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Marvel Pinball: Ant-Man
Score: 90%
Publisher: Zen Studios
Developer: Zen Studios
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4 (Online)
Genre: Arcade/Classic/Retro/Online


Marvel's Ant-Man is super fun, and you should totally go see it. Ok, done yet? Let's talk about Marvel Pinball's latest addition to the ever-growing family of fantasy pinball tables. It's becoming increasingly difficult to talk about each table, as the quality is pretty consistent across the board, and in a perfect world, almost every review would simply read "Zen gives [insert franchise] the same treatment that it has given [one of several other franchises]." But I'll extol the virtues of Marvel Pinball: Ant-Man for a bit, instead.


While Zen Studios has traveled far into left field for some of its Marvel adaptations (World War Hulk and Moon Knight being two noteworthy examples), they play it safe with Ant-Man, sticking strictly to the events of the recently-released film. Of course, all of it revolves around ex-con Scott Lang taking up his new identity as the second Ant-Man with the help of Hank Pym (the original) and his daughter Hope. And as you'd expect, much of the table's design is themed around the heist that is central to the film.

The theming, as always, walks the fine line between retro camp and fancy tech. Take the play field for instance, which looks like it's been cobbled together with spare bits of movie posters and assorted promotional materials. But it's in the little things (har har) where it impresses most. Particularly the ball launcher and the mysterious subatomic orb that lies in the back half of the table...

Let's Get Small:

Missions are also very much what you'd expect from a movie-based pinball table. Specific moments from the film are made to fit the pinball formula, with predictably successful results. Of course, you'll train with Hope, learn to control your ant buddies, and tangle with the villainous Darren Cross, a.k.a. Yellowjacket.

As stated, mission design is varied and diverse enough to keep you exploring. And that's something you'll need to do a lot of, as most of the playable space isn't really accessible from the beginning. But once you figure out how to do things like access missions, shrink, and get underneath the table, it's a breeze. Pinball is inherently extremely difficult, even without taking the element of chance out of it; human reflexes are generally not up to the task of keeping a game going for hours at a time. Still, every table has its difficulty curve; you need to figure out where everything is, and that will take a while.


I'm really starting to miss the days of table packs, when Zen would bundle four of them around some central theme and release them together; while they've done a spectacular job of supporting Marvel Pinball, the staggered one-off releases are a bit disconcerting.

But don't let me ramble on and on about that; it's not like the tables themselves are expensive enough for anyone to complain about a single thing. While pinball tables aren't the binge-worthy experiences that seem to make up AAA game development these days, they still serve as worthwhile palate cleansers. And Marvel Pinball: Ant-Man is a good one.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated