Zen Pinball: Excalibur Review

by: Tina -
More On: Zen Pinball ZEN Pinball Street Fighter II Tribute ZEN Pinball Excalibur
Back in September of last year, I reviewed the Street Fighter II Tribute DLC to Zen Pinball. It was appealing because it took the great mechanics of the Zen Pinball table and complimented it with the intrigue of a very popular fighting game. I expected that the latest released DLC, Excalibur, would amount to similar gameplay of using ball traps and ramps to land combos that result in bigger point accumulation indicated by a snazzy light show. Read on to see how this latest DLC faired for ZEN Studios’ realistic pinball game.

The look and feel of Excalibur is very reminiscent of the Street Fighter II Tribute DLC. There are iconic characters/figures strewn about the table, and the same signals on the board that represent possible combos you can acquire. What sets Excalibur apart from the other tables you can play, minus the charm of the theme itself, is the rule set. Street Fighter II Tribute allowed you to battle against Akuma by hitting a particular ramp a certain number of times in order, but in Excalibur you can actually duel the King by hitting your ball against his face once you’ve initiated combat. The combos you make are all livelier in nature in this DLC. You can battle various beasts, or joust with another knight.

Of course, a lot of the procedure to inciting a battle or gaining bonus points will entail hitting a moving target or using a ramp at the opportune moment. Although this isn’t a unique feature to a pinball table, there isn’t much leeway around that as it is part of the gameplay. What I did find hindering, however, was just how difficult the rules were to follow. After spending some time with Excalibur, you’ll come to familiarize yourself with both the rules and the table itself, but the rules ask a lot from your pinball skills. If you are a veteran pinball gamer, chances are this DLC is right up your alley, as you’ll be looking for more of a challenge. Excalibur has very appropriate sequences available, such as Arthur pulling the sword from the stone, but you might never see them if you don’t have the patience or tolerance for the prerequisite moves that unlock these special scenes.

All in all, Zen Studios delivers the same visually appealing and reference-rife table that is as charming as it is entertaining. What is unique to the experience of this DLC, however, comes down to the special combos you can (if you are so skilled) procure from a lot of practice and a bit of luck. When you do manage to hit the same ramp 10 times consecutively, or time separate strikes back to back within a very limited time frame, you’ll be in for a show and a lot of personal praise. If you aren’t a pinball gamer of weak spirits, this DLC will surely provide the challenge you’ve undoubtedly been searching for.

Zen Pinball Excalibur: $2.49
Gaming Nexus Grade: A-
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