This isn’t going to be a full-length review, since it is just a single pinball table DLC for Zen Pinball 2. But I did feel like it was worth running a brief review on it, because of the many (many) tables available through Zen Pinball 2, this one is up there with the very best.
The “football” in the title refers to what certain people in the world (including Australians) call soccer, and right from the outset this DLC has been designed to appeal first and foremost to the fans of the sport. There are eight different versions of this table. One is a generic “Zen Pinball All-Stars” table, but that’s not the one most people will download, I suspect. The real appeal is in the other seven tables which are all modelled after some of the most popular football clubs in Europe. Fans of Arsenal, Liverpool FC, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid C.F., A.C. Milan, Juventus Football Club, and A.S. Roma will be able to buy a table that plays the same as the other tables, but features the colours and mascots of their own team.
I’m a bit disappointed that there’s no Crystal Palace team, but what can you do, right?
The table itself is designed incredibly well and reflects the real sport of football in an abstract but effective manner. The best way to score points is to flick the ball up the ramps to initiate “attacks” on goal. Then, when you’ve built up enough momentum, you’ll be taken to a minigame where you’ll take a shot at goal. Land it, and you score a boatload of points. But, if you don’t flick the ball up a ramp quickly enough then the opposition will have been considered to score a goal against you.
The sheer love for the sport of football is evident from start to finish here. Zen Pinball tables always feature technical expertise, but I’ve not see the aesthetics as impressive as I have here. The colour and the energy are spot on, and the small details are all perfect – for instance the ball in this table is coloured as a soccer ball. That sounds simple enough, but where a regular pinball is one colour, and so relatively easy to represent as a rolling object, the two tone soccer ball is more visually impressive (and difficult) to represent as a rolling object.
As usual for Zen Pinball tables, I might sit down to play for ten minutes and wind up playing for hours and hours. The big question is: does this appeal to people who aren’t fans of soccer? Well, the quality is there, and I was able to enjoy the Clone Wars, Street Fighter and Blade tables without being massive fans of those respective series. So I say go for it, and help Real Madrid (in the absence of Crystal Palace) to nab the cup!
– Matt S.
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