First Impressions: Zen Pinball 3D

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.