The GamePad sure plays a mean pinball.
As much as I'd like to brag, I've never been very good at pinball. The machines in the pizza joint down the street from my house took quite a few quarters, but never offered the enjoyment I got from games like Microsoft's Space Cadet pinball.
With Zen Pinball 2, Zen Studios is hoping to bring that same whimsical approach to pinball to the Wii U (as they have on both PS3 and PlayStation Vita). Much of the game remains unchanged, but getting a chance to go hands on with many of the boards available at launch on Wii U gave me that Windows 98 feeling all over again.
First up was the Moon Knight table and a round of pass-the-GamePad with Blake Peterson. While the Zen Studios guy talked off-the-record with Blake about upcoming tables, I racked up a huge score and began knocking off the "missions" you can activate on any one of Zen Pinball 2's tables.
Moon Knight's rogues gallery took turns trying to defeat me, but it wasn't until after a multiball frenzy and a few completed objectives that Bushmaster finally took the white-hooded figure down. I handed Blake the GamePad and mentioned that Zen Pinball had always reminded me of Space Cadet and how Bretimus_v2's children had outscored me on the PS3 Spider-Man table.
Blake didn't last long and I was back in the driver's seat. With a better idea of what I was doing, I managed to clear further levels of the Moon Knight table and even rack up an extra ball.
Blake wasted it, though. That was fine, Zen Pinball 2 had already proven itself a worthy port, perhaps even better than you might find on the PS3 given that the entire game is playable on the GamePad while someone else is watching TV.
Zen Studios will be releasing their free download this month with 4-packs of pinball tables available for $9.99 or individual tables for sale at $2.99. Remember that we've got all your digital shopfront updates covered in our weekly round-up: The Download.