Marvel Pinball: Fantastic Four Table Review

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Marvel Pinball was/is an amazing set of pinball tables, and anyone who’s a fan of what Zen Studios can do should be champing at the bit to shell out hard earned coin for anything new they can offer. This week on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and with a PSN date yet to be determined, the newest table from these pinball wizards hits the scene in the form of Fantastic Four.

The table easily slips into the already well laid out shell that Pinball FX 2 created so scores will be saved, compared with friends and superscores will rise; but all of that is expected so what you really want to know is – how does the table play?

Fantastic Four boasts the most voice work done in a Zen pinball table yet, and it’s eons above the sometimes out of place sounding work that we saw in the Pasha table thanks to the hiring of some professional voice actors.  The table itself is loaded with ramps and orbits, each tied to one of the four main characters so some other artifact from the FF world, like the Baxter Building, and having all of these options to shoot is a welcome thing – but quite honestly at times I felt that the amount of lighting and activity on the playfield was a little confusing. Yes, as my mantra of “Just One More Game” started turning minutes into hours I started to get the hang of the table – but even then a couple of minor issues seemed to plague me. The biggest of this was the Mr. Fantastic mode where he stretched out to collect the ball which is highly reminiscent of the Shuttle Crane mode from the Mars table. The issue is not with the mode because aimed shots like this are always welcome in video pinball, but it was the color scheme of the playfield and the costume that Reed Richards wears blended the location of his hand with the background making even what I thought were perfect shots to where I “thought” his hand was into complete misses.

Even activating the kickback saves (Force Fields) was a little more difficult than it should be because of the color scheme of the playfield; I normally can flip through the active lights and get the right one enabled with ease but it was a lot more difficult here for some reason – perhaps due to the angle of the table? Speaking of that, my go to view seemed very different on this table than on all others. Usually View 4 would do a very slight follow effect on the ball; yet on this table it’s a pulled out view closer to the classic View 6. Naturally, I blame my scores on this change.

But when the game does things well, it does them really well. Activating Dr. Doom’s multiball is a joy, and trying to keep those four balls in play makes for quite a feat – but when you hear the Super Jackpot has been hit you know you’ve done something right. Even when non-standard things such as The Human Torch lighting the ball on fire and the ball absorbing Dr. Doom’s power in other modes are not as distracting as you might think – and they fit really well into the game. As with all pinball games, practice makes perfect – and I due to the plethora of modes in this game I know that I’ll be spending a lot of time practicing them all to get my shots down – and waiting for that one Tommy moment where everything just clicks and your hands and eyes sync up and that moment of Zen is reached.

Score: 8/10

Platform reviewed: Xbox 360

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