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Zen Pinball 3D Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . While not a high water mark for pinball games, Zen Pinball 3D delivers on every one of its promises. This seven dollar 3DS game features four exciting stages, online leaderboards and an achievement system that will keep you coming back for more. Not as robust as its console cousins, but still one of the best games in the fledgling eShop! Rating: 71%
Zen Pinball 3D
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Zen Pinball 3D Zen Pinball 3D Zen Pinball 3D Zen Pinball 3D
  • Review Score:

  • B
Over the past five years Zen Studios has made a name for itself by releasing some of the best pinball video games ever made. With a mix of original and licensed tables, the Budapest-based developer has made a convincing argument why PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 owners should care about traditional pinball games. After conquering the home consoles, Zen Studios is ready to take on the next challenge: The Nintendo 3DS.

Despite its different name, Zen Pinball 3D doesn't stray far from Pinball FX's formula. We're given four unique tables to play around with, online leaderboards, tons of camera angles and table specific achievements. While the tables may be original, they fit in perfectly with what I've seen on the Xbox Live Arcade and PSN. Each table offers several goals to complete and plenty of incentives for repeat plays. Needless to say, fans of Zen's past pinball efforts will feel right at home with this Nintendo 3DS effort.

Zen Pinball 3D (Nintendo 3DS)

The four stages run the gamut of eras and themes. We start with Excalibur, a swords and sorcery table with knights and princesses. This medieval stage is simple in design, but full of fire-breathing action. This is a visually stunning table features an archery yard, a large sword ramp, a joust tournament and a sexy lady in the middle of the board. Despite a few interesting quests, this table is too prone to cheap deaths.

Up next is Eldorado, an Amazonian table full of ancient ruins and hidden treasures. There are artifacts to explore, a Mayan challenge featuring a nasty saw, a puzzle leading to gold and even poisonous traps. The lush environment is both interesting and fun to play, making this one of the stronger tables in the package.

Zen Pinball 3D (Nintendo 3DS)

Moving on we have Shaman, a witch doctor-themed board full of rickety paths and tribal imagery. This deceptively complicated board features ritual dancers, a hot volcano path, an elemental puzzle and all kinds of funky magic. Of the four tables, this was the easiest to score on. I found the goals easy to accomplish and achievements within grasp, which isn't always the case with Zen's pinball games. At the same time, I'm not a big fan of the theme and layout. Shaman is definitely a mixed bag.

The final table is Earth Defense!, a science fiction-themed stage starring humans, tanks and one very large alien robot. This is the most complicated of all the boards, yet is also the most rewarding. Here you work with the army to fight back an alien invasion. You do everything from man a tank to save innocent bystanders. Before long you'll be ordering in airstrikes and dealing with the skyscraper-sized menace that is ruining the city. This stage is worth the $6.99 asking price all by itself.
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