Guardians of the Galaxy, the latest Marvel Franchise to hit theatres, is now one of the newest tables released for Pinball FX 2 on the Xbox platforms. The table is loosely based on the storyline of the recent motion picture and begins with an epic one-minute multi-ball challenge in which you attempt to defeat inmates as you escape from the prison Kyln. From there the table builds challenges around an aspect of each character’s storyline.
Here are some key things to know about each Guardian and their role on the pinball table:
- 1) Groot is a giant tree like species that speaks only three words “I am Groot”. He will change up the inflection of these words to mean different things, listen closely to see if you can catch the subtleties. Groot protects his friends and in turn protects you, the great pinball master, as your “Ball Saved” Guardian, shooting the ball back onto the table with his trunk of a hand. If you hear his voice, you may not have seen it but he helped you out in some way.
- 2) Rocket is a genetically designed raccoon-like creature. He is Groot’s best buddy and both work as a team to get out of hairy situations. Look for Groot acting as Rocket’s shield during a special battle.
- 3) Drax is a big hulk of an alien, who has a personal vendetta against Ronan (the bad guy) for killing his family. This guy is on a mission to get his turn at Ronan and you get to play out this battle first hand. Be careful though, fail and Drax gets pummelled and thrown right out of the table. Not a pretty sight.
- 4) Gamora, the sexy green female, and the once favourite daughter of Thanos, plays a more audible role in the table to my dismay. She doesn’t get a 3D rendering on the table but does feature prominently in a special mini table where she goes toe to toe against her sister who still serves Thanos.
- 5) Peter Quill, a.k.a Starlord, sure loves his 1970’s classic music. Abducted from earth as a child, his “tunes” are a link to his past and something he just can’t leave behind. After escaping from Kyln, Starlord must go back in to retrieve his Walkman stolen from the prison guard. Shoot an awesome skill shot to successfully retrieve his music and you score a cool five million points right off the bat.
- 6) Ronan, the Ultimate bad dude, wants to destroy the galaxy and pretty much starts a fight with almost everyone on the table. Hit the right ramps or targets and chances are you’ll be starting a challenge against this ugly dude.
As with all of the Pinball FX 2 tables, the top left hand corner of your screen features a small pixelated score box that plays short sequences of the characters in battle. Rocket, Starlord and Ronan take up predominant spots on the table. Ronan stands stoically awaiting battle, Starlord scratches his head in boredom or throws up his hands in disappointment, and finally Rocket with his gun cocked awaits his shot, these are the characters you’ll see most here. The ball launcher is also kind of cool, having you time your shot onto a target where you have to get the crosshairs of your sight to land directly on their head. Miss this and your target escapes throwing your ball out onto the table randomly
The table design is an eclectic mishmash of elements from the Guardians of the Galaxy such as Starlord’s ship (interior and exterior), various planet locations, the prison Kyln, misc. characters and more. It is a ramp heavy table with a few easy to hit targets, especially those that start Peter Quill’s firefight with Ronan. The voice work is repetitive and seldom changes. Once you begin to face the same challenge multiple times you’ll be listening to the same script over and over again, which can be kind of annoying. Having played a lot of Zen Studios pinball tables I found that Guardians of the Galaxy seemed to be the most repetitive of them all. This also applies to the opening sequence of the game, and though the multi-ball challenge is rather neat I miss the option to skip this objective, something that is offered on other tables.
As any Zen Studios fan would expect, the Guardians of the Galaxy table is creatively designed and fully themed with some neat action sequences and challenges. It will surely appeal to fans of Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and will most likely be picked up by a virtual pinball table collector such as myself. That being said, the lack of randomness in the opening of the game and repetitive voice work has me actually recommending that newbies to Pinball FX2 take a perusal of their extensive table library to find something that really piques their interest, then after some quality time with other tables, take a gander at this one.
As a final note, and somewhat separate of this review, for Xbox 360 players that have stepped up to the Xbox One, consider transferring some of your old pinball table collection to Microsoft’s Next-Gen console, including the Guardians of the Galaxy table. This newly released feature allows you to keep playing your tried and true favourites on a new platform with faster load times, better laid out and organized menus, and graphics that are more vibrant and less grainy than the original and are in glorious 1080p at 60fps. You may not notice the difference right away but compare the two side by side and the Xbox One table stands out as far superior. Not all tables are available for transfer right away, but here is the list of tables that can be transferred right now:
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within: Episode IV A New Hope, Han Solo, Droids, Masters of the Force
- Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, Starfighter Assault, Darth Vader
- Star Wars Pinball Original pack: Episode V, Boba Fett, The Clone Wars
- Doctor Strange
- Zen Classics: Shaman, El Dorado, Tesla and V12
- Pinball FX2 Core pack: Biolab, Pasha, Rome, Secrets of the Deep
- Marvel Civil War
- Marvel Pinball Avengers Chronicles: World War Hulk, Infinity Gauntlet, The Avengers, and Fear Itself
- Marvel Pinball Vengeance and Virtue: Ghost Rider, Moon Knight, Thor, and X-Men
- Epic Quest
- Sorcerer’s Lair
- Captain America
- Fantastic Four
And for those worried that there favourite table may not be on there, Zen Studios is working hard as we speak to add even more, so keep checking their website for regular updates. We do have a small list of those that are confirmed to be coming very soon, and they are:
- Earth Defense
- Marvel Pinball: Original Pack
- Street Fighter II
- Plants vs. Zombies
- Super League Football
- The Walking Dead (August 28)
Anyhow, here is the gallery of screens for the Guardians of the Galaxy table, which this review focuses on: