We’ve seen hybrid pinball games in the past that have made proper use of their themes. Metroid Prime Pinball, anyone? Don’t think we’ve forgotten about The Pinball of the Dead either. We’re also looking at you, Nintendo, to make us a new Pokémon Pinball already for Switch. In the meantime, however, we have the awesome undead battler Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes.
In this game, you battle against groups of the undead on limited pinball playfields, opening up new areas, unlocking special items, and overcoming challenges. You’ll clear through area after area, eventually championing the undead and bringing peace to the land. Well, maybe. It’s an interesting formula that takes getting used to, but after a few plays, you’ll happily welcome Zombie Rollerz into your realm.
Don’t Slow Your Roll
The game begins with a few simple waves to get you used to the gameplay. Essentially, you’re in a pinball format, using your flippers and other techniques to clear out zombies. Some are easy to run over, but then towers and other obstacles enter the fray. You’ll need to use skillful shot to unlock new areas, earn new items and ultimately beat the stage.
As time goes on, more challenging levels open up. Random flipping won’t save you here, as you’ll need to use genuine strategy to survive. Fortunately, Zombie Rollerz’ gameplay is up to the task. It feels naturally wonderful, like any good virtual pinball game should. The techniques you’ll grasp are really well done as well, and the items are actually useful here. “Why would I need a shovel?”, you’re asking. Well, that campfire isn’t going to put itself out, now is it?
You’ll also level up over time, and, even if you don’t clear a stage, you won’t need to start completely back at level one. That’s a good thing, and keeps you coming back for more as the zombies keep rolling. There’s also a decent story here, but the pinball action is the thing and it’s done really, really well here.
Good Looking, But a Slight Bit Crammed
As for presentation, Zombie Rollerz isn’t afraid to show off its creative side. The undead types here are fascinatingly designed, but still adorable for those that like that sort of thing. I’m also a fan of the varied table types you have here, as well as some of the unlockable areas.
The only downside to this is that sometimes the action can get too out of hand, and it can be easy to miss things. This is especially true in the later levels, where zombies can sneak right past you if you’re not careful, chewing away your precious HP. Maybe an update with better handling of chaotic situations like this would do the game some good. It’s not the end of the world, though. It’s just something for those seeking a challenge, I suppose.
As for the audio, it’s okay. The music could be better, but isn’t bad considering the undead theme. I also like the zombie moans and groans (of course), and the atmospheric effects are pretty good as well.
Bowling For Zombie Heads
In the end, Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heroes has its notable problems, mainly with flow of enemies in later levels and slight repetition. Overall, though, it makes great use of its theme, and it’s a lot of fun to play. It looks like fun and the stuff you can unlock really goes a long way with replay value. For the $15 price tag, you definitely get lots of rollin’ action on here, and you don’t even need Limp Bizkit’s “Rollin’” to finish it. (In fact, we kind of prefer “Roll Me Away” by Bob Seger, if we can be perfectly honest.)
VIBE Rating: 8/10
Need more pinball fun? Give Indiana Jones a try!