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Family Friendly Gaming Hall of Fame




Zen Pinball 2 - Plants vs Zombies Table

 

 

SCORE: 86

 

Zen Pinball 2 - Plants vs Zombies Table 

 

Zen Studios has partnered with PopCap Games to create yet another fantastic pinball table. The Plants Vs. Zombies table for Zen Pinball 2 gives fans of the popular Plants vs. Zombies franchise a chance to explore a whole new take on the game.

As has come to be expected, the detail put into this table is outstanding. The table is bright and colorful and packed full of all the loveable plants and zombies from the original game. If you have never played Plants vs. Zombies this table will probably seem, well, insane. If you have played the game, you will be impressed with how loyal Zen Studios has been. As with their series of Marvel tables, Zen has carefully crafted this table to reflect the heart of the source material. Several of our favorite warrior plants make an appearance as well as a handful of zombies including the menacing Dr. Zomboss and the gargantuan Zombot. Even our faithful friend of the flowers Crazy Dave makes an appearance. Now, if you’re thinking that a game featuring zombies is not something you want your kid to play, well, that’s probably true. Even though these are the cutest little un-dead creatures you’d ever want to meet, they’re still zombies. Older players should have no issue with the game, but parents may want to avoid letting smaller children join in the zombie-defeating action.

Zen has also made excellent use of the audio assets from Plants vs. Zombies. The same awesome theme music is used throughout and all of the great sound effects are used as well. The game’s sound is loud and powerful and all the classic pinball noises are present too. The star of the show, the Sunflower, has a loveable voice and makes humorous comments based upon your actions. Even Crazy Dave gets a mumble or two in from time to time. Items of concern for parents of young players would be the zombie moans and groans found in the game as well as the terrifying scream that occurs when you lose the ball.

As I’ve said about other Zen tables, the replay value is nearly endless. You can pick this up and play it again and again, finding something new to try to accomplish every time. On-line play and leaderboards give you more goals to challenge yourself with and help to cultivate your competitive side. There are a variety of missions to unlock during play and two trophies to strive for. Best of all, the table is only $2.99 on the PlayStation Store which will get you both the PS3 version and the PSP version in one shot. Interested players can download the free Zen Pinball 2 platform and then download a free demo of this table (and all other Zen tables) right within the game. This is a good option for parents who would like to get an impression of the game before deciding whether or not to let their child play it.

This table turned out to be my favorite Zen table thus far. The controls are fluid and realistic making for an entertaining pinball experience. The clever use of the Plants vs. Zombies license is just great. At the risk of sounding like a complete Zen fanboy, I can’t get over how well done this table is. Having been amused with PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies game on the iPad, I thoroughly enjoyed the way this table incorporated all of the best parts of that game and yet created a completely unique experience. Using a pinball (cleverly disguised as a seed), players can knock down animated zombies as they cross your “lawn” during certain missions. It just never seems to get old. And staying true to the obsessive compulsive nature of Plants vs. Zombies, players will never lack for sunlight and coins to frantically collect as they’re tossed onto the table. These items can then be used to purchase plant weapons to use in your fight against the zombies. There’s even a full-fledged Melon-Pult that players can control at certain times during the game. For reasons I cannot quite put into words, this is the most satisfying virtual pinball experience I’ve had.

As for family friendliness, this game is great fun for the older members of the family. The zombie content, however, would likely be a bit too much for younger children. Though they are very cartoony and not all that scary, they are still depictions of the so-called living-dead. This game is rated E for Everyone 10+ which is a level up from the previous Zen Pinball tables. I feel that this current rating is much more appropriate for helping parents decide if this game is suitable for their child.
-Roger

 

Graphics: 80%
Sound: 87%
Replay/Extras: 97%
Gameplay: 94%
Family Friendly Factor: 73%
System: PS3/PS Vita
Publisher: Zen Studios
Rating: ‘E10+’ - Everyone 10+
{Mild Language, Fantasy Violence}

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