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.
Starting today you’ll be able to get your fix of nutty and batty gaming. Today Gotham City Impostors is live for both Xbox Live and PSN following yesterdays release on the PC market. Gotham City Impostors allows average everyday citizens the chance to step up and fill the shoes of the local vigilante or villain. I’m not quite sure what happened to Batman or Joker, perhaps they are locked in battle somewhere. What I do know is that Gotham is free for the taking, for both sides. Whether you are playing as one of the Bats or one of the Jokerz, you’ll employ an unusual arsenal of weapons and devices to help your team control the game map.
If you hadn’t had a chance to get in on beta game-play, here is what you can be expecting. You’ll have your choice of guns, no need to be ethical here or you’ll be shot. While Batman and Joker usually have their own cash flow that provides them with tools and toys, you’ll have to make due with whatever you have. You can grapple your way across the map, roller-blade, or even hang glide. You’d better watch out for bear traps or other cleverly placed devices and don’t be surprised by a pipe bomb or two. This isn’t just all out death-match either. You’ll have to play nicely with your team and help capture objectives. Either you’ll be going after gas points that will eventually spew forth delicious death to your enemies, or transport a battery to a demoralizing device. Of course, be sure to kill everyone you meet in between those spots. Although there is no singing, this is still the most epic battle I’ve seen since the Sharks and Jets. It should run you about $15, I don’t know if anyone needs to hear about MSP anymore though.
Reverb Publishing has picked up Swedish based developer Coffee Stain Studios to publish the sequel to their first title, Sanctum. Reverb just struck it big by publishing the wildly popular Dungeon Defenders title virtually available on all formats. If you’re wondering what this means for Sanctum 2, it means that it too will be hitting consoles as well as the pc. Sanctum itself sold over 300,000 copies just on Steam alone, so the spread of the formats bodes well for the studio.
Reverb Publishing (also known as Reverb Communications the popular PR company) is also fairly excited about the transition for the title. “We’re always searching for great games from passionate developers, particularly studios that have innovative ideas that get us excited to play them,” said Ted Lange, executive producer, Reverb Publishing. “Sanctum has been a huge success on Steam for Coffee Stain Studios, and bringing the next version to console players as well as the PC market is a great next step to share this unique experience. We all have logged quite a few hours with Sanctum and can definitively say that what Coffee Stain has in store for Sanctum 2 will blow the minds of Sanctum fans and new gamers alike.”
Coffee Stain Studios seems fairly excited about the deal as well. “With their combined public relations, marketing, sales and business development experience, Reverb Publishing has more than enough chops for us to be honored that they are publishing Sanctum 2,” said Anton Westbergh, producer and CEO for Coffee Stain Studios. “Reverb’s unique publishing model allowing us as the developer to fully retain our IP and keep the lion’s share of the revenue from the game made it a no-brainer. Their success with Dungeon Defenders proves they know how to take a digital title to market and make it a winner, and we can’t wait to see what they can do with Sanctum 2.”
I, for one, am excited to see how Reverb’s unique publishing model, which supports their developers, helps Coffee Stain Studios produce an even better version of their already popular game. The original already proved the effectiveness of a first person tower defense shooter and I cannot wait to see what is next. To learn more about Sanctum and whether or not you should be excited for a sequel, please read my review or play the game.
In the true spirit of what I used to do for my own blog, here is a code from Subway to play the multiplayer for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception on the PS3. This is only good until 10/31 and then the early access will close up as the game revs up for retail sales.
Oh yes, I’ve left two of the letters hidden to make this somewhat fair for those that come across it a later than others, unless of course someone is just really smart.
Hint: LEAF the vowels behind.
The TV cartoon Ugly Americans tends to be one of my secret pleasures. If I spot it on, I’ll generally flip to it and watch the crazy antics of a guy trying to be a monster social worker. Not to mention the fact that it is kinda cool that his girlfriend is a demon. His co-worker is a wizard who more often than naught acts like a drunken stage magician (probably because more often than naught he IS drunk). Of course, I hadn’t realized just exactly I would be in for by picking up my PS3′s controller and firing up Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon.
A small intro plays that basically tells me that the world is doomed and I have to save it. Standard everyday crisis, right? Anyways, you’re given a weapon that fires anything you put into it and that means ANYTHING. Baseballs, paint-cans, tennis balls, and wrenches will all become your weapons of monster fighting destruction. My first case I took on, playing as Mark the social worker, was to stop the man birds. I made the mistake of playing this while in the company of my fiancee, who was promptly disgusted by the man birds. The man birds walk around flinging filth, dropping shit bombs and curse the daylight out of anyone in their presence. Such vulgarities as “suckmacoch” and others forced her to flee the room. Mission successful.
The graphics and auditory enhancements stay true to the series, as well it should. These are the same voice actors as the show has and I would be curious to know if the developer, 345 games, hired any of the animators to help. I question that simply because they nailed the animation style. The story line takes the same trepidations and offensiveness that the show puts out. Quite frankly, it is apparent that this is one of the secret pleasures that should stay secret in my household. I like that I don’t have to keep it secret if I have like minded friends, as the game allows for 4-players.
