Plants vs. Zombies Pinball Impressions (XBLA)
What do you get when representatives from Zen Studios and PopCap Games meet over lunch during GDC 2012? Well, you get a pitch for Plants vs. Zombies pinball, of course. The game was actually pitched by a member of PopCap Studios’ development team and was given the green light as long as no time was wasted developing a pinball engine. It just so happens that Zen Studios has such an engine and so the partnership was formed.
I can’t tell you just how excited I was that this table was announced. It was teased a few weeks ago with some of the most likely candidates for a PopCap themed table being PvZ, Peggle or Bejeweled. The latter two being the more obvious choices as those games have mechanics that might be more suited to a pinball table. I think it’s hard to argue with just how popular Plants vs. Zombies actually is and now we have a table based on the popular lawn defense game.
Everything about this table screams plants. The entire table is covered from top to bottom and front to back with greenery, dirt and water. It looks like a backyard and is very evocative of the source material. There are plenty of ramps that are all very easily accessible. The pinball itself is painted green to remind you of the pea shooter (the main weapon from the original game). All of the models are rendered in full 3D and are availalbe in stereoscopic 3D should you have the required technology on hand.
Everything on the pinball table is based squarely from the game. You collect sun to acquire new items that can be used to fight off zombie invasions. Gold and silver can be picked up and added to your score. Crazy Dave shows up quite frequently to sell you new items and give you missions. Many of the plant weapons available in PvZ are also available here and they perform various functions around the table. A Kernelpults is the plunger to send the ball into the playfield. Melonpults can occasionally be used to fling watermelons at zombies. Wallnuts and potato mines will give you a last line of defense. Any fan of the original game will really be interested in seeing just how they crammed so much of the game onto this table.
There are things on this table that haven’t been done before and can’t be done on a regular pinball table. You’ll see zombies rise from the ground, diggers will tunnel from the middle of the table toward your flippers (your home). One mission called Going Nuts covers the entire playfield in fog and the most well defended hordes of the undead invade your personal space.
As far as the actual pinballl play goes, you’re going to be in for a lot of high scores as there are tons of opportunities for combos, multi-ball, extra balls and much more. If you know your way around a game of PvZ, then you’re going to be even more prepared as many of the things you would expect to find are going to be available for you. The table is wide open in the middle, but crammed with multi-lane ramps, recesses and bumpers to give you plenty of points.
It’s not only one of the best pinball tables, but one of the best themes that Zen Studios has done to date. The physics are as good as ever. The styling of the table crams just about everything from the source game as possible. This table probably does the most with the license of any table that the studio has developed yet. I would never have expected a table based on a tower defense game to be as good as it is, but I was surprised. Pinball FX2 and Zen Pinball owners are going to love this addition to their already stellar lineup of digital pinball tables. Plants vs. Zombies fans will enjoy this extension to the franchise while they’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of Plants vs. Zombies 2.
Played numerous rounds of pinball.
High Score as of this article 107,000,000 and change.
Plants vs. Zombie Pinball is available as DLC for Pinball FX2 on the Xbox 360 for 240 MSP.
It is also available for Zen Pinball on the Playstation Network for the PS3 and PS Vita for $2.99 (crossbuy enabled)