Face to Face with Pinball FX2's new "Mars" table

I remember watching late night TV many years ago and seeing those ads for the Richard Hoaglund VHS tapes where he talked about the face on Mars and it kind of freaked me out. Now I just think of that line from Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”- “press your space face close to mine, love”. Or sometimes it reminds me of “Life on Mars” from Hunky Dory.

What I’m also freaking out about it, albeit in a good way, is that there’s a new Pinball FX2 table on the shelf of your local Xbox Live Arcade. It’s Mars, and it’s a port from Zen Studios’ PSN platform, Zen Pinball. I’ve had access to it for a week and having put in some good time with it I’m glad to report that it’s definitely in line with the rest of their top-flight digital pinball tables. It’s a fun table with a fairly clear and uncluttered playfield, simple mission progression, and lots of fun novelties including a crazy zero-G multiball and holograms by the shuttleload. If Portal 2 didn’t give you your fill of spidery robots, there’s one here for you as well. The Mars exploration theme (including that damn face and the supposed pyramids) is well implemented. I love the themes these guys use, they’ve got a great eye for unusual themes that make for great pinball tables, Rocky and Bullwinkle notwithstanding. This is also one of their easiest tables, so if you’re easily frustrated by dropout lanes or low-scoring balls I think this one might be more accomodating. If you’re a pinball wizard like myself, you might find that the challenge isn’t nearly as compelling as it is in Rome or Blade.

But it’s only 240 MS points. You can’t go wrong unless you hate pinball. If that’s the case I’m not sure it’s going to work out between us anyway.

I hear tell that their next FX2 table is another Marvel one. Wanna bet it’s Cap, Thor, or Avengers?

5 Responses to “Face to Face with Pinball FX2's new "Mars" table”

  1. casktapper April 21, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    Zen Studios actually had a user vote to pick the next Marvel character table they would work on. It was between Hulk, Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four and Captain America. I think Ghost Rider was leading, but though the vote is closed, they haven’t announced who the winner was.

  2. Michael Barnes April 21, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    Really? I didn’t know that. Ghost Rider? Come on…I mean, that could be cool, but with FF and Cap on the ballot it’s a no brainer.

    There should be a Silver Surfer table too…and Doctor Strange…hell, tables for the entire Marvel Universe, including Howard the Duck would be just fine with me.

  3. Mark E April 21, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    Gotta remember to grab this. I love Pinball FX 2, easily the best pinball game that isn’t the Williams Pinball Hall of Fame. I wish they’d release another set of real pinball tables emulated, but the FX ones are golden.

    I am hoping for Captain America or the FF. FF table with Doctor Doom and Galactus? Yes please! A Daredevil table with sonar mode would also be super fun (not to mention the Bullseye targets).

  4. Michael Barnes April 21, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Absolutely agree. Williams had the Pinball Crown for years but I think FX2 gets a slight nod…although like you, I miss those replica tables. I’d love to see a Williams Collection 2 with some of their later classics- Twilight Zone (duh), Attack from Mars…not bloody likely, but I’d love to see the Judge Dredd table in one of these too. There is a Williams Collection coming for the 3DS, which I’m buying day 1.

    A Cap table would be grand, but Fantastic Four is the one I want…or just a Doom table. I might cry if that happens.

    Daredevil…yeah, they could do some really neat stuff with sound on that one.

  5. Panick April 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    I’ve seen a lot of the popular (and some not so popular) classic Williams, Bally and even Gottlieb tables recreated for Visual Pinball. It’s a Windows based program that (teamed with PinMAME) does a decent job of catching the feel of the old tables. It would be great if someone got the rights and released an official computer recreation of the old pinball games but given the dying popularity of real pinball machines I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

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