seems to touch on all the references from the shows past and doesn’t include much from the current seasons. I came to this realization because none of the jokes or references seemed to go over my head. There isn’t much flash to the table but there is the giant chicken waiting for a fight and of course some wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men. Brian's still working on that novel of his and this table is still great fun.
The last table and my least favorite show of the four is Archer. Not only is it my least favorite show of the bunch, but it’s also my least favorite of the tables. I don’t know if I’m just extremely unlucky but the audio was so repetitive that I had to mute it. As most players of Zen Pinball 2 know, the audio of a given table is a good part of what is fun about it, especially for a comedy table. Multiple plays of the table and hearing “DO NOT USE THE NERVE GAS!” over and over within minutes of starting was just too much for me. The table isn’t a total loss but the audio was just too repetitive for me to truly enjoy it.
Zen Studios continues to knock out new properties while keeping up the high level of quality that we all expect from their tables. With the exception of my annoyances with the Archer table, playing some of my favorite shows in pinball form was great fun. I recommend grabbing the burger of the day, a pint from the Drunken Clam and doing your patriotic duty by picking up the Balls of Glory Pinball DLC.