Back in April of 2007, Zen Studios created Pinball FX, a pinball machine video game for Xbox Live Arcade. Pinball FX came with three tables and featured six more via DLC. More than three years later in October of 2010, Zen Studios released the sequel, Pinball FX 2. Pinball FX 2 featured several changes, such as the ability to change table settings, split-screen multiplayer, and the ability to import tables from Pinball FX. The game also featured several more downloadable tables, such as Marvel themed tables, and one of those I'll be looking at today. With that said, let's look at the Fantastic Four table for Pinball FX 2.
Yep, that's right. I'm reviewing a table for a pinball game. Before I get into the table itself, I do want to talk briefly about Pinball FX 2 itself. There's one thing right off the bat that I'm not too fond of; while the game itself is free to download, the tables are not. After you download the game, four tables are available as trials, and by trials, I mean about a minute or so of game time. After that, you can play until your current ball is drained, but you won't gain anymore points. If you happen to have the original Pinball FX and have some tables from that game, apparently they do carry over. As such, the only Pinball FX table I have is the Fantastic Four table, and as such, can't play any other tables until I purchase them.
In terms of the gameplay, it's as you'd expect from a Pinball video game, especially if you've played compilations such as the Pinball Hall of Fame games. The physics are pretty good for a pinball video game. The flippers and tilting respond how you would expect them to, and a lot of the ramps and such take quite a bit of skill to get a lot of points off of, but I'll get more into that when I talk about the table itself. You can change some of the settings for each table, such as difficulty and position of a couple electronic decals and such, and during the game you can cycle through several views as well as temporarily stop the game and get a close-up look of the table. Overall, Pinball FX 2 itself isn't too bad outside of not providing any tables on it's own without buying them, but I'm not here to review Pinball FX 2 itself...oh wait, I kind of did. Any-who, let's get onto the Fantastic Four table.
The design of the table is pretty cool. You have each of the four members of the Fantastic Four placed in various areas on the table, each with their own skill shot areas to score points. In the upper-left corner you have Dr. Doom standing on a rotating platform, which is the basis for one of the ways to get multiball on this table. You can also see pictures of Dr. Doom and Super-Skrull on the table's art as well. In the upper-right corner, you have the Baxter Building, which serves as a way to get more points and is a focal point of one of the missions.
Speaking of missions, this one has several missions that you can choose from to complete for more points. There are six missions total that you can do, five of which you must complete before you can move onto the sixth and final mission. The mission for Mr. Fantastic has you aiming the ball at his outstretched hand (the length his arm stretches is random it seems), and with the proper shot, he'll pick the ball up and place it on a ramp. Do this about six times to complete the mission. For The Invisible Woman, she'll begin creating a force field around her to protect herself against Dr. Doom's attacks. You must increase the force field by shooting the ramp in front of her, but if you're not quick enough, Dr. Doom will begin to destroy the force field. The Thing's mission involves shooting down Doombots as they try to attack The Thing, and is probably one of the easiest missions of the first five, especially if multi-ball is active. For The Human Torch, you must shoot his skill ramp to increase his temperature up to one million degrees. The catch is that his temperature is constantly going down as you're trying to shoot the ramp, so it's a lot tougher than it sounds. I never did hit the Human Torch ramp after I started the mission, so I'm not sure how much each shot increases his temperature.
The fifth mission shows Dr. Doom attacking the Baxter Building and you must protect it before he "destroys" it. I put "destroys" in quotes because, though I've never tried this mission yet, I'm fairly certain the building isn't literally destroyed. To save the building, keep shooting the ball into the Baxter Building before Doom can get any hits in. Though I haven't tried this mission yet, it'd probably be my best one, as I have the tendency to keep hitting the Baxter Building several times each ball. Once the first five missions are done, you can move onto the sixth and final mission. In this mission, the Fantastic Four team up with the Silver Surfer to take down Galactus before he can destroy everything. Granted, I'm sure the table doesn't actually become destroyed, but that would be interesting to see.
That's really all there is to it. This is the first time I've ever written a review on a pinball table as opposed to an entire pinball game such as the Pinball Hall of Fame games, so I really had to rack my brain for things to write about. Granted I'm not the greatest at pinball, but I did enjoy my time playing this table. My main complaints are with the missions, specifically with the Human Torch's. With his, as I stated earlier, you have to hit his skill ramp to raise his temperature up to one million degrees, but all the while you're trying that, his temperature lowers. Once it hits zero, you're time is up. The other missions (well, those for the other Fantastic Four members) really aren't too bad. The Thing's and Mr. Fantastic's were rather easy for some reason, and The Invisible Woman's was a little tricky (couldn't complete it), but overall, it was still a fun table. If you're into the Fantastic Four and like pinball, download Pinball FX 2 and pick this table up. I believe you can also do a trial for this table like some of the others.