Zen Pinball 3D Review Verdict: The Portable Pinball Experience

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Posted January 12, 2012 - By Dana Leahy

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Zen Pinball 3D Review Verdict: The Portable Pinball Experience

Our two resident pinball wizards, Donell Tucker and Ernie Moreno, took a look at the new Zen Pinball 3D for the Nintendo 3DS. These are their thoughts on the game!

Zen Studios pushes their successful pinball game to the Nintendo 3DS, bringing pinball fanatics a stereoscopic 3D experience with Zen Pinball 3D. While the handheld version produces realistic pinball physics and enchanting audio to enrich your play through over and over again, it doesn't quite deliver the full pinball exeperience that the console versions do.

What Zen Pinball 3D includes are four original crafted tables, which are Earth Defense, Shaman, Excalibur, and Eldorado. In addition, Zen Studio will support additional downloadable content in the future, but for now, you only get four tables. Just like the original Zen Pinball game, your objective is to gain a high score by keeping the silver ball in play using the side flippers which are the right and left bumpers on the Nintendo 3DS. Also, you have the option to shake the table a bit with the analog stick to slightly move the ball from left or right. Beside your main goal on getting the high score, you have specific missions to complete within each table in order to achieve big points, which offers players a more complex and challenging game.

Getting the perfect view for your needs is as simple as pressing the X button to cycle through 8 different angles providing players a choice of how they view the action. The dot matrix scoreboard is located at the bottom of the screen, but most of the time your eyes will be focused on the top screen.

Zen Pinball 3D Review Verdict: The Portable Pinball Experience

What really stands out for Zen Pinball 3D is the actual 3D mechanica. I was skeptical of the idea of playing it in 3D, but after having some time with the game, I actually prefer playing it in 3D versus 2D. With the 3D feature, it brings the tables to life providing players a bit more excitement when seeing a giant blue robot moving around or a knight jousting towards you. The colors and graphics of each table simply look great. With radiant lights flashing on the board and beautiful 3D modeling this completes the package of being a true pinball simulator.

Sadly, multiplayer is not Zen Pinball 3D's strongest point. There is no online multiplayer mode to challenge opponents from around the world. The only online multiplayer you do get is ranking your high score for others to see. There is a local pass-and-play multiplayer mode called, Hot Seat, where you pass your Nintendo 3DS to the next player after the ball is lost. Not having a strong multiplayer option really brings down the enjoyment of experiencing pinball with your friends or others.

Zen Pinball 3D Review Verdict: The Portable Pinball Experience

Overall, Zen Pinball 3D is a beautiful and fun pinball simulator that you can easily pick up and play offering gamers a challenge, but also an exciting experience. If you're a fan of pinball games and you're looking for a pinball game on the go, I would highly recommend Zen Pinball 3D on the Nintendo 3DS since it's the best 3D pinball game out there. For players who are not, it's still a great game to play; however, because of the small option of multiplayer, I would suggest trying out the free trials on the PS3 or Xbox 360 to find out if you really want to spend the 7 dollars for Zen Pinball 3D.

Zen Pinball 3D Review Verdict: The Portable Pinball Experience


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