Pong- Cling-Ding; oh the typical sounds of a pinball machine, which Zen has mastered for our living rooms and pockets in recent years. However, the ghoulish moans of a Walker in your ears are new to the series and The Walking Dead table from Zen Studios is looking to infect your console.
Zen worked closely with Telltale to create a table that follows the same structure as Telltale’s first game in TheWalking Dead franchise. Main characters Lee and Clementine are at the forefront of the game and backed up by their friends and fellow survivors. Tables are also designed after the first season's major locations. The barn, train, and hotel really bring the table to life. The level of detail can stand toe to toe with any table Zen had before. Each area is emphasized as the camera pans in to show zombies and particulars of the table. How they changed aspects of an original pinball table to suit The Walking Dead's atmosphere was a great touch. The plunger is now Lee’s axe and the center of the table keeps the zombies at bay.
This game also does an amazing job utilizing 3D capabilities. It looks fantastic without being in 3D, but it adds a layer of depth to the board. More so than previous tables, this depth helps to highlight Lee and Clementine as they battle zombies in the foreground and provide commentary on your table actions. You really feel as if Lee is talking you through close-calls or pepping you for the next face off. A small segment with Clementine will also have you remember the emotions that The Walking Dead is known for.
The table does an excellent job at capturing what The Walking Dead series is about by creating atmosphere with the music. Taking soft guitar melodies from the Telltale game has you thinking everything is peaceful until the music picks up, the zombie groans intensify, and the lights go out making it harder to keep your pinball from going into the gutter.
In typical fashion, Zen delivers with experiences you would not normally have with an authentic pinball table. There are moments the game changes into first-person and staring down the crosshairs of a rifle to keep the walkers at bay. The choices from the original Telltale game are also incorporated, but if you have not played the series before they are kind of irrelevant outside of progressing the table's story.
As it is, The Walking Dead table for Zen Pinball might be the best use of a property. Having close ties with the Telltale game really pays off in drawing the player into a nightmarish scenario. The 3D is perfect, the controls are rock solid, and above all the table is fun, yet challenging to a degree. Anyone who has played the first Telltale game or has watched the series owes it to themselves to give this table a shot.