Plants vs. Zombies Pinball from Zen Studios for the PC (Steam) and PS Vita (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)
March 23, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Plants vs. Zombies” is a fantastic pinball table for “Pinball FX2” and I can only hope that the collaboration between Zen Studios and PopCap Games continues because this pinball table was addictive and awesome! “Plants vs. Zombies” pinball is highly recommended!
“Plants Vs. Zombies is under the copyright of PopCap Games and “Pinball FX2” is under the copyright of Zen Studios. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO GAME TITLE: Plants vs. Zombies Pinball
TYPE OF GAME: Pinball
PLATFORM GAME REVIEWED: STEAM PC GAME/PS VITA
DEVELOPER: Zen Studios
PUBLISHED: Microsoft Game Studios
RELEASE DATE: March 2014
Sewn together from the meaty bits of PopCap’s hit title, Plants vs. Zombies Pinball brings the zombie invasion to the pinball playfield. It’s time to grow your plants, collect sunlight, plan your defenses, and repel the Zombie Invasion!
Since 2007, Zen Studios has been the jet setter when it comes to pinball games on all video game platforms.
From featuring “Star Wars” and various Marvel Comics superheroes and superhero teams comes a new collaboration between the company and PopCap Games with the release of “Plants vs. Zombies” pinball for multiple home and portable consoles.
Since 2009, “Plants vs. Zombies” has been a major title for PopCap Games, receiving rave reviews and winning awards for game design and innovation and what better than to take the various characters from the game and letting Zen Studios creating a pinball version.
The results with “Plants vs. Zombies” pinball is a table that is vibrant, colorful and as always from Zen Studios… fantastic!
With “Plants vs. Zombies” for “Pinball FX2”, Zen Studios takes the concept of pinball for the digital realm by introducing various acts, special effects, audio and gameplay elements that you won’t typically experience on a real machine.
For pinball purists who have played a digital pinball game, yes the game requires you to shoot the ball, use your flippers to hit the ball and you can briefly nudge the machine (nudge it too much and you are in danger of tilting). You lose a ball each time it falls down through the center (between the flippers) or far left and right boundaries of the game. The good news is that if you quickly lose a ball not long after a launch, you are given another chance with a free play ball.
But various tables offer more than just the ability to score more points. It also allows you to fight various villains and take part in mini-games, if your ball is able to reach a certain location and certain goals are met.
On Steam via PC, the controls are primarily [Enter] to shoot the ball, shift keys for trigger and [c] for changing table views. For the PS Vita, you are using the should trigger buttons and using the [x] button or analog stick to shoot the ball.
Prior to playing “Pinball FX2” on Steam, I played various tables on the XB360 and PS3 console. On Steam, I will tell you that your mileage may vary when it comes to computer use and operating system. The older the PC, you can expect some lag.
Otherwise, I have been playing this game on my laptop with Windows 7, another via Windows 8.1 and tested the game on a PC with Vista and the game runs perfectly smooth. Ran it on an older PC and I saw lag when it came to using the triggers but like any game, the more recent the computer and a good amount of memory, you should be fine!
On PS Vita, controls are quite easy as the location of the shoulder trigger buttons are very convenient.
As for common questions in regards to controls:
Which is better, keyboard or controller pad on Steam?
As for my choice on using an XB360 controller or the keyboard, it is subjective. I tried both and enjoy both but I do recommend a keyboard if you have no lag, while a controller pad is much better to use if you do experience a little lag.
I’ve actually tested various heights of my keyboard to see which I felt comfortable with the keyboard and also what distance from playing the various tables. As mentioned, I have played these on my console, sitting about 10 feet away. But playing it on Steam and having a chance to have the monitor up-close, I can see the flippers on bottom and top and table details much more clearly, so I felt I had better visual perspective in coming up with strategies of how to hit the ball and where to hit.
How are the physics of the game?
Physics for this game on Steam was perfect. I had no issues of balls reacting differently during bounces. If anything, physics for “Plants vs. Zombies” were accurate.
GRAPHICS & AUDIO:
The graphics for the “Plants vs. Zombies” table was vibrant and colorful. From playing the game on a big 27 to 55″ HDTV or monitor, on my laptop or playing on the PS Vita screen, the game look absolutely great!
While I do prefer playing pinball games on a bigger screen, on the PS Vita, I admit that I was worried that playing on a smaller screen would be difficult. But after a half hour of playing, I felt comfortable playing on the Vita and the smaller screen was easy to get used to.
Audio is another plus as the original narrator for the “Plants vs. Zombies” game is utilized, the music from the game is utilized and for the most part, the audio for the “Plants vs. Zombies” pinball table sounds great!
“Plants vs. Zombies” pinball is a game with a lot of replay value if you are into getting high scores. With the number of challenges available to unlock, one will find themselves playing this game over and over. It’s quite addicting!
After a string of awesome pinball games featuring “Star Wars” and “Marvel” characters/groups, it’s great to see Zen Studios collaborating with other companies and in this case, PopCap Games in developing a “Plants vs. Zombies” pinball game.
As a fan of Zen Studios “Pinball FX2” games and “Plants vs. Zombies”, I felt that Zen Studios did a fantastic job by creating a colorful table but also giving credit to them for creating a game that will no doubt attract many other gamers in trying a digital pinball game.
With “Plants vs. Zombies”, there is a bit more interaction than other pinball games as you want to choose the right character/weaponry to fight against the zombies and love the fact that they added the element of equipping a certain character/weapon to fight against zombies rushing in is a plus. The table is also simple but complex enough that you can spend a lot of time figuring out how to activate a challenge, how to get a ball to select a flower pot and get multi-balls and more!
While I may not have surpassed the 100,000,000+ points as some of my counterparts who have been enjoying the game, I have to say that “Plants vs. Zombies” is one of the fun pinball games I have had because of its character use, the colorful and creative table is quite unique especially with the added gameplay during challenges.
As for my preference for Steam and PS Vita, personally, I enjoy both. The Steam version and the video game consoles allow for a bigger screen, while the PS Vita does have a smaller screen but it takes a while to get used to and the positive aspect is that the Vita is portable and so, I love the fact that you can play this game on a commute and easily come back to the game hours later and start where you last left off.
And while I enjoy using the XBOX 360 controller as a primary controller to play the game and have used the shift/enter buttons on my PC keyboard, the PS Vita layout was quite comfortable as well, using the should trigger buttons.
But the gameplay was smooth and enjoyable, controls were easy on both Steam and PS Vita and as mention, Zen Studios did a great job in creating a “Plants vs. Zombies” pinball table.
May you be a fan of pinball games or not, Zen Studios has catapulted themselves in being the best company when it comes to creating digital pinball games and creating tables on established names from film, comic books, video games and more.
Overall, “Plants vs. Zombies” pinball is a fantastic pinball table for “Pinball FX2” and I can only hope that the collaboration between Zen Studios and PopCap Games continues because this pinball table was addictive and awesome!
“Plants vs. Zombies” pinball is highly recommended!
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