It’s pretty obvious that the business deal between Marvel Games and Zen Studios is quite good. Ever since Marvel Pinball launched for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, it’s been drawing in fans from around the world, eager to play on tables dedicated to the likes of Wolverine, Iron Man and even Moon Knight — a hero you don’t see exploited often enough in games. This summer, the pair are looking to expand on the Marvel universe once again, but this time with story-based tables, rather than ones plainly based on heroes.
Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles introduces four intricately designed tables to the pack, each one based on a significant chapter in the comic books’ line-up. Three are based on stories that have been popular over the years, while the fourth is based on the upcoming film, set to hit theaters on May 4 (yeah, like you didn’t know already).
With Fear Itself (based on 2011 comic), World War Hulk (based on a 2007 crossover), The Avengers’ licensed table and The Infinity Gauntlet (based on a series made back in 1991), players will be able to experience familiar events from each of these books, all based around the rules of pinball. So you’ll be making skill shots and occasionally doing multiplayer rounds, racking up the high score as the events unfold in each of the tables. Each one is very intricate to the storylines, thanks to Marvel’s involvement and the dedicated developers at Zen Studios, who have been doing this pinball thing quite successfully over the years, like with Zen Pinball and Pinball FX 2.
Each table will “shake things” up in their own way, with animated characters performing actions on each of them. With The Avengers, you’ll see the team assembling and battling Loki and his army. Iron Man will be playing around with his technical gear (as Tony Stark only can), Thor will be swinging his hammer like crazy, and Hulk will be smashing, as he always does, when intruders arrive. The game features them jumping around the table, but never to the point that they get in the way of the action. Furthermore, the multiplayer round will introduce specially designed balls, as if each of the Avengers are taking part in the fight.
Fear Itself features a medieval style setting familiar to Loki’s world, with warriors threatening one another and a dragon spitting out the ball at you, as you can see in the game’s trailer. There will be plenty to shoot at on this table, as well as supercharged balls that mean a world of difference in battle for Thor — or, in this case, Thunderstrike?
World War Hulk pits the big green guy against a number of his adversaries, including the Thing, Wolverine and others, as he takes on the world’s greatest. He’ll look pretty funky in some outfits, but there’s no question he’ll bring the pain for this table. But, um, where’s She-Hulk?
Last but not least is The Infinity Gauntlet, and this could be the most creative table of the group, mainly because it uses gems. By activating said gems on the table, you can actually change the effects on it, such as gravity or slowing things down. It’s really unpredictable and features appearances by the likes of Silver Surfer and Thanos, among others.
All four tables are wonderfully designed — from what we’ve seen — and the special effects will really bring out the best in players. Furthermore, the online leaderboards promise plenty of competition. Get ready to kick your score into the billions.
We were concerned for a while that we wouldn’t see an official Avengers game in time for the film’s launch, and while this isn’t quite the action game we were looking for, Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles will certainly fit the bill. Look for it on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and PS Vita in mid-May.