Marvel Pinball 3D
| Marvel Pinball 3D

Pinball titles can arguably claim to be the Marmite of the video game world.

For a lot of people, playing pinball simply means watching the random movement of a ball on a loud table. But for pinball fanatics it's a supremely nuanced game of concentration and skill that can last for hours.

This is why a review of Marvel Pinball 3D is perhaps a bit pointless - you've probably already decided if the game is for you - but here we go anyway.

Pin in to win it

Marvel Pinball 3D follows on from Zen Studios's Zen Pinball 3D, with near-identical gameplay and features.

The big difference is the four tables, all based on Marvel characters. You've got Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Captain America, and Blade. If you're a fan of Marvel (and pinball), you're probably going to be a fan of this game too.

As with Zen Pinball 3D before it, Marvel Pinball 3D throws some great pinball action your way, with ramps, wireframe chutes, and loud flashing lights all over the place. Each table looks a little empty at first, but they all show their true colours as you bang the ball into special areas and activate game modes.

Exploring and finding special events is the real challenge, and it feels incredibly rewarding when you do. A few hours in and we were hitting up ramps and down holes with precision, racking up ridiculously high scores on the online leaderboards.

There are online rankings and hotseat multiplayer, which help to add replay value, while your 'Team Force Score' - your score added to the scores of your 3DS friends - is a welcome feature. Throw in achievement-style awards and there's plenty here for the avid pinballer.

I Marmite or I Marmite not

Marvel Pinball 3D is pretty much Zen Pinball 3D but with a Marvel makeover, and therefore it suffers from all the same issues as the previous game.

While the stereoscopic 3D looks great, it can be difficult to see exactly what's happening on that tiny 3DS screen when the ball is flying around, and we found ourselves squinting to see right to the back of the table fairly often.

Multiple camera angles are included to help combat this, but it's not really an issue that a change of camera can solve. Occasional drops in frame-rate also suggest that Zen Studios struggled with the graphical limitations of the 3DS. The ball physics are sometimes unconvincing, too.

For those who have never really enjoyed pinball, Marvel Pinball 3D is likely to be just another pointless recreation of the world's most tedious game. For pinball fanatics, it will almost certainly prove to be another indispensable portable recreation of the best pastime imaginable.

Marvel Pinball 3D

Whether you like pinball or not, there's no denying that Marvel Pinball 3D ticks numerous right boxes
Mike Rose
Mike Rose
An expert in the indie games scene, Mike comes to Pocket Gamer as our handheld gaming correspondent. He is the author of 250 Indie Games You Must Play.