The Walking Dead Pinball Review (PlayStation 4)
The Walking Dead meets pinball. It's a weird mashup, taking the super-emotional narrative of that game and putting it onto a pinball table, but Zen Studio's take on the zombie-fest is actually a ton of fun that somehow implements the Telltale pedigree choice-based gameplay onto a pinball table. I'm still not completely sure how this seems to work, but I can't stop playing it over and over.
The main table has tons of lanes and loops to send the ball through, but activating the mini-games on the table is where the bread and butter of the game truly lies. Some "missions" require you to "scout ahead," or shoot the ball in certain lanes while a zombie ball floats around, disintegrating your ball on first contact. Other times you'll find yourself looking down the scope of a sniper rifle picking off zombies in a building. These deviations are fun, but sometimes they're a bit odd: the sniper game, for example, only lets me move left and right, yet also moves up and down without me moving that way. It takes a few tries to learn, but it is a nice diversion from the standard pinball.
The coolest part of the game by far is the chapter-based sections, After clearing a zombie and sinking the ball into a certain hole, the table let me choose one of the five chapters of The Walking Dead: Season One, then gave me zombies to crush with the ball or other kinds of objectives. The objectives change based on choices I make before the chapter starts, all taken from the Walking Dead game. I won't go into specifics because of spoilers, but they're all ripped right out of the game and they're awesome.
My only issue with the game is the difficulty in aiming that I experienced. There were times where I would hit a certain ramp as if on cue, but others where I'd hit the ball at the same part of the flipper and miss wide. Also, when one of the chapter missions starts the ball comes back to the flipper so fast it will catch a lot of players off-guard and cause a mission failure. These are really minor qualms, but some players could be turned off by them.
The Walking Dead Pinball is a fantastic add-on table for the free-to-download Zen Pinball 2. It completely captures the mood and story arcs of the source material, even implementing moments of choices that impact the game but not in a way that breaks it. Anyone who's been following the story of Clementine should absolutely look into this table, if for no other reason than to remember the good times of Season One.
This review is based on a download of The Walking Dead Pinball provided by the developer for PlayStation 4.