Game Review: Ms.Splosion Man DLC Table for Pinball FX2.
Release: August 31st (Xbox 360)
Developer: Zen Studios
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Zen Studios now has years of experience releasing DLC for their Pinball games. Between all their games they have released over 20 tables, and it certainly shows. Their most recent release, the Ms.Splosion Man table for Pinball FX2, is their best work yet.
The table is based on the title character from Twisted Pixel Games’ “Ms.Splosion Man”, an indie platformer available on Xbox Live Arcade. You are tasked with the job of saving Mr.Splosion Man from the evil grips of The Mighty Eternal and his traps.
Like all new Pinball FX 2 tables, Ms.Splosion Man makes a prominent appearance as a 3D character on the bottom right of the table. Glowing bright pink, Ms.Splosion Man is bursting with energy, and will constantly be moving about and dancing. Unlike past forays into 3D, this one is very successful. With the Marvel Pinball tables the 3D characters were often lacking, and showed how poor realistic characters looked in the game. However the cartoon nature of Ms.Splosion Man lends itself perfectly to this. Because you don’t expect her to look like a human it’s much harder to notice the flaws. I felt with past tables that the 3D characters often detracted from the overall look, however here, it fits perfectly in with the table aesthetic.
You can tell Zen Studios took its time with this table. The art style fits the upbeat and whacky mood of the Splosion Man games perfectly. The art design is simply outstanding, from the table art to the LCD animations, Zen Studios really went all out for this one.
They successfully avoided painting the table in pink by using other light and pastel tones that go with Ms.Splosion Man’s loud skin. The majority of the table is made up of a dark hued pink and a light blue. Lines are heavily emphasized in the art design, giving it the comic book feel the Splosion Man games achieve. They also incorporated many great aspects of the game into the table, in ways that are not only visually appealing, but are also functionally unique.
The out-lanes are conveyor belts, that when activated, roll forward to push the ball back onto the playfield. On top of the ball save there is also an explosive barrel you can active that appears before the outhole, which will launch the ball across the table and keep it in play.
The table is heavily based around ramp and orbit shots, featuring a main outer orbit, an inner orbit that loops around the head of Mr.Destructoid, as well as four main ramps. Most modes and features are activated by completing shots of these orbits and ramps, as opposed to other tables that revolve more around target-based objectives. The upper playfield’s ramps are positioned in a way that they are accessible by the bottom flippers or the top flipper on the right, making most shots easy to line up for novice players.
Thankfully no mini-games (LCD or otherwise) make an appearance on this table; it’s all pure pinball action. There is one outlandish objective which has you send the ball down a zipline, but it’s simple enough that any player can do it.
You activate the mission mode by sinking a ball into The Mighty Eternals’ mouth and complete each one in a linear order. The mission mode is easy to activate, but players might be frustrated when they have to do the same mission over and over, and can’t opt to try another one. However the side goals of the table are very manageable, so players will always have something to do.
When you finally complete the main missions you will rescue Mr.Splosion Man and reunite the separated couple. Along the way you can activate the multi-ball feature, which lets you have up to five balls blasting around the table at once, or the cannon shot which puts you in first person control of cannon that can blast the ball to certain points on the table.
There are a few flaws in the table. While Ms.Splosion Man’s dancing is cute at first, the constant barrage of movement will eventually get distracting. The first mission mode also places a picture-in-picture view at the top right which seems to hover around for the entire duration of the mode, which, depending on what camera angle you are playing at, can block your view.
However, the Ms.Splosion Man table is just so much fun to play. It’s a medium difficulty table that will give players of all skill a lot to do. The side goals are easy to complete which gives lower skilled players a lot to do on the table; while the main mission modes are more difficult, giving pro players a good challenge.
Out of all the tables I have played for Pinball FX2, Zen Pinball, and Marvel Pinball, this one is the best. It nails the difficulty just right, introduces a lot of new mechanics, and has captured the feeling of its source material perfectly. The Ms.Splosion Man table for Pinball FX2 releases tomorrow, August 31st , for 240msp ($3), and I couldn’t recommend it more.
+Best Table Yet! Amazing art and table design
+Great table for players of all skill
10 out of 10