Zen Studios has replicated most of the experience from playing pinball at the arcade. The sound of a steel ball hitting the bumper, flashing lights and loud noises which would scare your pets, immortalizing the high score you spent so many quarters achieving. Not only have Zen brought all this to video games, they’ve even brought some of our favorite comics along with tables based on various Marvel characters and Image comics The Walking Dead (Telltale). With virtual reality gaming creating a new way to play games, it’s only fitting Zen use the technology to add another layer to the pinball experience.
Zen studios first licensed VR pinball table is based on Telltale Games The Walking Dead. You’ve probably played the standard version of this table as it’s built on their previous release. You’ll still be able to trigger in-table mini games which highlight moments from season one of Telltale’s story-driven masterpiece. The quirks and easter eggs like Clementine kicking around the soccer ball are all here. What Zen incorporates through VR isn’t an evolutionary pivot, more like breaking through the layer between game and player. Using a VR headset (we used PSVR) players begin in the living area of a virtual house (via Pinball FX 2 VR) that might remind you of Tony Stark’s living room from Iron Man 3.
You’ll jump into the game by selecting it through one of the tables in the room. Starting the game puts the player in an almost exact view to how you’d be able to see the complete machine in real life. You can pivot your head to glance at the artwork adorning the sides, even look at the unnecessarily built in big blinking start button. In a fun decorating twist, bringing the players eye level with the machine you’ll immediately notice Clementine taking cover on one side of the machine as a walker tries to reach over and grab her from the opposite side. What VR really enhances is how the table’s mini games are played. When the mini game screen is triggered a new virtual screen is brought into the viewer making the games clearer and easier to navigate than the traditional version.
In order to play the Walking Dead table content, you will need to have Pinball FX2 VR. This base game will run PSVR (also on HTC Vive) owners $14.99 and includes four tables: Mars, Secrets of the Deep, and Epic Quest. As with all the Zen pinball games; players can upload their scores online to pit yourself against others worldwide and will have more content in the coming months. The tables which come with Pinball FX follow similar aesthetic as the Walking Dead in VR and watching the scenery change with the tables is a sight to behold. Your virtual living room goes from floating outside the red planet to the bottom of the sea in a shark encounter. The Walking Dead content will run players an additional $6.99. For owners of PSVR, the $22 price tag of the game and content combined is still a value compared to the high cost of other short VR games.
Ultimately, should you be an early PSVR/Vive adopter or someone who receives it for Christmas; The Walking Dead VR Pinball and Pinball FX VR should be on your radar. While it’s a bit short of a revolutionary experience, the price point does add another value to the PSVR hardware ownership debate. Pinball FX2 VR and the Walking Dead VR table will be available November 29 for PSVR and HTC Vive. If this garners enough interest then it’s almost certain Zen will VR some of their previous Marvel and Star Wars themed tables.