Zen Studios, known for bringing such licenses to the pinball world as the Avengers and Spider-Man, turns their attention towards one of PopCap’s best-selling titles with the release of Plants Vs. Zombies for Pinball FX2 on XBLA and Zen Pinball 2 on the PS3. Those familiar with the popular tower defense game will no doubt love Zen’s take on the series.
Plants Vs. Zombies is known for it’s colorful design, cute and silly characters, and amusing animation. Zen Studios was able to bring all of this to a pinball table seamlessly. One advantage of a virtual pinball table over a real one is in how the unreality of it should naturally allow for more liberties to be taken. In this case, zombies pop out of the ground, Crazy Dave can drive his car across the table, sunflowers dance, and pinballs turn into seeds and other unexpected objects. These sort of things are definitely not something you’d find in an old arcade pinball machine!
On the downside, the table seemed somewhat easier than previous tables I’ve played, as I was able to rack up a much higher score and earn the lone achievement the game offers with few issues and in a relatively short period of time. The ease of play doesn’t really take away from the fun, though. The game actually has a lot of challenges for you to discover along the way, and a number of little surprises to spring on you. One of the more amusing ones I found was when my ball turned into a walnut, complete with eyes. I thought this was a nice touch and displayed the developers’ obvious knowledge of the source material.
Like any other pinball game, it’s best not to jump in right away. I actually enjoyed the opening pan across the table. Unusually for one of these things, there are secrets revealed here which you might not otherwise notice, and viewing all the details they slipped into it also gave me a better appreciation of not only the animation proper, which could go overlooked in the course of play, but all the work that went into making it. Nice job.
Zen Studios (the videogame company, not the live action Japanese video production company) proves that pinball, the OG of the arcade era, is not dead yet, at least in terms of the virtual console. The combination of pinball and Plants vs. Zombies was a real win win for me, as a fan of both pinball and the PvZ series. And hey, you really can’t beat the price.
I love colorful designs and Plants Vs. Zombies Pinball is a great example of that. I can sympathize with the plants banding together in defense of their home. Even beyond the whole issue of protecting the rainforests, wetlands, and park areas, we’ve had to do that many times ourselves, against the Misfits. Oh, and that mean old Zipper. He even caused Starlight House to burn down!
I say take what you want, consequences be damned. A good lawyer can get you out of anything. I never spent one minute in jail and I know I’ve had my share of close calls. What makes those damn plants think they can stop the zombies? Bring on that global warming and urban sprawl, we need more huge empty parking lots and less forests and gardens anyway!
Best song to describe the game:
It’s Fun to be Scared from Trick or Techrat and It Takes A Lot from Island of Deception.
Overall Score: 8.0