Virtual pinball wizards the world over have plenty to be excited about as Zen Studios announces the upcoming release of Zen Pinball 2 on the PlayStation 4. A select group of tables will be available when the game arrives on Dec. 17.
The original Zen Pinball on the PlayStation 3 is actually responsible for getting me into physical pinball here in the real world. Through the original game, I learned the rules of pinball, how to understand each unique table and how to get the ball to (mostly) do what I want it to do. That's how spot-on the game is: It emulates pinball well enough that my newfound skills transferred over into meatspace. I'm not great or anything, but I've earned myself a new hobby because of it, so that's got to count for something.
Then came Zen Pinball 2 which, along with updated versions of the original tables, has since offered up a boatload of new tables for players to enjoy, including originals and those built on licensed properties.
What sets Zen apart from other virtual table collections is its unique arcade feel. Since this is a video game, the studio takes full advantage of that fact, including play modes, animations and table features that couldn't be pulled off in the real world. Some pinball purists scoff at that kind of interaction but I, for one, find it refreshing. I can get more realistic pinball at the arcade or through other video game options. I like that Zen brings something new to the table.
And speaking of something new, when Zen Pinball 2 launches on Dec. 14, it will be with the brand new Doctor Strange table in tow, according to Zen's announcement. This latest addition to the Marvel Pinball collection of tables will offer players on the PS4, PS3 and Vita a chance to play as the Sorcerer Supreme for $2.99 and, just like everything else Zen Studios does, it'll be cross-buy for all platforms.
That's possibly the best news of all: If you already own ZP2 for the PS3 or Vita, those next gen tables can be downloaded onto your new console at no additional charge. That's what I call dedication to a loyal fan base.
For all of the uninitiated, though, the Sorcerer's Layer table will be available at launch for exactly zero dollars, no strings attached. Think of it as one of the best demos ever. You can download Zen Pinball 2 and have immediate, unlimited access to the Sorcerer's Lair table without ever spending a penny. From there, you can buy any of the other tables or packs that happen to catch your fancy.
The initial batch of tables includes the original Marvel Pinball pack, with tables like Wolverine, Spider-Man and Blade, the Marvel Pinball Avengers Chronicles, with tables like World War Hulk and Infinity Gauntlet, the Star Wars Pinball and Balance of the Force packs, with tables based on multiple Star Wars movies, TV shows and characters, as well as Zen Pinball original and licensed tables including Earth Defense, Paranormal, Epic Quest and Plants vs Zombies.