There is something special about playing a traditional pinball table. I remember visiting the arcade, putting in my quarter (yes this was well before those loadable electronic cards) and getting ready to hear the clickity clack of the paddles and the satisfying noise of the pinball as it rolled around the table. That being said, in todays world there is something special about sitting down, turning on my home console and having a great variety of virtual pinball tables to choose from in the comfort of my own home. Not only is it more affordable but the features that can be added to the tables are downright amazing at times. Epic Quest is by far the best example of this, with Pinball FX2 introducing a new evolution of the pinball game. This table mixes one part classic pinball complete with all the ramps, bumpers, lights and whistles you’d expect, but it is mixed with an RPG element complete with earned experience and saved loot that carries forward from game to game.
If your first thought of an “Epic Quest” brings about images of daring and bravery, trekking through dark forests or crumbling dungeons, battling a slew of terrifying enemies, and collecting more treasure than you can carry home, you may be a little surprised to meet the hero of this quest Max the Knight. Epic Quest certainly draws inspiration from comedic interpretations of heroes similar to those found within films like Monty Python and the Holy Grail as Max the Knight, who rides into battle on his “horse on a stick”, reminds me of a strange mix of John Cleese and Lord Farquaad from Shrek (John Lithgow). Though his ‘limbering’ warm up exercises, armour and faithful steed may not instill confidence in his prowess on the battlefield, he definitely talks a big game often declaring “I’m Invincible” or “You do not stand a chance foul monster!”, and lucky for him with your help he can only get better as he levels up.
Levelling up is accomplished as you gain experience when you play. Max can gain experience by battling the various enemies he encounters throughout his journey like trees, ghosts, bats, and rats, just to name a few. When battling these foes it’s a battle of strength as Max has to either hit the sword ramp or the smash box to deal damage to his foe, and if he doesn’t do it in time his enemy will attack reducing his hit points. Hit points are tracked on the bottom of the table next to the bumpers, and if Max is successful in defeating his foe before his hit points diminish he gains a huge point bonus, some experience, and of course the much desired loot.
Experience can also be gained by completing certain shots on the table, which to be honest I couldn’t figure out for the life of me which ones did give me experience aside from defeating enemies. So, I tended to focus on trying to initiate battles as they often gave me the most experience, which in turn allowed me to gain more levels. As I levelled up it ultimately gave me more health, made enemies tougher, produced better items, and even some cool titles were bestowed on me as I ranked up. Max’s title progression goes as follows: Minor Knight → Knight → High Knight → Champion → Monster Hunter → Golden Knight → Arch Knight → Veteran Looter → Epic Hero. Max can reach a maximum of level 100 in the game.
Each pinball table available in the Pinball FX2 library contains fantastic graphics and visual design that leaves you with a great impression of the work that went into. It is amazing how the effort that the designers put on create such eye catching playing surfaces, and Epic Quest is no exception. When I play a new table I often find myself distracted by all of the features present instead of actually tracking the ball like I should. Epic Quest features a bright and vibrant playing surface. This pinball table makes it’s home in a child’s room, next to a bed and a rocking chair complete with a stuffed dragon on it. It was neat to see the environment that this table is in as this environment blends in with the visual theme of the table itself. The graphics of the table are also somewhat kid inspired, with Max’s mount looking very much like one that a child might play with. This style continues too. Watch while Max and his mighty steed gallops and you’ll notice that the background scrolls across like the old toys you used to crank and you’d watch the images roll by. The enemy encounters are also played out on a puppet theatre stage that is also a unique design, and again kid like. Graphics aside the table is certainly not child’s play!
Like all of the other tables that are available in Pinball FX2, there is a great multiplayer portion of the game where you can take turns with three other players or play against a friend in split screen mode. There is also the ability to take the game onto Xbox LIVE where you can play against up to three other players or you can in participate in Tournaments.
Pinball FX2 has released yet another great addition to their pinball lineup and this one may is pretty much my favourite one to date. The Epic Quest table combines a comedic take on the brave and dashing knight formula with a slew of truly quest worthy elements including enemies, challenges, loot, and of course a princess, all which creates a truly enjoyable pinball experience. This table also has amazing replay value encouraging you come back and play in order to level up Max’s skills, and of course to continue to collect better loot. Anyone who owns Pinball FX2 would be silly not to pick up this table.