If you’ve ever wanted to feel the element of RPG slightly more in a pinball game than you do in other fantasy styled pinball tables, then this week’s release of Zen Studios’ Epic Quest table is right up your alley. Zen has been thinking about this and working on it for some time now, and finally it is released to the masses for their enjoyment. “How”, you ask, “How can they fit RPG into a pinball table?” Well it is simply. You see, Officer Pinball was driving his police car and ran over a nerd with a pen and paper game under his arm… Ok that is just a bad joke. Seriously though, let me walk you through the game and show off the RPGness of it all.
Your player character is already chosen for you and given the name Max. Sorry, they had to make it the same but if you try really hard you can pretend you are special and the only Max in the world. While Max is trying to heroically fight evil and monsters, he also wants to find gold and loot while doing so. Zen Studios pushed hard on character development to really bring Max to life for the player. His heroism is epic, but so is his comedic posture and language. The development team hopes to hit a vein with those who enjoy other comedic parodies, such as Monty Python’s Holy Grail. I find the comedy light and playful and not as dirty as say, Medieval Madness.
Let me walk you through the table, and while you read me explaining I hope you follow along with the numbered picture above (open in another window, it is very large) so as not to confuse you so much. Start with the plunger at 1 trying to make the skill shot in the middle stall in the barn at 2. You’ll need to depress the plunger so that the ogre’s teeth are barely covered and you’ll have to practice this quite a bit. Even after playing for 4 days, I still can only make this half of the time. If you make the shot you will travel down the wire slot, or if you make another stall you will enter the playing field as well. If you over shoot, you’ll have your chance to enter the orcanium at 4 with the flipper at 3. (I like to remember it as the response to the statement, “I can do magic, Or can I? UM”) You can also get back up to the flipper at 3 by taking a ride on the waterwheel at 5. If you miss all of that and then miss your regular flippers and still have the quest again light, the ball will launch itself and be grabbed by the plant at 6 and then spit onto the field. This is probably so you don’t get bonuses on a play again launch. You can encounter your battles by getting into the orcanium(4) or if I remember correctly, entering the forest(7) enough by taking the loop at 6 or just a too soft of orbital loop around the outside where it drops in. Also sometimes the ball launcher at 8 will spit you there as well. Then it will spit you back on the field towards the flippers or sometimes over the smash target(9) and by Max. During battles, you can dodge an attack by taking the outside loop, you can add time until you are attacked by hitting bumpers such as the ones in the forest(7), or you can hit the smash target(9) for a big attack. Normal attacks are at the sword ramp(11) and the shield ramp(10) will defend yourself. You can also go into the orcanium to cast spells if you have been in there before and collecting them. Entering the orcanium(4) with a battle either gives you one or a spell it seems. In the orcanium(4) you use the right flipper to push 4 wood plungers out to knock the ball into holes. Going there during battle without a spell will still let you push the ball in for extra points. After a battle, you can sometimes find loot in the orbital loop, or sometimes hitting the ball launcher at 8 seems to let you “purchase” new armors and whatnot. The yellow items are regular, blues are rare, and purples are EPIC! Hidden at 12 you will find a healer, in case you take too much damage. This is in case you health(14) is low and you need more time to take your opponents health(15) down. After heavy battles, the princess(13) might reward you. Take the shield ramp(10) and the tube will take you to her. Use your flippers to select when to drop the ball onto her dressy roulette wheel. The best part of all of this is that the items you end up finding stay with Max every time you play. You’ll level up with the XP bar(16) and it controls several things in the game such as:
- Hit Point base (HP) which includes damage base and the opposing monster’s hit point and
- damage base
- The value of loot (the score you get when you sell an unused item)
- The possibility of encountering a monster with elemental resistance / weaknesses
- The possibility of finding an epic item
- The knight’s rank
- o Progression: Minor Knight → Knight → High Knight → Champion → Monster Hunter →
- Golden Knight → Arch Knight → Veteran Looter → Epic Hero
- The Jackpot value of the Princess Multiball
- The ball out bonus (XP bonus)
- The XP required for the next level
Ok, now you should know how to play the game. I know that sometimes it is hard to catch on to how irregular pinball games are played, so I hope you feel clued in on what this table is about. Zen Studios really did their best to create a new type of pinball game without leaving the pinball purists behind. I think this table is quite challenging and believe me when I say I did not spoil it for you in the least in this review. There is much, much more for you to discover on your own. In fact, you’ll discover how hard it is to hit the sword ramp and smash target. Well, I had difficulty in doing so at least. I played a local hotseat with my wife and I think she has taken down more enemies than I have. In fact, if multiplayer would keep a high score, she would own me on this game. Meanwhile, the playful wording of Max’s lines and the excellent uniqueness of the art distract me from these challenges and my shortcomings. Truly this table is Epic!
Epic Quest, is now available for download for Pinball FX2 on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for 240 MSP, Zen Pinball on PlayStation®Network for $2.49, Apple App®Store and Android Marketplace™ for $0.99.