Review: Avengers Assemble Awesomely In Marvel Pinball (Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network)

Zen Studios’ latest Chronicles are their best pinball tables to date.

Zen Studios can’t really do any wrong when it comes to their Marvel Pinball table designs.  Seriously.  Someone could tell them to do a legitimate Howard the Duck table (one not based on the movie) and they’d have it ready to go in a matter of months, complete with wisecracks and awesome skill shots.  Over the past year and a half they’ve knocked out some winners, but nothing compared to what we’ve seen with the Avengers Chronicles pack.  This is clearly their best work to date – and hopefully not their last in the deal.

Chronicles, which sells for $9.99 separately and works with both Pinball FX 2 on Xbox Live and Marvel Pinball on PSN (and the soon-to-be-released Zen Pinball 2), features four tables in all, and while past releases have been based on heroes, these are instead focusing on story arcs within the Marvel universe, including Fear Itself (a huge saga between Thor and Loki), World War Hulk (where he battles, well, everything), The Infinity Gauntlet (where the Avengers take on the mighty Thanos with the help of Silver Surfer) and one based on the hit Avengers film that released last month. 

 

Each table provides plenty of variety when it comes to events based around each table, and that’s a remarkable thing.  Perhaps the weakest of the bunch could considerably be the Avengers film table, but that’s not because of content.  Rather, it just doesn’t have the deep involvement of the other tables.  Still, it’s a lot of fun, especially considering you can choose between balls that are colored based on each team member of the Avengers.  I only wish it came with actual movie acting from the film, rather than voice overs.  But still, they aren’t bad.

 

Fear Itself is an intriguing table, with lots happening as players change the course of their characters, shooting skill shots and dropping targets like pros.  The same could easily be said for World War Hulk, a thrilling table where everyone jumps around, wondering what the big green guy will be up to next.  And Infinity Gauntlet is in a league by itself, as the gems you unleash over the course of the game actually leave some effect on what’s happening throughout the table.  One flips the effect of your flippers around completely, while another opens up a Black Hole mini-game that’s quite unexpected.

 

As with previous releases in the Marvel Pinball series, Avengers Chronicles supports online leaderboards, so you can hand down challenges to fellow players and shoot for the top of the scoring tables.  You can also earn Achievements and Trophies, and boost your overall pinball SuperScore, depending on how many other Zen Studios tables you own.  (There’s even a special trophy if you’ve collected all the Marvel ones.)