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Zen Pinball 3D - Preview

posted 10 Jan 2012, 10:44 by Knuckles Sonic8   [ updated 10 Jan 2012, 10:46 ]
With development team Zen Studios at the helm, Zen Pinball 3D is a great fit for the eShop, much better than any package that could have been designed for the retail space. With Europe already getting an extended turn with the arcade tables, it's time for 3DS owners in North America to have a go at things. What can you look forward to come this Thursday when the game releases?

The downloadable title features four different pinball tables: Excalibur, Eldorado, Shaman, and Earth Defense. While all of them share the same basic features including metal rails, ball saver triggers, and flashing panels, each table carries a specific all-encompassing theme that affects the different gimmicks that are made available. For instance, the setup of the Eldorado stage evokes a feeling of curiousity, and with that, you have secret compartments that open up after meeting certain conditions, as well as trap doors that can lead to misfortune (like poison) or treasure (like in the case of the secret tomb). Part of the fun comes from discovering these secrets for yourself, but there is a Table Guide so you can get a breakdown of the different gimmicks present.

Furthermore, these secrets aren't just limited to the Eldorado stage. Each table has its own sense of mystery to it and different goals you can set for yourself, but these are always presented with a different feel. Unique challenges are featured on each board with a huge payout bonus for completing them. When these occur, you'll see text appear on or scroll across the digital panel on the Touch Screen to signify that you've triggered something special. Moving your eyes to the bottom screen to view these messages can be tricky to manage while you also focus on the ball traveling on the upper screen. But in the case of some of these challenges, the ball will stop moving for a few seconds so you can get a chance to glance at the text.

I'm also really liking the features they've incorporated here. Acknowledging that sessions can last more time than a person anticipates, the developers have allowed players to go back to in-progress games on their next visit. More noteworthy, though, is how they've made use of the 3DS' Friends List function. Whenever you beat a local high-score, a bubble will appear on the Touch Screen to congratulate you on the accomplishment and push you towards the next score goal. But beyond just the default records, the game also uses scores submitted by people on your Friends List to spur you on. And even outside the game on the Friends List itself, those you're connected to are able to learn where you are in the game, whether you're on the Main Menu or actually playing a table. It's pretty cool, and it sets a nice example for other developers to follow.

Featuring exciting tables to play on with additional content promised by way of DLC, you should definitely consider picking up Zen Pinball 3D this Thursday. We'll have a full review of this game in the coming days ahead.