Game Review: Zen Pinball 2 – The Walking Dead (PS Vita)

Zen Pinball 2 - The Walking Dead PS Vita

The Walking Dead has become a global phenomenon since it broke onto the comics scene back in 2003. Created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, the tale of a group of survivors of zombie outbreak of apocalyptic proportions, it’s spawned a series of games, a TV series (which itself is launching a spin-off show) and shows no signs of slowing down. While the series has its own loyal fanbase, Telltale Games looked to the original source material when developing their episodic adventure for the PS3 (later ported to the Vita) and it’s this game where this latest table from Zen Studios draws its inspiration…

Using the same cel-shaded comic book style graphics for all of the on-table characters and table art, before you even start to play you can’t fail to be impressed by the the game’s looks. For those of you who are a fan of the original game, you’re immediately drawn in and it just feels right and like a part of the Walking Dead universe that Kirkman, Moore and Adlard have created. All of the main characters from the game are presented, with Lee and Clementine taking the lead role on the table (as they do in the game itself) with the original voice cast returning to reprise their roles for the table.

Spanning all five chapters, the table takes you through the whole story from start to finish with a multitude of ramps, sub tables, familiar elements from the game and segments involving the dot matrix display where you have to make the same key decisions that appeared in the main game – making life or death decisions, and other key choices that affected the flow of the story in the PS3 and Vita title. There are the now-expected mini games built in as well including a shooting gallery which switches to a first-person view where you find yourself looking down the viewfinder of a sniper rifle having to take out walkers across a street for bonus points, and another game mode where you have to flip your ball precisely at lit ramps while walkers are attempting to block you.

Spreading the flow of the table over the five chapters and including the decision making elements means that the table sticks to the game’s story remarkably well, but that still doesn’t stop it from still playing equally well as a self-contained table whether you’re familar with the original title or not and that’s something incredibly inmportant in any licensed title as I found with Zen Studios recent Deadpool table. In fact, just like the aforementioned Deadpool, this is an stunningly crafted table with an astonishing level of detail and variety of gameplay crammed into it and it is fiendishly addictive and would be with or without the license behind it… but being associated with The Walking Dead really does bring that extra flourish to the game.

The visuals, as I said before, are breathtaking and are easily on par with the original game itself and the music and sound effects are hauntingly effective and will have you on the edge of your seat. With the groans of the walkers continually throughout the game, this is one pinball table that you won’t want to play with headphones on and with the lights out!

Zen Studios have managed to deliver the goods yet again and I am truly amazed at the consistency at the quality of tables that they’ve managed to produce. Everything has been faithful to the source material while still managing to deliver superb arcade pinball games. They may say that you can’t please everyone all the time but in the case of Zen Pinball 2 and what Zen Studios are doing with their current wave of releases, they’re proving everyone wrong. An absolute must-have table and unbelievable value for money.

Simon Plumbe

At A Glance

  • Title: Zen Pinball 2 – The Walking Dead
  • Publisher: Zen Studios
  • System: PS Vita
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: Yes
  • Online Multiplayer: Yes
  • Local Multiplayer: Yes
  • Memory Card Space Needed:

Vita Player Rating - 10

Note: Screenshots are generic shots provided by Zen Studios but are representative of how the PS Vita version of the game looks during play.

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3 Comments on Game Review: Zen Pinball 2 – The Walking Dead (PS Vita)

  1. The “Zen” pinball games are fantastic… But I hate the way all of their content is broken-up into a thousand-and-one downloads!

    Rather than offering “Zen Pinball” with DLC (downloadable content), they offer “Star Wars Pinball”, “Marvel Pinball”, “Zen Pinball” and so forth…

    It makes it confusing, particularly when one is trying to identify what has and has not been bought – as I said, they should just offer “Zen Pinball” with everything else being DLC.

    • “Rather than offering “Zen Pinball” with DLC (downloadable content), they offer “Star Wars Pinball”, “Marvel Pinball”, “Zen Pinball” and so forth…”

      Each with their own DLC, I might add.

  2. I don’t think it’s too bad the way it’s working right now. Marvel Pinball was discontinued a while ago when Zen Pinball 2 was released and people could transfer all the tables they had purchased across to ZP2.

    With Star Wars Pinball, it does offer a slightly extended SW gameplay element to it and does appeal more to the hardcore Star Wars fan at no extra cost so I can understand the logic of offering the tables as two separate options (if you play the tables through SW Pinball you can choose to play as the dark side or light side) but in any case you only pay once.

    Other than that, every table now – including all the Marvel ones – just run through the Zen Pinball 2 front end and that’s how I play everything and it’s pretty easy to see what I have and haven’t got… although saying that I get all the tables on the day they’re released!

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