First off, this is late. I know it’s late. Ant-Man released not long ago. Why is my review late? Well, part of that is down to me being sick, and part is due to a gameplay problem. For the last few weeks I have had massive issues with Pinball FX2 running on Xbox One. Between crashing when loading the game and crashes when submitting high scores, there’s a lot to be said for general gameplay stability, and during the review for Ant-Man, PBFX2 didn’t seem to have much stability on Xbox One*.
Zen was kind enough to offer a code for Steam as well, many of you won’t have the option of just picking up all the same tables on multiple platforms. We were also told that Zen is aware of this issue and plan on addressing it.
Ant-Man has always seemed to “child-me” to be a B or C-list superhero. He never stood out among Wolverine or Spider-Man-styled “Oh man, he’s awesome” supers. He was a normal dude who shrank. When I first heard the rumors that Marvel was making a feature MCU film about Ant-Man, I wasn’t super impressed. Being a big fan of movies like I Love You, Man, This Is 40 and Role Models, I grew more intrigued when Paul Rudd was announced as the Ant-Man. Fast forward a few months and Marvel has put out a Collectors Corps sub box about Ant-Man (I literally got 4 various sized Ant-Man POPs) and the movie is kicking ass in theaters. Consider my skepticism vanished. Once again, Zen has picked up on a Pop Culture high-point and has a table ready. Wow, that was a lot of words there, but none of them say how the table plays. Let’s get into that bit right now. Also, this will be my first review of a Pinball FX2 table on Steam, in portrait mode, using an Xbox 360 controller.
Rocking Ant-Man in portrait feels a little cluttered at first. Ramps feel narrow and you’ll hear the plonk or boing associated with hitting the edge of a ramp quite a bit. One thing that doesn’t feel narrow are the outer drains. My first game lasted maybe 2 minutes with the ball draining on the left every time. On subsequent plays, this table comes into its own and really shines. Innovative looks at multi-ball, which is a shrunken Pym particle orb, ball saves become tests on non-powered bumper bouncing skills and ramp shooting accuracy missions now have an RFID (I guess) tagged Ant-Man running around the table while you shoot at him with a flipper controlled paintball gun. All of these are standard pinball fare that has been given the special Ant-Man treatment.
There’s even a second playfield under the main field. If you only play PBFX2, then don’t be disappointed to learn that most tables in the real world do not have these. Some things feel a bit more difficult than intended, such as the right hand pop-up ramp that is triggered with a ramp that drops the ball on the right. Transferring the ball to the left flipper typically drops the ramp and makes hitting the target borderline rage-inducing, but this is pinball, so those skill-required insane shots are supposed to be there. This one just happens to be right in your face about it. Sound is on par with the other Pinball FX2 tables, sometimes character lines are a little wooden, but you can always tell who they are supposed to be. I did have some trouble on both Xbox One and PC knowing when the ball was in the bumper field, I still don’t think I’ve heard any sound when those are activated. It detracts from the experience, but only because you aren’t sure when the ball has left the mostly hidden area.
Controls and Graphics are top-notch, as always. If it weren’t for the PBFX2 extras moving around the playfield, then this would be a table that I could see being at the local pinball arcade.
All told, Ant-Man is another solid table from Pinball FX2 and would make a good addition to anyone’s collection, especially Marvel or Ant-Man fans. It’s not the best table, but it’s not the worst. There are some negative caveats, but not enough to make this anything less than a solid table.
*The issues I encountered on Xbox One seem to have been cleared up now. Play away, friends, play away!