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Epic Quest

 

 

SCORE: 91

 

Epic Quest 

 

Some things were just meant to go together. Peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, Adam and Eve, RPG’s and…err…pinball? Okay, so that last pair may not have been tops on your list but the team over at ZEN Studios felt it was a winning combination for their latest ZEN Pinball table. Taking pinball where all other pinball games dare not tread, ZEN blends aspects Role-playing games with the simplicity of pinball. As Max the Knight it is your sworn duty to “seek out evil, defeat it, and take its stuff”.

If you’ve played other games from ZEN Studios, you’re probably aware of the impressive attention to detail that goes into the artwork in their games. Epic Quest is no exception. This pinball table is beautifully detailed and full of rich colors. Set against the backdrop of a fantasy realm, fans of RPG’s will feel right at home. Of course other visual RPG elements come into play as well. The enemies that Max must face off against include skeletons, ghosts, goblins, ogres, and evil trees. These are creatures that may put off some parents from letting their children play the game, but I will say that they have been tastefully done. The creatures are portrayed in a cartoonish style and are rarely seen aside from their brief pixelated appearance on the dot matrix and in the amusing puppet theatre that occurs before some battles. My advice to parents is to apply what I call the “Scooby Doo” rule. If you’re not comfortable with your children watching the likes of Scooby Doo, then you probably wouldn’t be comfortable with this either.

The audio content in Epic Quest is appropriate and compliments the table. The background music has an adventurous feel to it and suits the environment. The sound effects are loud and satisfying as with every other ZEN pinball table. Max the Knight continuously makes comments during game play which range from goofy to mildly amusing. Perhaps my favorite line from Max is this comment as he taunts his foes: “I eat skeletons for breakfast! They stay crunchy in milk.” Okay, admittedly it’s a bit morbid if taken literally but it struck me as amusing for some reason. Perhaps that says more about me than it does the game.

The replay value of Epic Quest is quite high. If you enjoy virtual pinball, this table will give you more than enough content to keep you playing again and again. There are loads of missions to complete, a few trophies to unlock, and on-line scoreboards for you competitive types. Another great feature is the “operators menu” which allows players to tweak the table in various ways. It’s always a treat when game creators let you mess around with their stuff a little bit. Epic Quest will set you back $2.49 on the  PlayStation, but keep in mind that you must first own ZEN Pinball (about $10) in order to access this table.

The game’s controls are intuitive and require no complex maneuvers other than perfecting your aim and timing. If you’ve played other pinball games you’ll certainly be comfortable behind the controller. The gameplay is where Epic Quest really tries to break new ground. The pinball aspects are straightforward and the same as any other pinball table. Things get a bit deeper when you throw in the RPG elements of earning XP (experience points), leveling up (increasing your characters stats and abilities), and collecting loot (better weapons and armor). All of these things have an effect on Max’s prowess in battle and also give you something else to play toward aside from setting the high score. Your XP and loot are stored after each game so Max will resume at his current level with his current gear on your next play. This keeps the momentum of the game going each time you come back to it. I fear this RPG/Pinball hybrid called Epic Quest could be the catalyst for a new breed of uber-nerd.

In the way of family friendliness, Epic Quest falls mostly on the safe side of the fence. It is commendable that no offensive language is used in the game as this has not always been the case in other tables. As I mentioned previously, if you’re uncomfortable with cartoon ghosts and goblins this game is probably not for you or your younger children. In comparison to most other RPG themed games, Epic Quest is more far more amusing than it is intense or scary. I should also point out that Max’s motives are not necessarily to dispel evil for the good of mankind, but more along the lines of obtaining riches and perhaps winning the heart of a wealthy princess. If you enjoy pinball or RPG’s, Epic Quest is a fun and unique experience. This game was a joy to play and review and I look forward to similar releases from ZEN Studios down the road.
-Roger

 

Graphics: 90%
Sound: 91%
Replay/Extras: 92%
Gameplay: 96%
Family Friendly Factor: 87%
System: iPod Touch/iPhone/PS3/Xbox 360/Android
Publisher: Zen Studios
Rating:
‘E’ - Everyone
{Comic Mischief, Mild Suggestive Themes}

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Email them to:
Roger@familyfriendlygaming.com