South Park and Venom DLC – Zen Pinball 2 / Pinball FX 2

South Park

Pinball junkies rejoice! It’s time for more glorious flipper hammering action and bumper bashing insanity with Pinball FX2/Zen Pinball! Warm those fingers up and let’s get down to some righteous high score chasing chicanery and put our foot to the floor for a Wizard Mode activating extravaganza!

No, you can’t make Pinball table releases sound exciting. Ah well. Anyway, two releases to review, and a total of 3 tables. First up is the South Park pack. A little belated as the backlog got the better of me and it’s been languishing on the hard drive, but now I’ve put some time into it it’s an interesting pack, and pretty decent value.

For the frankly paltry sum of £3.99 you get the South Park Super Sweet Pinball table and Butters Very Own Pinball Game table, and what’s nice is they’re actually very different experiences. Well, as different as 2 pinball tables can be.

The Super Sweet table is, initially, off putting. The music is obnoxious and the entire table seems incredibly convoluted and complete sensory overload, with busy artwork and 9 separate triggers you have to complete to activate the Wizard mode. However, spend a bit of time with it and you find a deep and involved table which is actually a good slice of fun, especially if you’re a fan of the show. If you’re not, well, you can always turn the music off.

The Butters Very Own Pinball Game table is also fun, but a much more sedate and open table, with modes based around Butters’ apparently over-active imagination. It’s actually quite charming, which is something I never thought I’d say in relation to South Park. It’s a good thing they decided to reign this one in, because if you had the same Volume-Turned-To-11 aesthetic as the Super Sweet table it might have driven some to throw their pad through the TV.

VERDICT: YAY

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Venom

The Venom table (Venom as in the Spider-man villain, not Venom the geordie black metallers. Although, thinking about it, I’d pay good money for that table) is a bit of a let down after the South Park pack, and also compared to the abundance of other Marvel tables available to download.

Thematically it’s fine if you’re a fan, with plenty of references to the various incarnations of the Venom Symbiote and its offspring, but as a table it feels cramped and disjointed. It’s difficult to explain, but the various sections feel very compartmentalised and not cohesive as a whole table and as such makes attaining Wizard Mode more convoluted and troublesome than the South Park Super Sweet Table.

Also the overuse of ramps is marred by some very strange physics that don’t plague other tables. Either the ramps are too steep or it’s an actual bug but they’re very ‘sticky’ and often the balls stop halfway or don’t make it the whole way around, say, the Carnage orbit despite you being sure you’ve timed it correctly.

It’s a shame because the Marvel license has brought some excellent tables to the game, but this one just seems cobbled together. It’s only £2.49, so chances are you’ll buy it and get that much out of it if you’re one of those compulsive buyer types (*cough*) but if you’re not bothered about a full pinball library there are other tables more deserving of your two hundred and forty nine pence.

VERDICT: NAY