'Pinball FX 2' Review

Pinball FX 2 Review

Pinball FX 2 has finally found its way to Xbox Live Arcade after a two week delay, and brings along several new elements not included in the original game. Do these additions make for a better overall experience? Read on to find out.

It can be difficult to know what to expect when it comes to an HD arcade game, and that goes double for pinball. Pinball FX 2 looks like a basic pinball game at a first glance; however, it's impossible to miss the creative elements that have been implemented to maximize the game's competitive aspects and re-playability. In other words, there is awesome multiplayer functionality and the ability to tweak tables!

Pinball FX 2 plays much like many other virtual pinball games, and features HD graphics and some great tables to choose from. Whether players are searching for treasure on the Secrets of the Deep table or fighting against Blanka on the Street Fighter table, Zen Studios have crafted a genuinely satisfying experience for pinball lovers. The fact that the game has multiplayer challenges and the ability to adjust everything on the table places Pinball FX 2 at the top of its class. Take a look at a video of the game in action.


The multiplayer function might appear to be something of a novelty, but the added competition brings a fresh concept to an age old game genre. As demonstrated in the video, gamers can play split screen on a single console, switch off between lost balls, or participate in a competition.

This is where things get exciting: players can go head-to-head with up to three online opponents, and can use the Xbox Live Vision Camera or the Kinect to communicate. There is also a leaderboard that displays your friend's best score on each table.

When I played a game, using the matchmaking option, against three other people over Xbox Live, a goal was set to achieve 10 million points. Each player had unlimited balls, but for each one dropped a substantial number of points were lost. I managed to get a combo that netted me four million points right at the start of the match, and spent the next 10 minutes listening to some fantastic trash talk by a 40-year-old competitor. That aside, the new competitive element really makes Pinball FX 2 standout from any other pinball game on the market.

Pinball FX 2 Review

Pinball FX 2 comes with a core set of tables: Biolab, Pasha, Rome, and Secrets of the Deep. Players can also purchase the original Pinball FX table package for 800 Microsoft Points. Additionally, there are also Earth DefenseStreet Fighter IIRocky and BullwinkleExcalibur, and Nightmare Mansion tables available for 200 Microsoft Point each.

There are a few minor things that would have been nice to see improved in Pinball FX 2. For starters, the game's flippers tend to be a bit wonky. When a game challenges your hand-eye coordination as much as Pinball FX 2 does, imprecise control can make the difference between losing a ball and keeping it in play. Though it only had a minor impact on gameplay, there is definitely room to refine the game's flipper control.

The inclusion of audio taunts for each table would have made the game seem that much more realistic. Physical pinball machines often have audio taunts that get players' attention, badgering them until they play the game. While it has nothing to do with gameplay, Zen Studios was clearly trying to make this game as realistic as possible, and audio taunts would have brought them closer to that goal.

Overall, Pinball FX 2 is a great game that is easily worth its cost. As the final game in the Xbox Live Game Feast lineup, which also included Comic Jumper, Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Dead Space: Ignition, Super Meat Boy, and Costume Quest, Pinball FX 2 closes out the promotion on a high point. The game's new multiplayer additions and great looking tables really make for a fantastic package that will appeal to more than just longtime pinball fans.

Pinball FX 2 is now available from the Xbox Live Marketplace for 800 Microsoft Points.

Our Rating:

4 star out of 5 (Excellent)
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