Game Review: Zen Pinball 2 – Balls Of Glory (PS Vita)

I’m a pinball addict. There. I’ve said it. I can’t help but get excited whenever a new table or pack of tables is announced for The Pinball Arcade or Zen Pinball 2 regardless of the subject matter so once again this latest pack from Zen Studios celebrating four cult American animated TV shows grabbed my attention even before the tables were downloaded to the PS Vita. I already knew that the Balls Of Glory pack, featuring four new tables licenced from Family Guy, American Dad, Bob’s Burgers and Archer was going to be an interesting set for me as I wasn’t really a fan of any of the shows and – being completely frank – I hadn’t seen any episodes of American Dad, Bob’s Burgers or Archer and only a handful of Family Guy so the pack had a lot to do to win me over…

Kicking off the pack is American Dad, following the hapless adventures of patriotic Stan who is determined single-handedly to save his country at any cost. It’s a frantic table with alot going on all the time with the pace never slowing down for a second although with this one I felt that all of the sound clips left me a little bewildered, not understanding any of the series references. Visually stunning though capturing the cartoon look perfectly.

The adult-oriented spy series Archer is tackled next. Despite being a show aimed at a more mature audience, the table itself is family friendly (fortunately!) and is a fun spy caper. Gadgets? Check. Action fight sequences against bad guys? Check. Wise-cracking female love interest? Check. Dramatic big band theme? Check. Basically, everything you’d expect from a secret agent table is here – plenty of mini games, accessible, but most importantly a fun table regardless of what you think of the show.

Next up is Bob’s Burgers and this time it’s a series, being honest, that I hadn’t actually heard of let alone watched. The first thing that struck me here was the look of the table – great graphics and on-table animation really helped give me the impression that this could be a fun, light-hearted table. This is actually a strange beast as it doesn’t actually feel like a licensed table. Playing this, it could be just any fast-food themed table with any random group of characters and it would just play exactly the same. It’s a fun table if a little frustrating at times as I did feel that the number of ramps on the table compared with the more limited range of targets sometimes made it easier than normal to lose the ball in relation to many of the other tables released by Zen Studios but other than that it’s still an enjoyable table.

Finally I moved onto Family Guy, the only show covered that I’d actually seen and it has to be said that I’d saved the best to last! Visually the table was up to the same high standards of all of the rest in the pack, but while the table was frantic and intense as with American Dad, it never felt cluttered or overwhelming at any point. It manages to capture the spirit and humour of the series remarkably well and the mini games blend in with the table seamlessly making for an incredibly well-rounded pinball game.

As a whole package, there’s no faulting the graphics and sound as is the norm for Zen Pinball 2. On the visual side of things, every table is meticulously crafted and in this case each table could be lifted straight from their respective television shows with ease. Sound is just as impressive with a great selection of music and plenty of speech I presume taken from the shows themselves (in previous licensed games Zen have re-recorded dialogue with soundalikes) making a perfect package for fans of the shows.

The big question really is how appealing would this package be for the average Zen Pinball 2 enthusiast. Even with no interest in most of the shows, I still enjoyed playing all of the tables on offer here. While I wasn’t overly enamoured with American Dad, the other three tables more than made up for this and as a collection overall it’s certainly a set worth adding to the ever-expanding Zen Pinball 2 range. The highlight certainly has to be Family Guy or Archer although I’d say that Archer just nabs the top spot for me but regardless of what your opinions are of any of the featured animated shows, this is another pack that is worth buying for your PS Vita or PlayStation TV!

At A Glance

  • Title: Zen Pinball 2 – Balls Of Glory
  • Publisher: Zen Studios
  • Format: PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: Yes (PS3 / PS4 – must buy PS Vita or PS3 version to obtain PS4 version)
  • Cross Play: No
  • Cross Save: Yes (high scores only)
  • Local Multiplayer: Yes (round table format)
  • Online Multiplayer: Yes
  • PlayStation TV Compatible: Yes

Vita Player Rating - 09

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About Simon Plumbe 906 Articles
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I'm an animal lover and vegetarian.Enjoyed this and my other articles? Why not buy me a coffee: http://ko-fi.com/simonplumbe

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