Each table varies in tone to the other; whether it be the automotive "V12" or the Honda advert inspired "Tesla". There's no standout here - each is as glorious as the last with DLC promised for the future.
Zen Pinball costs £6.29/$9.99 from the Playstation Store and has a brimming list of features from 4-player online play to scoreboards and in-game video chat. It's the complete package.
From the very second you load up Zen Pinball and you're taken to a gloriously rendered pinball table from which to select your game mode you know it's special. The camera sweeps around the table as you select icons, and you'd be perfectly forgiven for being blown away before the game even starts. Then you load up a table and you know you're going to have fun. The tables are chunky, gloriously animated and perfectly designed. LED animations complete the experience but everything from the sound, to the Marble-Run style design, to the flipping (pun intended - Ed) pause menu will have you invested. Second only to flower, Zen Pinball has some of the best graphics we've seen from the PSN.
When you're browsing menus or waiting for a multiplayer game to start, Zen Pinball wants to constantly keep you in the loop with the game's community. Who's having a multiplayer win streak? Who's just got a high score? Who's got the best score-per-second ratio? It's nothing new, but it's cute and it works in the scenario of a pinball game. The incentive to play better is constantly lurking, making Zen Pinball's community not only ridiculously addictive, but attractively inviting too.
Not content with having an excellent range of tables, gorgeous presentation and a decent scoreboard mechanic; Zen Pinball also has a pretty decent multiplayer mode. The standard match is a well constructed "race-to-the-total" affair which punishes losing balls. It's not exactly the most invigorating multiplayer type of all time, but in its fast matchmaking and lobby system we're sure it'll find a niche. There's also "Hotseat" which is essentially a take-it-in-turns co-op type mode.
So, again, Zen Pinball is hardly reinventing the wheel with its feature-set; but it's the fact that it collects and collates all the best features of the Playstation 3 into one relevent place that make it so worthwhile. There's video chat in the multiplayer, which occupies the upper-left corner of the screen. Custom soundtracks. Tournaments. Scoreboards. You name it, the game does it. And the key thing is, it never gets in the way. Zen Pinball is an excellent pinball game first and foremost, but it also has a range of well implemented features to keep you hooked.
We're nit-picking. We admit it. But we hate down-time at the best of times, especially loading. Some of the tables can take a little bit too long to load up. Thankfully once they're loaded you can keep playing on the table as many times as you want with no further loading to worry about.
We can't deny the fact that Zen Pinball is in fact a pinball game. If for some crazy reason you don't like super enjoyable pinball games then, well, this isn't for you.
We think we've done a decent job telling you why Zen Pinball is good but even with our recommendation we can see this game flying by with little to no fanfare. Come on guys, it's £6.29/$9.99. It's not going to break the bank. We think you'll really like it.
To say Zen Pinball might in fact be the PSN sleeper hit of the year, is probably understating matters. Fact is, Zen Pinball is one of the most addictive, well thought out and beautifully presented packages we've come across in a while. Simply the perfect pinball experience.