Pssssst. Hey! Come here. Nobody saw you right? OK listen Zen Studios' Pinball FX2 is out now on the Xbox One. Here, put this hat on, I lined it with aluminum foil to help protect you. No, no, don't walk away! Just put this on and listen! I think Zen Studios is plotting to take over the world through their Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX 2 series.

Lean, Mean, and Clean

Pinball FX 2 on the Xbox One is the next gen version of the same game on the Xbox 360, but it's more than just a port. The user interface has been redone. On the Xbox 360 version, all of your tables were in one big group that you scrolled through to find the table you wanted. On the Xbox One version, they have cleaned this up by separating the tables into common collections; all the Zen Studios creations in one collection, all the Marvel Comics tables in their own collection, and all of the Star Wars tables in theirs. It makes going through and finding a specific table that much easier.

"I've played the silver ball." - The Who

With the Xbox One's considerable resources Pinball FX2 looks amazing. The upgrade is wonderfully done with all tables being crisper and cleaner. For example the Deadpool table on the 360 was very busy at the far end causing the details to be muddied and seemed to get lost; on the Xbox One it is still busy, but it's more defined so I can discern things better.

The gameplay is still the same, keeping the great controls that you are used to; triggers and shoulder buttons to activate the flippers, left thumb stick to "nudge" the table, and "A" or the right thumb stick to use the plunger. Why change something that works so well?

Final Word

Zen Studios' Pinball games may be the gold standard for video game pinball. The games recreate everything about real pinball; the flashing lights, "thunky" bumpers, ball physics, and even the low resolution animation on LED boards. Depending on which system they are on the series has different names, Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX2 are essentially the same game, with Zen Pinball being the odd man out (it is the Apple iOS title, but with the same features). The games are free and come with at least one pinball table. There are additional tables you can purchase in app. Between the three titles they are available on everything from A to X: Android, Apple iOS, Nintendo (Wii-U), PlayStation (3, 4, and Vita), Steam, and Xbox (360 and One).

The transition to the Xbox One was delayed into August because of a late added feature. When it was originally announced Zen Studios said that it was unlikely that the previously purchased tables on the Xbox 360 would transfer to the Xbox One. Fans cried foul and Zen Studios took this feedback to Microsoft. Working with Microsoft, Zen Studios is one of the first developers to have transferable game content from the 360 to the One. Almost all the tables are transferable; some tables they are still working on. Unfortunately the original Pinball FX collection won't transfer because they were built with old code and Ms. Splosion Man appears to be an Xbox 360 exclusive. Still, you will have more than enough tables to play on the Xbox One, which is awesome news.

All that just brings me back to my original point; Zen Studios is taking over the world. They are on so many systems now, where does it stop? Will the soon be available on Blackberry's? Will they be "on demand" with Comcast? Could they be developing a Pinball FX2 playable on the smart microwave? Could you play while you're heating up a burrito? Wait where are you going? No take the hat with you, you need to protect your brain! You have to know before you go that I give Pinball FX2 on the Xbox One a 5 out of 5. Even though Zen Studios are taking over the world it's still a really fun video pinball game with a better interface and most of your favorite tables looking better than ever.

Pinball FX2 for the Xbox One is rated E10+ for Evereryone 10 and older for Fantasy Violence and Mild Language by the Electronic Software Ratings Board (ESRB)

For more information go to the official Pinball FX2 web site.

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