By: Mike Chen
Zen Pinball seems to be working their way through every Marvel license these days, and to coincide with the upcoming Ant-Man, there’s a pinball table based on one of the company’s more obscure heroes. The film’s early buzz is that it’s successful in its less-is-more mentality when compared to some of the more overblown recent spectacles, and the pinball table follows the same approach.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the table is much less cluttered than most of Zen’s tables. This is actually one of Ant-Man’s biggest strengths, as Zen tables can sometimes be too busy to consistently follow what’s going on. Not only does it help with visibility, it also extends gameplay, as there are fewer surprise jolts and bounces on the lower half. The upper half of the table is more to Zen’s usual standards, with multiple ramps, levels, traps and targets. In particular, the Pym particle is what makes Ant-Man unique.
Usually, multi-ball is an elusive goal that requires specific targets and locks chained together. However, it’s simple here: hit the Pym particle enough and you unleash multi-ball madness. As Ant-Man is based around shrinking down, multi-ball can also use a shrunken ball, which makes for all kinds of interesting ball physics.
Zen tables usually have a secondary table or two for bonus features, and Ant-Man’s comes right in the heart of the table — underneath it, actually. This small circular mini-table can be a little hard to see, and it’s basically hopeless if you’re engaged in Pym-activated multi-ball at the same time. Given the theme of shrinking and enlarging, this part is a little disappointing since Zen is usually fairly creative with their bonus areas (Star Wars Rebels’ variety was particularly inspired).
Finally, like all Zen tables, there’s a limited amount of dialogue here, so get ready for repetition. Usually, Zen licenses source audio, but Ant-Man uses soundalikes. No Michael Douglas here; the man pretending to be Hank Pym telling you about lit ramps and bonus balls is not the dude from Wall Street.
One of Zen’s better efforts, what it lacks in audio/visual flare, Ant-Man makes up for with a unique multi-ball trigger and a fun take on the film/comic’s shrinking abilities.