Review: Marvel Pinball



Marvel Pinball


Zen Studios


Microsoft Game Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment

Reviewed On
Also On

Xbox 360



Review copy provided by the publisher

By François Chang

December 18, 2010

Marvel Pinball is exactly what you would expect from reading the title alone; it’s Marvel themed, Pinball fun. You get four different tables, and each table offers something from each of the superheroes it features. Wolverine, Spider-Man, Iron-Man and Blade are your four superheroes with this title, and they also bring along with them some friends. Sabretooth, Silver Samurai, Dr. Octopus, Green Goblin, Mandarin (Whiplash) and Deacon Frost are some of the handful of recognizable characters that you will find on each respective table. Each table is very colorful and quite beautiful, and I’m sure hardcore Marvel fans will enjoy pointing all the little nods to its universe’s enormous amount of content. So, how do these tables play, and is it worth your cash to download this title? Read on to find out.

As a pinball game, Marvel Pinball is as solid as they come. The physics featured in this game are identical to pinball machines you would find at your local arcade. Plus, you get to enter and record your high scores, compare them up against the world, compare them against your friends, and even the vibration feedback makes you feel that much closer to the real thing. You also have all the standards that come with a pinball table, including bumpers, rails, stand-up targets, etc. I especially like the fact that the game has the courtesy to move the Xbox Live notifications to the middle of the screen instead of at the bottom, because, if you know anything about pinball, you know that covering any part of the bottom of the screen could result in the loss of a ball. You lose three balls, and you’re out. Game over.

As I already mentioned, Marvel Pinball comes with four different tables. However, this is mostly like getting four different maps. These four tables offer their own subtle twists to a conventional pinball table, but, in the end, they all play largely similar to each other. You have a button to launch the ball, buttons for the left and right flipper, and the ability to tilt the table. That’s all. Although the game’s physics are spot-on with capturing exactly how a pinball machine should play in real life, I feel that there was a missed opportunity here. Just because you have true to life physics, that doesn’t mean you should be limited to simulating an actual pinball machine. There are some far-fetched scenarios on these tables already; for example: Wolverine and Sabretooth battle each other after hitting certain areas on the table. With that said, why not take it a step further, and offer something as fun and over-the-top as the characters that are featured. Marvel Pinball has four different machines, but once you have played one, you’ve played them all. This ultimately leads to a rather boring experience that will have you moving on very quickly.

Overall, I feel that this game catered more towards pinball enthusiasts than Marvel fans. Don’t be fooled true believers. The novelty of having Marvel characters wears off once you realize that this is in fact a pinball game. It is not only a pinball game, but a pretty challenging one to boot. If you’re a pinball fan, by all means this one is for you. If you’re not too big into pinball, then chances are you won’t be too impressed with this one. This is by all means not a bad game. However, I can’t say the same about it not being uninspired.

  • Title: Marvel Pinball
  • Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360
  • Developer: Zen Studios
  • Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment
  • MSRP: 800 Microsoft points ($10), $9.99
  • Release Date: Available Now
  • Review Copy Info: A download code of the game was provided to DualShockers Inc, by the publisher for purposes of this review.
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François Chang

Working on the DualShockers staff as both an editor and community manager since late 2009, François is absolutely no stranger to the videogame industry. He is a graduate from the City College of New York, and has his Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising. His next step is to obtain his Master's degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Before starting his career, François has been gaming since the age of 2 with Super Mario World, and he has never looked back since. Gaming may be his profession, but it has always been his passion.

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