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ZPP review

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  • Cloda
    Nice feedback Surfrider! I concur with just about everything you say except that I think you need at least a few more shots to get to wizard mode one How to Train your Dragon i.e. spelling the girls name in the sinkhole unless that is not one of the modes for the wizard - sorry, didn't pay too much attention as to what I did to play through the wizard mode. I'm also very frustrated with the controller support. I connected my Xbox controller to my IPad without any issues. Unfortunately, the flippers are assigned to the triggers and not the buttons. On Pinball FX3 on PC that is not a problem, because the triggers are registered as analogue. In Zen Pinball Party though, the triggers are registered as digital, and even worse, is that they only start working/activating if you pull the trigger in half-way. That is bad... you now have lag between pulling the trigger and the flipper actually flipping and that is not good in pinball. I suggested to the Zen team to either make that the whole trigger register and/or that the flippers get reassigned to the shoulder buttons.

    Here are some of my thoughts on the new tables -

    - How to train your Dragon - Is a proper Zen table that will require multiple hours for a top score. Not too much replayability for an experienced player but a great table for beginners.
    - My Little Pony - Is very straight forward and there is not a lot to do. Most of the modes also all encourage you to hit the sinkhole as much of possible, so there is not much variation. This one is definitely aimed at younger kids, only one problem... it is actually not all that easy until you figure a few things out regarding the out-lanes. It also has one very unfair and un-kiddie-friendly feature and that is the ball being ejected from the sinkhole often shoots straight down the middle. I'll probably never play the table again after playing through the wizard mode a few times in my first game... but I'm sure kiddies will enjoy it even though they won't get very far ;-)
    - Trolls - Is also pretty straight forward with only three modes before you get to wizard mode. There are quite a few other modes and multiballs on the table and there is nice variety between the different modes. I would have liked it if a couple of these other modes were to count towards wizard mode rather than just the three. But yes... in the end still a kiddies table but fun nonetheless. Also no longevity in it though as it took me about 10 minutes to play through all the modes on the table.
    - Kung-Fu Panda - Only table that is still a challenge, and that is because I can't nudge on the outlanes, which is essential as the ball keeps on going out the left. The kickback mechanism is tricky. You need to light up all the lane lights, and then it takes four tight shots to activate one side. If that is not enough, kickbacks aren't "deactivated" during multiball so it is easy to lose... and there are a lot of multiballs. Is it worth the effort it is the question?

    As for replayability... not much there for me to keep Apple Arcade going. I can play all the tables on other better platforms, except for the four new ones. They are all just too easy. I played How to train your Dragon for over an hour yesterday on my third game and ended the game because I got bored. Both Trolls and My Little Pony I played through to the wizard mode in my first session on each.

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  • surf1der
    started a topic ZPP review

    ZPP review

    3 of the new tables are the easiest tables that Zen has ever created (My Little Pony, Trolls, and How to Train Your Dragon). HTTYD requires only 7 (6 if you get a nice deflection on the bumpers) shots to complete all the modes to unlock the wizard mode. 2 consecutive orbit shots, 3 alternating captured ball shots, 1 shot to the bumpers, and 1 shot to the center spot targets. I think I started the wizard mode in a little over 2 minutes. Kung Fu Panda was more difficult until I plugged in a controller and had a viable nudge option to redirect outlane drains. I already inferred from the cartoon themes that these would be easy tables but they offer no challenge to pin veterans and they will quickly be bored with the lack of modes and challenges. I’m guessing this was a conscious decision to cater to young kids and novices with an Apple Arcade sub.

    1) Controller support. I’ve been waiting for this for 10 years and unfortunately it is only available on ZPP. I wish one of the devs could be bothered to spend a day or two to implement this in the ZP app. Some minor dings in regards to controller support is it defaults to xbox button names even when you have a ps5 dualsense controller paired to the app. Also, no remapping options. I like to use the L1 and R1 buttons rather than triggers for flipper activation. The triggers cause more finger fatigue and aching after prolonged games. Also I prefer the d pad for nudging rather the the left stick.
    2) Improved aspect ratio. The game fully uses all of my 11” ipad pro gen 2’s screen real estate. ZP has black bars.
    3) Decent variety of tables. I’m finally playing the fantastic Williams pinball machines. I refuse to touch your FtP monstrosity Williams pinball app (or pay 2 to 3 times the price for partially functional tables compared to every other platform).
    4) Tournament mode. It seems pretty limited but it’s better than nothing. Not sure what the rewards are. It would be nice to organize tournaments with friends within the app instead of doing it on message boards which usually flounder without a dedicated tournament organizer.

    1) Low res assets. I did a side-by-side comparison of the tables in the ZP, WP, and ZPP apps. The ZPP app definitely uses a lower resolution and looks blurry in comparison. I’m not sure if this was a mistake or a calculated decision to keep the file size down but an option to download high res assets is sorely needed.
    2) No landscape option. I like to play Williams tables in portrait but have always preferred landscape when playing Zen tables. They always seemed to be designed with tv aspect ratios in mind.
    3) Swipe to nudge is just awful. I used tap to nudge on the ZP app which is a bit finicky and sometimes fails to register a nudge. But the swipe to nudge is just awful. Most of my swipes (probably greater than 75%) fail to register any nudge. A tap to nudge option like ZP and WP would be nice if I don’t have a controller nearby.
    4) Buggy. I’ve had a few complete audio dropouts when starting a table which requires a forced app close to regain audio. Also when starting a new game I’ve been stuck on the launcher camera angle not being able to swipe down to launch the ball. Backing out to the table menu and restarting the table usually resolves this.
    5) No friends high score list/filter. No local high score list. I even tested the status report on the Kung Fu Panda table and no local top 10 high scores.
    6) Physics are different compared to the ZP app on some of the tables. I compared adventureland across the ZPP and ZP apps. The ball feels more floaty/slower on the ZPP app. Maybe the table incline was lowered to make it easier? Not sure I like this change though some might prefer it.

    Overall if you’re a novice to video pinball and have an Apple Arcade sub, this is a nice intro to digital pinball. For ZP vets the new tables don’t offer any challenge and the lower resolution tables and easier physics might turn you away from the zen originals. For me, I’ll only be using this app to play Williams tables to avoid the FTP shenanigans of the WP app.