Zen Pinball Review: Excalibur

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Excalibur is a table that is probably a perfect example of Zen’s problem with table design: it’s a colourful contrasty miasma of fancy artwork, and trying to figure out where the hell your ball has gone is an exercise in frustration. The fun comes after long hours learning the playfield and you can intuit its location.

But most of the time you flip it upwards and it’s just gone, lost in the visual scatter, and you just sort of hope it went where you wanted ’cause if it’s anywhere else you’ll notice it too late to respond and you’re starting over.

Excalibur’s central gimmick is the sword central ramp, which can send your ball left or right based on the position of a locked-in ball you knock side-to-side with your own. It also offers a spinning rattling wheel for you to … spin. I dunno what it’s for, other than to suck momentum from your ball, but there it is, rattling when spun. Hooray.

Other ramps are lit in a novel change from the normal illuminated arrow indicators, by lighting the whole Celtic-patterned ramp. Even this tends to get lost in the miasma, however, and the end result is only really appreciated after you’ve fully learned the table and have a heartbeat’s chance to admire the scenery.

I want to like this table, and I mostly do, but I desperately wish Zen would offer a mute button for the background. 7/10.

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[ Dec 26 2012 ]

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