Zen Studios has been quite keen to create lots of licensed pinball tables for the near flawless Zen Pinball 2. With the South Park series spanning over 2 decades now it is hard to imagine that no one ever made a pinball game for this franchise even though real tables do exist. With an embarrassment of content to mine for ideas does this long overdue set of tables live up to the quality of the show?
With the latest DLC you get 2 tables. the “South Park” table and the “Butters” table, each one is very different and plays in very different way, but sports the classic South Park art style.
South Park’s Super-Sweet Pinball Table Review
Possibly the most notable thing about this table is the mini table in the top right corner, just as you shoot from the launch ramp. As far as I am aware this is probably the first time Zen Studios have attempted this and it works well. Hitting the ball using 2 flippers that are adjacent to each other gives you 5,000 points a go, but also builds up a skill shot in the centre of the table that gives you a minimum of 2 million points like with each hit, and the potential for more depending on how well you do on the mini table.
This table is packed full of content. At first glance there is a lot to take in, the lane is covered with pictures of what appears to be a large majority of the shows cast. However, they are not the only ones you see; the main characters are also present and each one has lanes, ramps or pockets to hit in order to activate their ‘mission’. Most are played out on the screen in the background or on the playfield with characters such as ‘Bat Dad’. With all this going on, the first time you play this table you will feel like there is too much information thrown at you at once. Every ramp hit plays a line of dialogue and depending on the order you hit them in you get snippets of storyline that you can easily lose track of. For instance you have to hit the Cartman ramp to fill up the letters of his name, but each time you do he will tell you about what happened to him last night, regarding a dream he had. The ramp next to this one speaks about ‘Man Bear Pig’ and on the other side the School bus has some of its own dialogue, and this is just the beginning. You still have Kyle, Stan, Jimmy, Kenny, Terrance and Philip giggling and farting as well as the inlanes which spell out ‘TIMMY!’ and every time you hit one he says his name in the classic show manner.
There is always something going on and things are flashing or animating every second. The table is instantly likeable and is easy for beginners to get to grips with. There are levels of mastery that higher level players will appreciate also. It is great value for money and I would recommend it to any South Park fan, and if you can put up with some of the annoying voice acting, for general pinball fans too.
South Park: Butter’s Very Own Pinball Game, Table Review
The Butters table is quite a plain table at the initial viewing and I have to admit I didn’t like it as much as the other table. Nothing seemed to happen for the longest time, and I was unsure how to start missions, but then I started to see the nuance and it started to click. There is a small kickout hole just off centre of the table near the third flipper, and this is the key to the success of this table. Simply land the ball into the kickhole and wait for it to roll past the third flipper, hit it just right to send the ball flying into a spinner just adjacent ot it and this activates the centre hole to allow you to select one of five main missions.
All of these are quite different. Ranging from a mini pinball table, watching Butters dress up as a vampire, multi-ball or simply hitting certain lit up ramps. But these aren’t the only missions on this table, you can also initiate storylines by hitting certain ramps like the ‘NINJAS’ which will spawn cut-outs of the main characters in ninja form and you must hit them to score points. There are three more of these.
I would regard this table as more for intermediate players as it takes a small amount of skill to get right, but once you get it, the table opens up and can be a lot of fun. It is innovative in its own way albeit not as unique as having a mini table in the corner.
Both tables have their good and bad points but after playing one game you will instantly want to retry again and again to beat your previous score and to see the story missions through to conclusion.