Games News and Reviews | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Games : Highly Recommended
Release Date: December 24th, 2013 Movie Release Year: 2013

Zen Pinball 2

Overview -

Zen Studios simply can't hold back. The first next-gen platform for the studio's relentlessly realistic pinball platform, 'Zen Pinball 2,' is the PS4, and it arrives alongside some of the studio's best tables. We're reviewing both the 'Zen Pinball' platform, which serves as the base game and storefront for Zen's catalogue of tables, and a couple of their best tables. Find out if this is the simulator you've always wanted.

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
Release Date:
December 24th, 2013

Video Review


Everything about the presentation convinces me that the people over at Zen Studios have an unhealthy, albeit fruitful, obsession with old-school pinball arcades. The scoreboard, though it could've displayed a HUD-like amount of information, is set up to look like a light board. You can pull back on the plunger with your controller's stick. Everything is tilted slightly downwards as it should be. These are the kinds of small touches that make the tables in 'Zen Pinball 2' feel real.

A few virtual flairs pop up from table-to-table. Luke and Darth Vadar waltz onto the Star Wars tables as independently animated figures. A soccer player kicks the ball into play on the 'Super League Football' table. Unlike 'Plants vs. Zombies,' however, these are simple outliers to the action and don't really impede on the game's sense of realism.

Sometimes I wished they'd let go of the past a bit – it could be easier to see some of the vital scoring and resource (for 'Plants vs. Zombies') information - but most of the time I felt transported into a loud and exciting room full of onlookers and passerbys. Luckily, I never felt like I was hogging the machine.

An array of camera options make it so you're always seeing the exact amount of the table to comfortably convey the action, whether it's an all-encompassing frame or an option with intelligent movement to cover both the ball and the most important surrounding features. I opted for the latter, as it felt like where my eyes would follow on a real table.

Audio Review


The audio difference between 'Plants vs. Zombies' and 'Super League Football' is astounding in a good way. The goofy, kid-oriented narrator in 'Plants vs. Zombies' is encouraging and soft, while the enlivened British playcaller in 'Super League Football' emphatically sounds above the table like your next goal could mean victory for peace on Earth. Zen knows how to create the right atmosphere for the right table. In the case of these two tables, it's the methodical, contemplative music against the roaring crowds of a packed stadium, and of course it's the matching sound effects, like a falling Squash as it eliminates a groaning zombie.

As with 'Plants vs. Zombies,' Zen also makes a point of sticking to its source material with impressive loyalty. The Hulk might bellow on his table while Darth Vadar beckons with his alarmingly fierce voice on another, both of them echoing with the aged vibrations of a cheap sound box in a cranky pinball machine.

Final Thoughts

At this point, no matter the platform, 'Zen Pinball 2' is bursting with great tables. If you enjoy pinball then you're bound to find a table that suits your style. I did with 'Super League Football' on the PS4 and 'Plants vs. Zombies' on the Wii U. You may with any number of 'Star Wars' or Marvel themed tables. Some of Zen Studio's own creations might even suck you in. 'Earth Defense Force' is goofy fun, and the free 'Sorcerer's Lair' on PS4 is a perfect starter table, though it doesn't quite last like the two I reviewed. The point is – you needn't look further than Zen Studios and their masterful recreation of the true pinball atmosphere in 'Zen Pinball 2.' There's a reason these guys are dominating the virtual pinball market, and it's not because others haven't tried.