Announced and released this week, the Guardians of the Galaxy pinball table for Pinball FX 2 was something of a surprise. Unfortunately, the table doesn't quite hit the same bar as the movie on which it is based. Guardians of the Galaxy isn't a bad table, but it is one of Zen's weaker offerings.
Guardians of the Galaxy starts out with a bang, offering up a four-ball, 60-second multiball that allows players to rack up some easy points. It's done in the context of a prison escape, so you earn extra bonuses for hitting the ramps. The frenzy can be a little overwhelming (part of the challenge is lining up your shots with three other balls in the way), but the guaranteed ball save ensures that players of all skill levels get in on the action. After the escape, there is a bonus skill shot which, if made, grants extra points and a full-screen, full-color title sequence. If you miss the skill shot, the table title appears in the simulated LCD display.
The Guardians of the Galaxy table design is heavy on ramps and loops, with only a small smattering of bumpers and other targets to hit. You'll spend most of your play time running the ramps and loops to open up specific play modes and then again to complete those play modes. It feels oddly focused when compared to the majority of Pinball FX 2 tables, which tend to offer more play variety.
Unlockable missions are character-specific, and those result in the corresponding character-specific ball appearing on the table. For example, when playing Star-Lord's mission, you have a ball in his colors. Battling Ronan, you have to hit the lit loops and ramps before nailing the three targets underneath your opponent.
The character balls sound like a good idea (and it does change up things visually), but the design of the table interferes in an unintended way. The center area is Groot-themed and therefore dark brown (like tree bark). Guess what? The Rocket and Groot balls are both dark brown, and when you unlock Rocket's mission, Groot is there at his side. This means you're playing two-ball multiball, trying to hit lit targets with the specific corresponding ball, and both are blending in with the table. It's not challenging, but it's needlessly frustrating.
Because it's a movie tie-in, Guardians of the Galaxy features a number of quotes lifted from the film. The only problem is that the table doesn't use actual clips. The quotes are all voiced by sound-alike actors who are really more like sound-nothing-alike actors. If you go from seeing the film to playing the game, the difference is quite jarring.
One other oddity is the lack of achievements on the Xbox 360. Other tables in Pinball FX 2 typically have one or two achievements, but Guardians of the Galaxy comes sans achievements of any kind. It's a little thing, but Xbox players will notice their absence.
All in all, Guardians of the Galaxy is an average table that will likely sell based on the license and the accessibility for casual players, rather than on the quality of the table itself. If you've already mastered every other table in the Pinball FX 2 library, then give it a look, but if you're still making your way through the Zen archive, there are better options.
Editor's Note: Be sure to check out our review of the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie.
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