Review: Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron Pinball (Sony PlayStation 4/3/Vita)

coverMarvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron Pinball
Publisher: Zen Studios
Developer: Zen Studios
Genre: Pinball Arcade
Release Date: 04/21/2015

Zen Pinball 2 and all the wonderful tables I’m amassing for it has really made it one of my favorites on my various PlayStation devices. So when we get new tables in for review I make with the grabby hands because I really like what Zen Studios has been doing with them and they’re usually a lot of fun. Their take on the Avengers: Age of Ultron here is no exception. It has a great look, is really fast paced and has lots of options for people just getting their feet wet with pinball and for those who like their tables with a little more challenge.

The table runs really fast. That never seems to change with the difficulty settings at all. Yes, there are difficulty settings. I’ll get to that. You have options at the start to run with Stark’s intro, a kind of prequel to the action here. As the board focuses on Ultron, this would be the lead up to Ultron’s introduction. We get an extra ball here to start and it can be a bit rough but it’s a way to get some nice points going if you can keep them both in play long enough. You can skip this intro if you want. If you play multiplayer in head to head, this option isn’t there and it just goes straight to the main launch for both players. It’s a nice challenge right off the bat and I love that you can skip it if you want a more traditional start to the table.

Ultron_06As usual with Zen Pinball 2, you get your usual multiplayer options of going hot seat or split screen on the same console. This obviously doesn’t apply to the Vita. On top of that though, this table has a difficulty setting. I found my sweet spot was actually on medium as it tends to net me the most points and I can usually get events to trigger pretty regularly. Hard racked up points pretty quickly but I found triggering events that can really help your score was in fact harder. Easy just didn’t work for me all that well, but if you’re not as experienced with pinball tables this one could work for you at the start.

There are a variety of theme triggers and all the main Avengers each get their own segment. Yes, even Hawkeye and Black Widow. Black Widow is actually front and to the right most of the time you’re playing instead of one of the ‘big four’ which was very cool to see. That’s probably been one of my biggest issues with everything Avengers related outside of the films is that we don’t get to see much of Clint and Natasha outside of that and here Natasha’s right up front and Hawkeye gets his own arrow shooting min-game which is awesome. Like all Zen Pinball 2 tables, your right analog stick is your launcher and the left and right trigger buttons are your respective bumpers. Everything clicks like it should while you’re playing with one exception that I’ll talk about later which is Remote Play.

Ultron_02Visually this table looks fantastic no matter which console you’re playing it on. My preference was the PS4 over the Vita and the PS3. The Vita versions of tables never quite look as good as the PS3 versions and the PS4 just loads faster. The character models they use look great and the table itself is decked out pretty well. I love that this looks more like an actual pinball table with a lot of customization than some of the Star Wars ones did where it was kind of hard to tell it was a pinball table at all. I would have preferred if Widow looked a bit more like Scarlett Johansson but since we don’t have the film actors doing the sound bytes either, we’ll go with it. The audio does the job and the people they got for the replacement sound bytes do a decent enough job with the dialogue. If you’ve played the Star Wars tables, it’s about the same level of match-up with film versus game, close but if you’re not playing and sometimes even when you are you’ll just know that’s not the same voice from the original line.

Because this table moves so fast, I really got into it. I do love spending time with a new pinball table trying to figure out where to try and put the ball to trigger things and what works and what doesn’t, but this one has me coming back to it a lot which is great. The price fits right in line with their other single release tables as well at $2.99. Being able to access it from all your PlayStation consoles is an added bonus on top of the difficulty and other options you get with the table. I’d definitely recommend this one to anyone who likes a good pinball table.

Ultron_05The only complaint I have about this table, and this is just something that carries over from Zen Pinball 2 and not just this table, is that on Remote Play, it lags so bad it’s pretty much unplayable. But, you say, you have a Vita and thus own the table, right? True, and I obviously did play it on my Vita as well as PS4, but the Vita version is never quite as pretty as the PS4 or PS3 version. It’s close, but not quite there. Plus I like to be thorough so I tested it and you’re going to notice up to a full second of lag time from when you hit that right or left button and see that same paddle go up on your screen. So yes, you can Remote Play, but it’s kind of awful. Other than that, I have to say I really do love this particular table. Even though Star Wars has pretty much reigned supreme for a long while, this is the go to table that will get pulled when I want to play Zen Pinball 2 before any of the others.

Short Attention Span Summary
I have to say that I really like this addition to the Zen Pinball 2 set-up. The Age of Ultron table is pretty complex, but it’s fun and you’ve got lots of options going into it. While there is a few instances where you never really can tell if the ball is on the upper portion or lower portion of the table at certain spots, it won’t really affect you as you can still fire off the upper paddle without any detriment to the balls. While them getting actual sound bytes or the real actors from the film would have been nice, the voice overs here work for what they’ve got. It’s a pretty fast paced table and one of the tables I can rally get my score cranked up on. There are light spoilers if you’re putting things together from the trailers and haven’t seen the film yet, but nothing that’ll break it for you. Definitely one I recommend even if you’re not all that into the Marvel Cinematic Universe because it’s just that much fun.


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