Iron & Steel adds a lass & an ass to Zen Pinball 2

, | Game reviews

Wild West Rampage, one of the two tables in the Iron & Steel Pack for Zen Pinball 2, is Zen’s first non-licensed table in a long time. And it’s about time, too. I enjoy Star Wars and Marvel superheroes as much as the next guy, but Zen has been drinking from those wells for a very long time now. It’s nice to see them going back to reliable tables that stand on their own.

After the jump, not a lightsaber or cape in sight!

Cindy, who always prevails in her duels unless she doesn’t, is a plucky cowgirl come to town to take on the corrupt sheriff. Have there been any lady gunslingers since The Quick and the Dead? Where are all the lady gunslingers? As befits any serious cowboy, Cindy is also handy with her fists. A bar on the bottom right of the table tracks whether she’s leveled up her pistol or her fisticuffs skills. She actually scores more points for bringing in wanted criminals with her fists.

This table is one of Zen’s rare wide-open tables, prominently featuring artwork of Cindy facing down the posse of bad guys, with the ramps far up at the top and the gimmicks along the edges. There’s a train along the left side that doubles as a set of minitables for a couple of modes, saloon doors at the top center, a spinning sheriff’s badge, a spinner that lights up a row of cards, a mine, a jail, and plenty of ka-pow and ricochet sound effects. The voice actors for Cindy and the corrupt Sheriff Evans give it their best drawl. Zen has come a long way since the narrators for their Rome table.

What I like most about Wild West Rampage is that it’s such a traditional table. The missions are earned by building up letters on the various ramps, so it can be slow to get underway. You have to lay some groundwork first. And this isn’t necessarily easy, because all that space means there’s plenty of opportunity for a straight and sometimes fast right-down-the-middle drain. Not to mention the inconveniently accessible outer lanes that drain the ball rather than send it down to your flippers. This is one of those often frustrating but eventually gratifying tables where you really have to work for your score rather than just hang fire waiting for the points to roll in.

Castlestorm, on the other hand, is a crowded goofy table, based loosely on Zen’s Castlestorm, a pretty good Angry Bird meets tower defense game, ideal for same-couch multiplayer. From the moment a braying donkey launches the ball by kicking it with his back legs, you know what you’re in for. In fact, the tone and setting is a bit redundant with Epic Quest, another crowded goofy table about knights and whatnot. But, of course, Castlestorm doesn’t have the persistent RPG schtick of Epic Quest. Instead, Castlestorm has unruly Viking attackers, a huge animated dragon, and a sheep crossbow mode. Cute stuff, this is definitely the B-side table of this pack.

  • Zen Pinball 2: Iron & Steel Pack

  • Rating:

  • Vita
  • ...an exciting pinball table two-pack that combines Zen's own epic medieval adventure CastleStorm with Wild West Rampage, an all-new table where you can play as Cindy, a tough-as-nails frontier bounty hunter in the Old West! Barge into a world of dragons and trains, swords and six-shooters, the perfect blend of the Middle Ages and the Wild West!
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