Iron & Steel Pack (Wild West Rampage, CastleStorm) For Zen Pinball 2 & Pinball FX 2 Review
It’s been three long years since Zen Studios last onade an original table for Pinball FX2 (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC), Zen Pinball 2 (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, WiiU, Mac), or Zen Pinball games (iOS, Android, Amazon Fire). But after playing the new “Wild West Rampage” table — one of two in the just-released “Iron & Steel” pack — it’s clear they haven’t lost their touch.
Set in the Old West — well, a cartoony interpretation of the Old West from Hollywood movies, anyway — “Wild West Rampage” has a saloon you can shoot the ball into, a train engine to fling the ball onto the table, and a Sherriff’s badge as a spinner. There’s even times when the ball comes crashing through a second story window like a bad guy who’s running from the law (though now that I think about it, the ball also jumps out the window after it goes into the saloon; this is one no-good, bush whackin’ ball, if I may be so Yosemite Sam for a moment).
In fact, the tenets of “Wild West Rampage” are so rooted in the cinematic Old West that, with a quick call to Mel Brooks, Zen Studios could’ve very easily made this a Blazing Saddles table.
As for the table itself, what it lacks in bumpers (a common theme about Zen’s tables), it more than makes up for with ramps, especially along the top, which gives the ball a bit of a speed boost, making this rather challenging. It also has the usual compliment of minigames, including one where you have to hit some barrels to make them explode, and another where you have to release some innocent people from jail while the sheriff sleeps (and snores).
Along with “Wild West Rampage,” the “Iron & Steel” pack also includes “CastleStorm,” a table based on Zen’s action-strategy-RPG of the same name. As with the original game, the “CastleStorm” table has a cartoony medieval theme, complete with a dragon, an evil knight, and even a donkey who kicks the ball into play.
In terms of its construction, “CastleStorm” is somewhat similar to “Wild West Rampage,” in that both have numerous ramps at the top, which really sends the ball flying. But what sets it apart is that “CastleStorm” has a bumper-centric mini table at the top, complete with dedicated flippers. Though unlike in other pinball tables that have mini tables — both Zen’s and real ones — you’ll actually wind up playing this mini table quite often.
“CastleStorm” also plays faster and looser with the multi-ball than “Wild West Rampage” does, which is just one reason why its a decidedly higher scoring table. While it took me a couple games to break three million on “Wild West Rampage,” I did that on my first game of “CastleStorm,” and then tripled my high score on my second go-round.
But what really sets “CastleStorm” apart, in a good way, is when these berserkers start advancing on your lower flippers, and you have to knock them down with the ball. Sadly, you don’t face them nearly enough, though it does add an element of danger you don’t usually find in a pinball table. I just hope Zen have Stormtroopers do this if they get to make a Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Unleashed table.
As unique as “CastleStorm” may be, though, it’s hard not to notice some similarities, at least thematically, with Zen’s “Epic Quest” table, since both tables are decidedly silly in their depictions of medieval fantasy tropes. Though having said that, “CastleStorm” isn’t nearly as Monty Python And The Holy Grail-ish as “Epic Quest,” and structurally the two table are quite different.
Of course, as is de rigueur with Zen’s pinball tables, both “Wild West Rampage” and “CastleStorm” boast authentic physics and sound effects; you can really hear the metal rolling on wood as it realistically bounces around the table.
Though as is also a common thread with Zen’s tables, it can sometimes be hard to read the messages on the versions played on a TV, on a count of the text being so small (though it’s not an issue on such small screens as the Vita edition). But since these pop-ups usually don’t tell you anything of grave importance — when you’re going to break your high score, when you’re going to break a friend’s high score, that kind of stuff — it’s no big deal.
I won’t deny that there are plenty of licensed tables I’d like Zen to make. Well, five of them really (which you can read about here). But after playing “Wild West Rampage” — and, to a lesser extent, “CastleStorm,” since it’s based on their own game — I really hope it doesn’t take them another three years before they do something original again.
4 thoughts on “Iron & Steel Pack (Wild West Rampage, CastleStorm) For Zen Pinball 2 & Pinball FX 2 Review”
When are we getting it on wi u
I don’t know. I’d ask the publisher directly. Should be a contact thing on their website, http://blog.zenstudios.com
“…a good way, is when these berserkers start advancing on your lower flippers, and you have to knock them down with the ball. Sadly, you don’t face them nearly enough,..”
The encroaching berserkers are exactly what annoys so much about this table (and why i don’t play it)!
I’m not surprised. As I said, I thought it added something interesting to the table, but I’m not surprised that some people don’t like it.
Thanks for reading.