reviews\ Jun 28, 2012 at 10:12 am

Marvel Pinball 3D review; will it make you want some shawarma?

A year and a half ago, Zen Studios struck gold when it partnered with Marvel Studios on a series of pinball tables featuring various superheroes, both in the design of the table and jumping around it as lively characters.  The result, Marvel Pinball, became a beneficial release for all parties involved, selling well with not only fans of Zen’s pinball games, but comic book lovers as well.

Now, following the release of the much-acclaimed Avengers Chronicles tables, the original game is finally making its debut on the 3DS as a downloadable title for the eShop.  Marvel Pinball 3D comes with four initial tables — Blade, Iron Man, Captain America and Fantastic Four.  (We’re not sure what happened to Spider-Man, which would’ve been an ideal release with the movie coming out next week and all.)  Each table is loyally themed to each of its heroes, with Red Skull stomping around like crazy on the Captain America table and vampires popping up like mad in Blade.




Like the original Marvel Pinball release, Zen Studios gets everything just right with its pinball design.  Each table is fun to play and easy on the eyes, thanks to conventional pinball set-up and a multitude of camera angles to choose from.  So if you lose the ball, it’s likely your own fault.  (If the 3D becomes distracting, you can move the slider and just play the traditional way.)  The light-up LED screens are a nice touch, so that each table mimics the real thing, in a way.

Also, the audio is quite good.  Each table features dedicated voice acting, and while you’re not likely to hear Robert Downey Jr. on the Iron Man table (darn licensing rights!), you’ve got a pretty good sound-alike in his place.  The music is well done too, with heroicness aplenty backing it up — if that makes sense.

As for the gameplay, it’s vintage pinball, through and through, from shooting skill shots to taking down drop targets.  Some shots, like on the Fantastic Four table, can take a little time to master.  But you’ve got unlimited credits on these tables, so it’s time well invested.

Along with traditional solo play, Marvel Pinball 3D also supports online leaderboards, so you can try to top your friends’ best.  You can also earn Achievements, take on people locally through hot seat multiplayer (supporting up to four people), and add up your Hero and Team Score, whether you prefer playing by yourself or with others.  Most of these features were in the previous game, but we’re happy to see them back here.

The only downfall to Marvel Pinball 3D is Zen Studios’ decision making on the tables.  As we stated earlier, a Spider-Man table would’ve been novel with the movie coming and all, and even the Wolverine table could top the Fantastic Four and Blade ones.  And where are the Avengers Chronicles?  Were they too complicated to get in the initial collection?




Despite such small issues, Marvel Pinball 3D is widely recommended for Nintendo 3DS owners.  Zen Studios did a great job compressing these four tables into handheld form, and with decent 3D effects to boot.  And with the support of both local multiplayer and online features, there’ll be plenty to keep you busy.  All that’s left to do now is add extra downloadable tables to the crew down the road.  And yes, we’re looking at you, Chronicles.



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