I’ll admit, when I first heard Zen Studios were doing pinball tables for Pinball FX (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X /S, Xbox One, PC) based on the Godzilla and King Kong movies, I was hoping they meant the classic Toho movies. I would’ve loved to play pinball tables based on 1963’s King Kong Vs. Godzilla, 1967’s King Kong Escapes, and 1971’s Godzilla Vs. Hedorah, as well as their respective and eponymous debuts from 1954 and 1933. But it seems getting to play black & white pinball tables, or ones drenched in smog or robot monkey parts will have to wait (or cost me $7K), as the Godzilla Vs. Kong Pack instead has three tables based on the more recent movies: 2014’s Godzilla, 2017’s Skull Island, 2019’s Godzilla, King Of The Monsters, and 2021’s Godzilla Vs. Kong. But as fun as these tables may be, it’s odd that they’re not really based on all four movies…
For those unfamiliar with Pinball FX,
it’s a virtual pinball arcade, filled with whatever pinball tables you purchase individually. These not only include classic pinball tables made by Williams and Bally, such as 1997’s Medieval Madness, 1996’s Safe Cracker, and 1996’s Tales Of The Arabian Knights, but also original ones based on Star Wars, Marvel Comics, and Jaws. All of which come with such options as multiple viewpoints, including a slider that moves the camera angle up and down, letting you see how the table would look if you were, say, 4’11” or 6’2″ or somewhere in between.
The tables in Zen Pinball are also more forgiving than real ones, and will give you a reprieve if you lose a ball rather quickly. Which makes sense; they’re not build to suck down your every quarter.
But the real difference between the recreations of classic tables and the new ones are that while the Williams and Bally tables are accurate replicas, the ones made by Zen Studios have the ball moving realistically around tables that are unrealistic. How else can you explain how the tables in the Godzilla Vs. Kong Pack have such physically and technologically improbable mechanics as, for instance, an action figure of Mechagodzilla shooting a laser beam across the table.
As for the specific tables in the Godzilla Vs. Kong Pack, let’s start where the movies did, with the Godzilla table. Befitting his stature as the king of all monsters, the Godzilla table is a rather classic-style pinball table, with a relatively open lower half, and a number of ramps and hidden passageways at top, along with bumpers and spinners. It also only has two flippers, and has them at the bottom. As a result, the ball can really get moving, especially when it shoots out from some unexpected angle towards your hopefully ready flippers.
Though what’s odd about the table is how it seems more inspired by Godzilla’s role in Godzilla Vs. Kong than either of his movies. Instead of having one of the M.U.T.O.s from the first film on the table, or King Ghidorah, Rodan, or Mothra from the second, it has Mechagodzilla from Vs. Which isn’t terrible or anything, but it does seem odd given that, as we’ll get to, the Godzilla Vs. Kong Pack includes a table based on Godzilla Vs. Kong.
Moving on, sort of, a similar criticism can be levied against the King Kong table, which is also inspired by his part of King Kong Vs. Godzilla and not his movie, Skull Island. Hence why the plunger is the ship the people fly into the hollow Earth as opposed to a tiny and ticked off Samuel L. Jackson.
The King Kong table is also similar to the Godzilla one in how the lower half is also relatively open, while the top half is largely covered. Except where Godzilla had numerous ramps and railways, King Kong is one giant mountain that the ball can go into, and come out somewhere else. It’s also slightly bigger than the upper part of the Godzilla table, and has a third flipper, about half-way up the right side, all of which results in the ball not going as fast (usually), but compensating by giving you less time to notice it and react.
Godzilla Vs. Kong
Which brings us to the final table, Godzilla Vs. Kong. Which, unlike the others, actually is based on the movie in question. Hence why King Kong is standing on an aircraft carrier, looking like he’s learning how to surf. Though it’s hard not to think this might’ve worked better had it been based more on the climactic battle in the bright and colorful city of Hong Kong, which was not just the highlight of that movie, but of all four.
The Godzilla Vs. Kong table is also different from the Godzilla and King Kong tables in that the lower half is more crowded, with the ramps and alleyways filling up the right side. It also, like Kong, has a third flipper in the middle of the left side. Because of this, the table is the slowest of the three, which makes it more thoughtful than reactive. Which isn’t to say it isn’t fun to play, it is, just that it isn’t as much of a challenge to keep the ball in play; the challenge is more in sending it where you need it to go.
Now, as these things go, the tables in the Godzilla Vs. Kong Pack are not as addictive or inventive as the best Star Wars ones, or the Family Guy and South Park tables. It also seems like they missed an opportunity by not having King Kong or Godzilla go on a rampage on any — or really, all — of these tables, chasing after the ball like it’s some army guy who’s been trying to kill them. Now that would be a pinball table. But as is, all three are still a lot of fun, providing the kind of addictive challenge as, well, that $7K pinball machine I’m currently saving up for.