The latest addition to Zen Studios’ Zen Pinball 2 / Pinball FX2 pinball playing platforms brings an assortment of Marvel’s female roster into this set of two tables. With the title of the pack being Marvel’s Women of Power, you’d perhaps expect some of Marvel’s big hitters to take the stage. The main focus, however, is on the newer rosters of the A-Force and Champions teams.
First off, both entries look and sound great, which should come as no surprise as Zen Studios have a pretty good track record at making stunning looking tables. The art lining the play area is bold and colourful and really captures the style of the comics. The voice work is also really good, with the Champions table especially going all in with energetic, lively lines that put a smile on your face.
The A-Force table sees Black Widow and Madame Masque accidentally destroy a Cosmic Cube sending them into an alternate Soviet Union-controlled world where they have to recruit A-Force members and work together to deal with their doppelgangers and fix things. The Champions table however is a bit more low key plot wise with Ms Marvel attempting to stop Bombshell following a robbery by calling on her friends like Squirrel Girl and Spider-Gwen to assist.
So how do they actually play, well both tables are very ramp-heavy with pretty simple layouts. This makes them good beginner-friendly tables as the action is pretty easy to follow with the paths to accomplish tasks being well lit. The action on both tables is also fun, with plenty of multiball action to keep you on your toes as well as some unique events across both tables.
The A-Force table is a four flipper affair which can sometimes be overwhelming, especially in multiball scenarios. It does bring an element of skill and focus to the table which rewards higher level play however, keeping track of the balls in relation to all the flippers is certainly not easy. The play area feels a little sparse however, with four ramps, a few spinners, a bumper area and Titanium Man’s helmet rounding off the targets.
The table focuses on recruiting A-Force members via a spinner target in the top-centre of the play area but you don’t get to hear or see them in any meaningful way which seems an awful waste. Black Widow and Madame Masque are the most visible characters with a lot of interactions using their doppelgangers for humour. It would just be nice to have seen the A-Force members directly.
The Champions table layout is a little simpler only having three flippers. The upper half of the table taken up with heart-shaped ramps and little else, a central target and a small selection of bumpers. This doesn’t look as empty as the A-Force table though simply due to the layout of the ramps and rails.
Unlike its partner table, the other characters on the Champions board are always talking. Squirrel Girl in particular being a highlight with her bright cheery interactions bringing so much charm with them. It’s a shame we don’t get to see or interact with the cast in any meaningful capacity, mostly relegated to admittedly great voiceover.
Zen Studios’ take on pinball embraces the fact they are video games and have always done things you couldn’t do on a real table. Having a first person moment where you line up a gunshot with the flippers for example. Lots of little flourishes like that and use of 3D models “alive” on the table surfaces make them feel more dynamic than physical machines.
All in all, both tables are a lot of fun especially for beginners or non-pinball wizards with them both allowing for some very high-scores. Experts and pinball aficionados however will probably see all these tables have to offer really quickly. The lack of presence on both tables from their core properties is a shame but ultimately doesn’t detract from the gameplay. It does feel like a missed opportunity to introduce the characters to a potentially new audience in a more tangible way though.
Pinball FX2 (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Marvel’s Women of Power brings two fun new beginner-friendly tables to Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX2. Focusing on the female-side of the Marvel Universe makes a nice change although the lack of meaningful interactions with the A-Force and Champions characters seems like wasted potential.