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First Impressions: Zen Pinball 3D

Posted by Corbie Dillard

We take the game for a spin

Zen Studios has become quite well-known for its pinball simulations released across several gaming platforms in recent years, but now the company is looking to jump into the 3DS eShop pool with the upcoming Zen Pinball 3D.

The folks at Zen Studios were kind enough to send over a preview build of the game, which we promptly took for a spin. And while the game doesn't stray too far from what we've seen over the years in various pinball simulations, the added depth of the 3D adds an impressive level of realism.

When you begin the game, you'll be able to choose from four different pinball tables. There's everything from the medieval-themed Excalibur machine to the tribal-themed layout of the Shaman table. And although the layouts of the tables are similar, there are enough variations to make each one stand out.

While the single-player experience is the meat of the package, and quite fun in and of itself, there is an added Hot Seat mode that will allow up to four players to use the same 3DS system in a scoring competition of sorts. It might not be quite as intensive as a head-to-head competition, but it's still a good way to get multiple players involved, without the need for everyone to own the game and a 3DS .

The entire presentation of Zen Pinball 3D features a solid level of realism, and the game even allows you to choose from eight different viewing angles to suit your preference. The tables themselves are all gorgeous and benefit from the depth of the 3D, giving quite the wild visual ride.

To further compliment the wide variety of pinball tables, each machine also comes complete with its own unique musical selection to go along with its theme. There are even a host of realistic pinball sound effects and voiced dialog bits to further liven up the audio presentation. And much like the visual package, there's plenty of polish in this facet of the game as well.

There might be those who feel that the pinball simulation has been done to death over the years, but Zen Studios' experience shines in its latest creation. Gorgeous visuals, tight controls and a nice set of unlockables give pinball fans plenty of content to sink their teeth into. And for those who are still undecided, we'll have a full review of the title shortly after its eShop release.

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User Comments (34)

HeroOfCybertron

#2

HeroOfCybertron said:

If you can answer this can you tell me if you use the D pad and A,B,X,Y buttons to control the flippers or do you have to use the L and R buttons to control the flippers?

RaylaxStaff

#3

Raylax said:

This is on eShop? Neat. When I saw the vid on there, I assumed it was a retail title. Will definitely pick up, then.

CorbsAdmin

#4

Corbs said:

You can use the shoulder buttons, but you can also use any direction on the D-Pad for the left flipper and the "B" button for the right flipper.

EvisceratorX

#9

EvisceratorX said:

I always was meaning to play a zen pinball game. I loved pinball pulse:the ancients beckon on DSiware even though it wasn't a zen game.

Slapshot

#10

Slapshot said:

I've been playing these tables for years on my PS3 regularly and I can't wait to get them in 3D! :)

LordJumpMad

#11

LordJumpMad said:

I love a good pinball game.
If this game is anything like Pinball Pulse: The Ancients Beckon on DSiware, then its a insa buy for me.
So far, nothing have top Pinball Pulse's pinball games.

DarkEdi

#12

DarkEdi said:

I thought it was a retail game and i was prepared to search it in stores, but when i see it is a 3dsware launch i thought "an instant mus buy!!!"

therube

#16

therube said:

any idea if they're going to offer more tables as DLC? between Zen Pinball on PS3 and Pinbal FX on 360, they've got better than a dozen tables designed. I'd love to play the Rocky and Bullwinkle or Nikola Tesla tables...

therube

#17

therube said:

any idea if they're going to offer more tables as DLC? between Zen Pinball on PS3 and Pinbal FX on 360, they've got better than a dozen tables designed. I'd love to play the Rocky and Bullwinkle or Nikola Tesla tables...

Xkhaoz

#19

Xkhaoz said:

I love me some pinball, so this will be an obvious purchase for me. Unless it's too expensive

Daisaku36

#20

Daisaku36 said:

Hopefully the eShop gets a lot more support from developers (and advertizing from Nintendo)...

StarDust4Ever

#21

StarDust4Ever said:

I may have to look into this! ;) I'm a fan of pinball simulators and I also want to see more 3DSWare releases...

mac_hine

#22

mac_hine said:

Very Excited for this! Big fan of video game pinball when done right! wonder how much it will be...

Also, for all you pinball fans on the 3ds and ds: Be sure to check out Metriod Pinball if you haven't already! Its a fantastic pinball game and it's less than $10 used at GS. and of course there's Pinball Pulse on DSiWare... another goodie... as many others have already stated ;-)

Kreegs07

#24

Kreegs07 said:

When the studio sends you a copy of a downloadable game, do they send it to you as a cart? Or how does that work?

LEGEND_MARIOID

#25

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Yeah, have to agree with Moosa. Metroid Prime Pinball > Pinball Pulse - though PP is decentish as well. Looking fwd to this 3DSware offering of Zen

Tate24

#27

Tate24 said:

Seen this on the eshop
and got say 3D looked really good!

We need more 3DSware games.
Am still playing golf 3D

but nintendo and other development teams need get there games moving on to eshop!

Were all crieing out for more 3D games but there not coming out fast enough!!! :(

Sam_Loser2

#29

Sam_Loser2 said:

Until release dates are announced, I can't help but scoff at the abstract idea that is good 3DSware.

Just seems so far away with no defininate time frame and "Let's Golf!" as our only 3DSware example.

michiganurse

#30

michiganurse said:

I have it on the PS3 and sadly it collects dust. It was cool for a shot time then it just got plain boring really quick. I Cannot honestly recommend this can unless you are just nuts over pinball games.

Aqueous

#31

Aqueous said:

I haven't played a good pinball game since I had this amazing computer pinball that had a variety of levels and let you have crazy numbers of pinballs at once, forget if it was a certain score to advance or if you could pick and when you were done it exited to mahjong which you could play or exit to finish, I miss that game. Maybe this will become a new pinball for me to enjoy, we shall see.

mushroomer

#34

mushroomer said:

zen pinball didnt get that great reviews for the xbox or ps3.. ill wait til i see a demo or something.. not an instabuy for me.. Pinball Pulse for DSiWare only.. bummer.. if they allowed transfer to 3ds, id be a happy camper..

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