Review – Marvel Pinball 3D

Marvel Pinball 3D – General Information:

  • Developed and Published by Zen Studios
  • Released on June 26, 2012
  • Price: $6.99 (via Nintendo eShop)

I have never been the biggest pinball player, but I have always known that Zen Studios was the team for pinball video games: their titles have always been praised for realistic physics and clever table designs. I actually know very little about Marvel or its various superheroes, but Zen’s impressive history with the genre made me too intrigued to ignore Marvel Pinball 3D forever. After dumping countless hours into its tables (and saving quite a few quarters, thanks to the bargain price), I can say without any trace of doubt that MP3D will please pinball fans… but it’s the hardcore Marvel nerds that will rea+lly appreciate the signature style and classic superhero themes.

Regardless of your affiliation to pinball or Marvel comics, MP3D impresses with its presentation and its nifty 3D effects. The amount of detail on each table is staggering, but the illusion of depth goes a long way to make this arguably the best-looking version of Marvel Pinball. The game simply bleeds style, and the tables look completely authentic, from the flashing lights and complex obstacles to the moving Marvel characters and fully-voiced audio clips that you hear as you play each table.

If there is one glaring let-down, it’s the limited number of tables: the 3DS version is not as big as the XBLA/PSN ones, and only includes four of the original tables: Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Blade, and Captain America. Regardless, the quality of each table is absolutely top-notch. I would really like to see more tables released in the form of paid DLC; Zen Studios has actually mentioned interest in the idea…I’m crossing my fingers for the Spider-Man table.

Even with the limited number of tables, MP3D boasts plenty of content. For instance, in addition to rising through the ranks of the “local high scores” for each table, your scores are posted to online leaderboards. I’ll discuss that more in a minute – the Marvel tables finally challenge you to unlock four unique “Trophies”, with each based on meeting certain conditions. Some of these involve completing the superhero’s “missions”, while others are more specific.

Marvel Pinball 3D wouldn’t be a proper pinball game without pushing you to compete for high scores through its leaderboard system. In fact, perhaps the game’s most intriguing feature is based on the online leaderboards, and is linked directly your 3DS Friends List. Basically, your high scores are compiled with any of your friends playing MP3D, and then compared to other “factions” of players. It’s an interesting concept, and the first time I can recall anything quite like it.

Utimately, the best part about Marvel Pinball 3D is just that it is just a solid pinball game; it features lifelike physics, addictive gameplay, slick 3D effects, and a collection of comic-themed tables that any nerd should be able to appreciate. For just a few bucks, this eShop download offers the same endless replay value that you could expect from the greatest pinball sims, or even real-life tables.

Recommendation: Buy It (Unless…)

…you’ve got the XBLA or PSN version; otherwise you shouldn’t hesitate to check out the 3DS version of Marvel Pinball.

Scores:

Design/Concept: (9/10)
Presentation: (9.5/10)
Functionality: (8/10)
Replay Value: (9/10)

Final Score: 9.0/10

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