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Publisher: Zen Studio
Developer: Zen Studio
Genre: Pinball
Players: One - Two
Price: 240 MSP
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Launch Date: 12th October 2011

Pinball FX2 has received many tables since its release. There seems to be no stopping the team expanding the pinball experience. We have seen original boards and even guest appearance tables from Marvel's Spider-man to even Twisted Pixel's Ms. 'Splosion Man. Unlike most arcade games, the Pinball FX 2 library just keeps on growing with more and more tables which is pretty good seeing the game is nearly a year old. This time around we have a scary looking table just in time for Halloween. So is this going to be a nice treat from Zen or is this all just a trick to lure you into their new trap?

Gameplay 7/10

When it comes to pinball games Zen Studios is one of the best companies that come to mind making them. The already impressive Pinball FX 2 having the feature to import your old tables from the original Pinball FX was a great feature and as of late the collection has grown with more tables than ever before. With this pinball table we are now on a magical journey through the Sorcerer's Lair and see what creepy things are going on.

Launching the ball is done by holding the A button and the longer you hold it the more smoke that will come out from the cannon. In the top right hand side you can see a screen where the ball will be flying into the table however don't keep your eyes on it because the camera won't be following the ball. The more you progress in the game the higher your score goes up. As you progress you will be able to find more hidden routes or even given multi-balls. Multi-balls are where you are given more than one ball to play with and can sometimes go on to three balls to take care of at one stage.

Later in the game you will notice that the table will go dark and you will have to deal with blue glowing ghosts where you will have to fight them by either shooting the ball at them or finding Whisper. The game also has a multiplayer side where you can either play in local co-op or on Xbox Live. The local co-op contains Split-screen where both players can play at once or Hotseat mode, where if player one loses the ball, player two takes over.

The Xbox Live side on the other hand has Community & Friends where the game checks to see if any of your friends are playing the game or in your party. And finally Xbox LIVE Play where you can try your skill against people around the world with the option to choose either a Ranked Match or a Player Match. When playing online you will have a progress bar in the left hand side to say if you are in lead or not. This option allows four players around the world to play with you and is amazing fun.

As much as the action happens on the main table, sometimes you will find hidden areas that you won't see on the screen like the room full of spiders. In this room you play on a smaller pinball table where you will have to attacking the spiders coming at you. The other hidden area is a puzzle room that may seem out of place since it's not using anything to do with pinball. It is easier said than done to complete it, but try to avoid aiming at the Sorcerer's castle as he will take your ball away from you.




Overshot view of the pinball table


Graphics 8/10

The first thing you will notice is how the camera spins around the new amazing table showing what path you can take and what objects will get in your way to stop you. In the left hand corner you can see LED lights with 3D images appearing which ask you to press launch to begin. The colours are black and red with various images such as loads of spiders crawling down the screen or an evil wizard performing a magic spell. This also shows the top ten players and their score so far so you can keep track of how far or near you are to one of your rivals.

At the bottom of the board you see three children; however one of them seems to be as pale as a ghost. At the top we look though the evil wizard's castle, where he is stroking his beard, before picking up his magic book of spells. While in the middle we have a scary looking golden tree which looks around the table and will sometimes act like a human, showing its boredom folding its arms and taping its feet. The DLC features a great blend of colours to make it feel just right. The background features a moonlight blue shade and the evil wizard dressed in a red robe waiting at the top.


Sound 8/10

The music has a creepy feel to it making you wonder what mysteries hide behind this table. Soon as you press the A button you are greeted by a mysterious voice saying Welcome to the Sorcerer's Lair. The sound effects are as always top notch and set the mood perfectly for the scenario. Once going through one of the paths you will hear one of the children speak of somebody called Whisper. Whisper is the ghost girl who is in the middle of the children and she can help you out in a certain situation if you get stuck. Losing a ball and you will hear a voice saying Leaving so soon? which makes you think if they happy or sad due to the tone of voice. Once you get to hit the three green light rooms you will hear the forest growling at you with a ghostly noise.




One of the hidden areas, the Spider room


Achievements 6/10

Like the previous add-ons, this table contains three new achievements which can only be done in single player and adding another 50 points for the game. For 5 points you will get the Pathfinder achievement which is where you will have to complete a 6-way combo. For 15 points you will get the Sharpshooter achievement which means you have to take down the spiders in 20 seconds in the cellar. The final achievement is called Secrets of the Lair which is worth 30 points; all you have to do is reach the final mode which is called Midnight Madness. For pinball wizards this shouldn't be too hard but naturally getting used to the new table and finding its new tricks and secrets are the most fun part of the game.


Summary 8/10

If you have been a fan of Zen Studios pinball games and been crying for a new challenge, this is definitely for you. With new bonuses and more challenges this is one scary ride and is great to see Zen Studios giving us more DLC. This may not be the table everyone has been waiting for but it's a stop gap for now until we have the new Vengeance and Virtue pack. For those of you who are not to sure if you should buy it yet or not, you can always have a go from the trial version of the table. With multiplayer and online fun option, this really is one of the best arcade games going.
 

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