22 May, 2013

Shaman by Zen Pinball

A new table by Zen Pinball just came out: Shaman

I was attracted by its multicoloured playfield and I purchased it without much hesitation. It turned out that that was a good choice. I like this game much more than other ones by Zen Studio. The graphics are gorgeous. The colour theme is reminiscent of Jungle by Gameprom. But then the setting is similar, so ... 
There are moving parts (what did you expect from Zen?) but they are rather unobtrusive. The gameplay is interesting and the ball does not drain in frustrating ways. Still, I always wait for the day Zen ports Plants vs. Zombies 

pinball to the iPad.

Second thoughts

My friend Marco (see comment below) pointed out to me something that I usually neglect: sound effects. Most times I play pinball with sound off. In this case as soon as I turned the sound on I started to like the game a lot less. Even the animations on the table become tiresome when accompanied by music. From now on I have to test pinballs under realistic (i.e.  not mute) conditions.


  1. Ok. Bought and tried Shaman but I feel quite the opposite. The ball does drain rather annoyingly, even without me hitting the ball once (ballsave is used many times and quite neccesary in this game), the playfield art is so busy it hurts my eyes and the sounds make me nervous. Sound isn't generally the best in recent Zen pinball games (imho). The voice samples really start to annoy me ("ball save!") and the guitar/bongo combo in this title is really aggitating. I do love guitars, and bongos. But not like this. The Gameprom Jungle table does the theme and sounds so much better. That was one of the first pinball games I played on iOS and I still like it. Luckily this was not very expensive but it's ultimately not my taste.

  2. Wow.. that screenshot does look like Gameprom's jungle thing. Which is good because in Lion , at least for me, Pinball HD 1.8 plays really poorly.. the ball is jerky and slow, the flippers unreliable, and the sound sucks. The others, like Davinci or War pinball, and also Arcade pinball (fast becoming my favorite Gameprom one), all play well, but not Pinball HD 1.8.
    Zen, however, is a different matter. It reminds me of when I only had a 68K '040 Mac Centris, and even though it was considered "fast" for a Mac, PPC macs were already up to G3 "supercomputer" level. I didn't think that Pro Pinball The Web would even run on my modest mac, as it was so much more pinball game than Full Tilt, which always crapped out.
    But run it did, and REALLY well.
    Same with Zen.. it has a whole lot of virtual animation and the resolution is stunning, yet it plays beautifully smoothly, with nary a stutter or hiccup. The graphics are captivating, and it's ideal for a mildly autistic types who get distracted all too easily ;-).. Plus, I'm not really all that great of a pinball player anyways, so the fact that it's easy to play without draining the ball is also a plus . Without a doubt, it makes all the misery of upgrading to Apple Lying, from Slow Leopard, worth it (almost). I just love the Zen tables. However, I have only been playing the early ones . Times are tough, and even though the tables are only about 3 bucks @ , it can add up.. so I have mostly the Star Wars and Tesla, plus a couple other ones. Maybe the newer ones such as Shaman really aren't as good, as Marco suggests.. Going by the screensnap, it certainly isn't up to the rest of the pack appearance wise , IMHO...
    Perhaps they should work on porting the already existing PC ones to Mac, instead ...
    Nevertheless, the ones I do have simply blow me away! Between the Visual Pinball, the Gameprom Arcade, and War Pinballs, The Farsight ones, and this Zen, I simply couldn't ask for more.. (not to overlook Little Wing, incidentally)
    ...or.. maybe.. Pro Pinball? ;-)