Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles review
The partnership between Zen Studios and Marvel Comics has been a beneficial one to both parties. Marvel has been able to spread its influence across a whole new field of video games, while Zen Studios, making pinball games are great as they do, have been putting together some great ideas for tables, mostly based on popular heroes like Iron Man and Wolverine. But with its latest pack, Avengers Chronicles, it instead mostly focuses on story ideas, based on popular arcs from series that are well respected by the comic universe. And it’s a brilliant idea that pays off in spades, as this pack is quite simply the best one from the development team to date.
This pack, which sells for $9.99 (that’s roughly $2.50 a table) consists of four different tables to play with – Fear Itself, World War Hulk, The Infinity Gauntlet and an offering dedicated to the box office hit film that just got released last month. Each one has something different to offer in the way of skill shots, targets to drop and story chapters to complete, so there’s no way you’re going to get tired of them anytime soon. In fact, we’re still having a hard time choosing a favorite.
We could easily call the movie-licensed Avengers table the weakest link, but, honestly, it’s not. Though the voice acting is replicated from the film rather than sourced directly from it (probably due to cost issues), the sound-alikes fill the part, and the table still gives you plenty of action, most of it based on events that happen in the movie. Plus, you get to choose from various balls that are colored based on members of the Avengers team, which is pretty awesome. You can even play them however you choose and hear their effects in battle.
The other tables hold up even better. Fear Itself is a deep, entertaining table, filled with plenty of awesome battles featuring Thor and Loki, amongst other characters, and plenty of shots that will keep you busy as you bump your score into the millions. World War Hulk works mostly the same way, with plenty of battles to partake in and shots to make as new rounds start up. We can’t get enough of either.
Perhaps the best, though, is Infinity Gauntlet. Featuring a mighty Thanos among other threats, this table actually uses power gems to generate different effects on the table, from reversing your polarity on your flippers to activating an awesome Black Hole mini-game. Watching these change the unpredictable nature of the table is invigorating, and a nice change of pace from the usual pinball table rules. It’s amazing stuff.
Along with outstanding graphic designs for each table and a multitude of helpful camera angles, Avengers Chronicles also benefits from solid pinball physics, which Zen Studios has nailed down to a science. It can get a little fast at times, but for the most part, the games are fair, and you can aim properly to get your shots off just right. Likewise, the audio is killer stuff, between solid voicework for teach table, small music compositions and plenty of explosive sound effects to make you feel like you’re in the heat of each battle.
Though there may not be many more offerings from Zen Studios and Marvel to come after Avengers Chronicles, there should be. This is a partnership that has produced a number of affordable hits over the years, and we can always use more tables of this ilk to keep us busy – especially those supported by competitive online leaderboards that will draw players in for more action. Let’s hope their partnership endures and that these Avengers assemble once more sometime soon.