Pinball FX 2: Venom Table Review – That Evil Symbiote Takes Center Stage

Zen Studios has crafted yet another Marvel property into a pinball table; this time after one of my favorite Spider-Man villains of all time, the black and white symbiote Venom. Back in the 90’s there was an animated series with Spider-Man where I was first introduced to Venom. His big hulking and imposing figure along with his Venus fly trap grin captivated me and often had me cheering for him to beat Spider-Man. So when offered to review this table I was immediately drawn to it.

This time around I get to play out a bit of story on a pinball table and it revolves around the origin of Carnage, the first time Spidey put on the Venom symbiote, and of course a battle between Spider-Man and Venom. My first issue with the table was that Venom sits up on top and it had me thinking I was taking on the role of Spider-man when playing. Even though the attacks and mini-games are based around Venom there are too many similarities between Venom and Spidey that I often couldn’t tell the difference between the perspectives of the characters. Perhaps, “Spider-Man: The Symbiotes” would have been a better title for the table as there is a good chunk about Carnage as well.

On this table there is a really cool Jail Break mini-game where Carnage busts out of his containment cell and Venom and Spidey have to team up to put Carnage back behind bars. During this game you shoot the ball at the letters that spell out ‘JAILBREAK’ to extend your allotted time to break out, all the while you’re trying to hit some other pinballs in a tube to make the final push to break out of jail. The more you keep this going the more points you add to your tally, and in this mini-game it is generally in multiple millions of points which can rack up that top score pretty quickly.

This specific mini-game is one of the better elements but it takes a fair amount of skill as you will quickly learn that this table is probably one of the most difficult Zen has released to date. The precision needed to hit your targets takes some patience and I discovered shooting right from the tips of the paddles is the key more than the other tables that I have reviewed.

This table is even harder because of two sections that are divided within the table slowing the pinball down forcing you to use those carefully aimed tip-shots to nail specific targets. Normally I like a really fast paced table, but you quickly learn that going fast here will have you losing more often than not. The lower part of the table is littered with some basic pinball fare, but when you get to the upper portion this is where you’re able to ring the tower bell, which fans will note from the comic or movie, that when rang will affect a symbiote greatly. One of the other weaknesses is the need to fire when Venom is nearby the Statue of Liberty as you take your chance in hitting it to ignite some Venom-BBQ.

As I mentioned Carnage is in the game and it’s actually really cool how they have him trapped in the table near the bottom where you can watch him getting angrier inside as the pinball moves around. Touches like this really heighten the presentation of the table as you see Venom up top with his signature long tongue wagging around. Though the background music is boring as hell the voice for Venom snaps you right back into the atmosphere this game and there are some fairly neat sound effects for certain sections of the table.

Although this latest Marvel themed table does have a lot of challenging elements I appreciate that they do make it approachable for newcomers who can build up the necessary skill over time to conquer what challenges it presents. Veteran players will easily jump in and start racking up high scores right away. At the end of the day this Venom table is a great looking table and Zen Studios is becoming very adept at hitting home runs with any pinball table they create.

***This game was reviewed on the Xbox One with a code provided by the publisher***

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