Pinball FX 2
|Pinball FX 2|
|Publisher(s)||Microsoft Game Studios|
|Distributor(s)||Microsoft Game Studios|
|Release date(s)||XBLA: October 27, 2010
Windows 8: October 27, 2012
Steam: May 10, 2013 Windows Phone 7/8: TBA 2014
Pinball FX 2 is a pinball video game for Xbox 360 and Windows (XP and higher) and is the sequel to Pinball FX. It was developed by Zen Studios and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released on October 27, 2010 via the Xbox Live Arcade service. The game includes several new features, such as local multiplayer and the ability to tweak table settings. Players can also import all of the tables from Pinball FX they had previously purchased. The Windows 8 version of Pinball FX 2 was released on the Windows Store on October 27, 2012, two years after the original XBLA release. The Windows 8 version contains the full version of the Mars table for free. The game was subsequently released for other Windows platforms via Steam on May 10, 2013. This game was announced and will be released for Windows Phone. Due to other projects taking place, the date of this mobile release has not been confirmed yet.
Pinball FX 2 uses the same basic rules as a physical pinball machine, but in a virtual environment. As with a traditional pinball machine, the player fires a steel ball onto the playfield using a plunger. Once the ball is in play the player controls the flippers and can nudge the machine to influence the path of the ball. Each of the game's tables become more complex as the game advances, opening new paths and opportunities.
The game allows use of the Xbox Live Vision camera to operate the flippers and to video chat with Xbox Live opponents. It also features leaderboards and online multiplayer for up to four players. Players can also participate in split-screen multiplayer. Multiplayer games are won by being the first to achieve the set high score, which can be adjusted from 10 to 100 million points. Penalties can also be set for losing a ball with players losing anywhere from 5 to 25 percent of their score when a ball is lost.
Pinball FX 2 is available free of charge and includes tables that can be played with a set time limit. Players can choose to download an expansion pack dubbed Pinball FX 2 Core which unlocks four tables: BioLab, Pasha, Rome, and Secrets of the Deep. Additional tables can be purchased individually, or via compilations. The first compilation, titled Pinball FX Classic, contains four tables from the original Pinball FX. As the original Pinball FX was delisted from Xbox Live Marketplace, people who purchased Pinball FX receive the Classic collection, as well as other tables they purchased for that title, for free. The second compilation, Marvel Pinball, has four pinball tables based on major Marvel Comics characters: Blade, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Wolverine. Achievements are based on the table rather than the game, allowing Pinball FX 2 to have a record 2050 gamerscore and 97 achievements on Xbox Live Arcade.[note 1] Each table can also be tweaked and configured via the game's Operators menu. This allows players to adjust where certain parts of the table are located and how many points unlock special sections and features of the table. On April 20, 2011, the Mars table was released. Themed around the planet of the same name, it is the first new individual table since the release of Pinball FX 2. On August 31, 2011, Pinball FX 2 received its first original individual table with the release of Ms. Splosion Man, a table based on the Xbox Live Arcade platformer of the same name developed by Twisted Pixel Games. From October 26 to November 2, 2011, the full version of the Paranormal table was given away for free as a gift to the game's fans. On September 4, 2012, a table based on the popular PopCap Games title Plants vs. Zombies was released for both Pinball FX 2 and the newly released Zen Pinball 2 for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. On December 12, 2012, four tables from Zen Pinball were released for Pinball FX 2, leaving only one PlayStation 3-exclusive table from the original Zen Pinball remaining on that platform.
|Individual tables||Table packs|
^a Individual tables from Pinball FX
^b Individual tables from Zen Pinball
^c Individual tables from Marvel Pinball
^d Individual tables made for Pinball FX 2 (and either ^z1 Zen Pinball or ^z2 Zen Pinball 2)
^e Four tables made for Pinball FX 2: Secrets of the Deep, Biolab, Pasha, Rome
^f Four tables from Pinball FX: Speed Machine, Extreme, Agents, Buccaneer
^g Four tables from Zen Pinball: Tesla, Shaman, El Dorado, V12
^h Four tables from Marvel Pinball:
- ^m1 Wolverine, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Bladex
- ^m2 Thor, Ghost Rider,x Moon Knight,x X-Menx
- ^m3 The Avengers, Fear Itself, The Infinity Gauntlet, World War Hulk
^i Three Star Wars-themed tables: The Empire Strikes Back, Boba Fett and Star Wars: The Clone Wars
^j Full table was temporarily free to download
^k Full table is included for free on the Windows 8 version
^l Tables in table pack (except those marked with an x) are released as individual tables in the Windows 8 version
^n Full table is included for free on Steam
^o This table contains the fictional team "Zen Studios F.C.", but also has the following real teams available: Liverpool F.C., Arsenal F.C., Real Madrid C.F., FC Barcelona, Juventus, A.S. Roma, and A.C. Milan. The physical design of the table is the same throughout, and all aesthetic designs are separate purchases.
^p Contains three Star Wars-themed tables: Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader and Star Wars: Starfighter Assault
^q Contains four Star Wars-themed tables: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Han Solo, Droids and Star Wars: Masters of the Force.
^x Table(s) is/are only available on the Xbox 360 version and is/are currently not available on the Windows 8 version
Development and marketing
Pinball FX 2's existence was first leaked to the public via the Australian Classification Board website on August 11, 2010. It was officially announced on August 31, 2010. The game was originally slated for release on October 13, 2010, however last minute delays pushed the game back two weeks. It was released for the Xbox 360 via the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace on October 27, 2010 as part of Microsoft's Game Feast promotion. The development team consisted of roughly 15 individuals, and development lasted 18 months.
Zen Studios Managing Director Zsolt Kigyossy detailed the reasons for focusing primarily on pinball games. "We have guys in the studio who have spent countless hours and pockets full of money at arcades playing pinball." Kigyossy explained that the design process for the tables begins with a conceptual design on paper. Basic 3D models and shapes are then created and implemented into a test environment. The artists then add graphical details and animations. Once gameplay and visual design is complete a final pass is made "properly lighting the table, so the tables becomes lifelike." Simultaneously other designers work on the LED display system, sound and gameplay mechanics. The game then spends two to three months in testing before the table is considered ready for release. The entire process takes approximately six months per table. Kigyossy further stated the team plans to "keep the tables coming, support our games long term, and give fans a great selection to choose from."
The developers stated that they listened to fan responses from the first game and implemented those ideas into the sequel. "We have been listening to our fans and building the pinball game that they envisioned," stated Kigyossy. "It took a little longer than expected, but we have designed a game that unifies the online community, and takes all the social features to the next level." The game was made available free of charge and gives players the ability to try any table for a limited time. Players can then elect to download Pinball FX 2 Core which unlocks full versions of the Pinball FX 2 tables. Owners of the original Pinball FX can import their existing tables, then selectively choose which of the new tables they want to download. Players who do not own Pinball FX can purchase the Pinball FX Classic pack, which contains the three original tables along with the free downloadable table from the original game. Kigyossy hinted that some of the exclusive tables from Zen Pinball would be coming in the future to Pinball FX 2, which was realized when the Mars table was released on April 20, 2011. Zen Studios announced on February 29, 2012 that the game would be available for free along with the Sorcerer's Lair table for Windows 8 users, with the additional tables available as premium downloadable content. It was released on the new OS for download from the Windows Store on October 27, 2012, although the Mars table was provided for free instead.
|Pinball FX 2|
Pinball FX 2 received positive reviews from critics. On the aggregate sites GameRankings and Metacritic, it holds a score of 84.29% and 88/100, respectively. Both sites report a majority review scores of 80% and higher. Sales were high its first week of release, moving over 19,000 units. 2010 sales have exceeded 82,000 units for the Core pack. Individual downloadable table sales have ranged from 47,000 to 97,000 units. Reviewers felt the game was an improvement over its predecessor, Pinball FX. GamesRadar's Matthew Keast stated "You'll forget you're not playing an actual table." Nick Chester of Destructoid added "Zen [Studios] already has pinball on consoles nailed."
Critics praised the game's ability to play updated versions of the tables previously available for Pinball FX. Andrew Reiner of Game Informer expressed satisfaction with the functionality, indicating that the new social scoring mechanics provided incentive to play the tables again in the new engine. Eurogamer's Kristan Reed noted that all of the tables from both games are available for demo play. Several reviewers also praised the upgraded physics, feeling that they were lifelike. Richard Basset of TeamXbox noted that the game's graphics were a vast improvement, noting that tables from Pinball FX also received visual upgrades. Table design itself was also given high marks, with Reed calling them "excellent". GameSpot's Justin Calvert noted the wide variety of tables, but expressed frustration regarding the purchasing of new tables. "It's unfortunate that not all of the tables are available to buy individually" stated Calvert, adding "you have to buy at least one of the four-packs before you have the option to play any of the singles."
The game's updated multiplayer and other new features also received high marks. TeamXbox's Richard Basset praised the addition of split-screen multiplayer, as did GameSpot's Justin Calvert. Calvert also noted the addition of four player, turn-based local multiplayer was a welcome addition. Kristan Reed of Eurogamer noted the new ability to adjust settings on the tables, allowing for enthusiasts to tweak the game to their liking. He also lauded the new social features, calling them the "real genius" of the game. Some reviewers mentioned that while the online multiplayer was impressive they had difficulty finding games to join.
- The number of achievements and gamerscore has since been increased with additional table releases.
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