If you’re a fan of the show, this game is a must for you to get. Enjoy your zombie, demon, and man bird fighting either on PSN or XBLA for only $9.99. Simply put, if you don’t buy it I well send you a man bird to raise as your own and wreck havoc on your social life.*
*This offer is not valid as man birds do not exist, but you get the point!
Just this summer I sold off my old Tippman Custom 98 paintball marker. Even though it had an expandable stock, an expansion chamber with a drop down for the tank,and a response trigger and a cyclone feed system to properly push through balls; I still ended up selling it for $30. You see, I hadn’t been to a paintball course in years. I’ve forgotten what it is like to feel the sting of defeat while trying to doge and mark others. I just figured I was getting too old and fat to be crouching through the woods. Never in a million years have I ever considered giving a speed ball course a try. It seemed too fast paced for me, whereas I like to stalk my prey through the heavy brush. I would likely never have that experience again, if it wasn’t for Greg Hastings Paintball 2.
I find it interesting that before this game came, I spotted my former roommate playing a Greg Hasting’s game on his PS2. Interesting enough is the fact that Greg Hasting’s Paintball 2 is completely downloadable on PSN. I mean it shouldn’t surprise me so much as full games are downloadable, but what did surprise me is how small the game actually is. I wonder if the PS2 disc was actually full or not. I am unsure how big the sport is these days, it seems to be a pain junkie’s version of volleyball in regards to how far outside of mainstream sports it is, but how devoted the players and fans are. As the player progresses through the game, changes can be made to the roster which involves choosing actual professional paintball to add to your team. Heck, even if I was playing in a sport that wasn’t on prime time television, I would still clamor to get my face and stats into a video game. Also, I feel unsure if the average player would really care about the managerial side of things, such as buying a new roster or equipment, other than trying to buy a better marker with which to shoot. I myself rarely made any changes as I could not see the point. Though I did opt to purchase a different marker that had a slower fire rate, but a better accuracy and range. Even then, you’ll be making shots that have to be lobbed at an angle.
The matches themselves are fairly fun, even if the controls are non-standard for an fps. This is because there is quite a range of motion that is provided. Running and ducking throws you into a full dive and aiming while hiding will cause you to peak out from your cover. The option is available to switch which side of the marker your view is on in case you are on the other side of the inflatable cover you’ve hidden behind. While I did say the controls are non-standard, they are quite accurate. To me it seems you can perform most maneuvers a real professional would make. The only thing missing would be to lay on your back, but I don’t see other video games doing that either. I finally bought myself a move and tried a few matches out with it. The movement and aiming with the Move is excellent. I had to use a controller in my left hand as a replacement for the navigation controller, but I made due. I actually think I shot a little better using the Move, though it could be my imagination.
I certainly enjoyed this game, I tend to hit it up when I am sick of blood and gore in other games. The graphics are decent and I am glad that I could not spot a bit of cartoon appearances anywhere, as it would have spoiled the game for me. The management of the team certainly might appeal to some players, regardless of weather they follow the sport or not. I suppose if I go back and look into it, having better players on my team might increase my odds of winning matches, but I tend to be a lone wolf trying to take everyone out by myself. Of course, I myself rather enjoyed the woodsball. It seems this will be the only way to get me back on a field with a marker in hand. If you miss the nostalgic days of being beaten up by paint and would rather not remember the pain, why not give Greg Hastings Paintball 2 a try. It’s only $19.99 on the PlayStation Network and you can find it for the Wii or Xbox 360 for the same price if you look hard enough.
What timing could be better to create and release a Captain America pinball table other than when a Captain America movie is on the verge of release? It’s a trick question, so don’t answer it. Behold unto PSN and XBL, the wonders of ZEN Studios on their Marvel Pinball platform, the Captain America Pinball table. Complete with everything a young Nazi hunter would need to get their jollies. I say “young” Nazi hunter because as a child I grew up with movies based on the era of World War II. Ok so mainly just Indiana Jones. However, the theme is not lost on me. My recollection of Captain America, though, is not quite as old. Mainly I remember him as a walking cameo, appearing in cartoons across the 90′s. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when this new table reminded me of Cap’s true origins.
This newest addition to the Marvel Pinball series was released at the beginning of the month and with the PlayStation Store finally back up I was finally able to review it. I’m always excited to see the newest Marvel tables as it always seems to relive a certain part of my childhood. Those wondrous moments spent on Saturday morning watching cartoons were a highlight of the week. Even though Spiderman is spectacular, a certain group of heroes has always held a special place in my heart. That group, of course, is the Fantastic 4. Now when you see this name put out for this table, it seems to be written Fantastic Four, but for me that word must always, ALWAYS, be written as an actual number 4.
If you’re reading this then it means that the PSN Store FINALLY came back up. Consumers can bitch and moan all they want about their information possibly being stolen. Regardless, I feel that Sony doesn’t owe you a thing save the offer of 1 year of identity protection. What about a poor (in the loosest sense of the word) company like ZEN Studios? Here they are with a new table for ZEN Pinball and the PSN service, with which they use to earn a living, drops out from under their feet. Now that it is back up both you, the consumer, and I can take a closer look at Sorcerer’s Lair. Once due to be release on April 26th, now available simply due to services being restored. This means I was finally able to get my grimy hands on a controller and play this new table.