The Pinball FX2 Captain America table is a perfect example of when Pinball FX2 gets a table nearly perfect. This table is a beautifully rendered and challenging table that is still accessible to all skill levels. The artwork and CGI elements for the Captain America table are gorgeous and border on distracting for that very reason.
When I first started playing the table I had a hard time taking my eyes off the amazing looking piece of artwork that adorns the central part of the table. It depicts Captain America and the Howling Commandos in various action poses and it is a glorious thing to behold for a fanboy like myself. Also, the CGI Captain America and Red Skull that stand at the top of the table look phenomenal. Moreover, they are positioned at points in which they do not interfere with the run of play at any moment. This includes moments when they are moving and interacting with each other. The issue of the environment of the table interfering with the run of play in a negative way is sometimes an issue with Pinball FX2’s tables, particularly in the case of their Mars table and their Star Wars: Episode VI table. At no point does any aspect of the table’s environment encroach upon the run of play, which is a good thing since this table is definitely built to challenge the player.
While I noted that the Captain America table is accessible to all skill levels, it is most definitely one of the more challenging Pinball FX2 tables. It is forgiving enough to allow novice players the opportunity to build a decent score, but is challenging enough to skew greater point totals for more skillful players. The ramps are placed at very challenging points requiring a high level of precision and quick-fire repetition on the controls if you hope to master them and build a high-score through the various missions offered. Obtaining missions, however, is not particularly challenging, which is a good thing for novice players hoping to get some short-term enjoyment and replayability from the table.
The mission carousel is located at the top of the table to the right of the CGI Captain America and is easily accessible via the left flipper (and the right flipper if you discover the sweet spot). Even if you are unable to maintain long runs of play, you can still unlock a lot of fun mission play. There is also a fun on-table aside in which you take control of Cap himself and use his shield to deflect small metal balls that randomly launch toward you. As you gain a better grasp on the ins and outs of the table, you are able to take part in more detailed missions such as invading Baron Zemo’s castle and battling with Red Skull. Each of these missions asks a lot from the player and requires a deep understanding of the release points needed to aim true toward the ramps, bumpers, and spinners.
The challenge associated with this table is not only in its ramp and bumper placement. The Captain America table is one of the fastest Pinball FX2 tables I have played so far. This is by far the one element of the table that separates the novice players from the more skillful players, particularly in relation to the secondary flipper placement. The secondary flipper is placed in what would appear to be prime shooting territory both during the run of play and also after launch, but the speed at which the ball can approach the secondary flipper is insanely difficult to pick up. But man is it ever an amazing feeling when you gauge the speed just right and start racking up major points via the secondary flipper route. It is one of the more satisfying aspects of this table in relation to simply building points as opposed to focusing on the narrative aspect of the table.
Speaking of the flippers and launcher, the Captain America table definitely shines in terms of sensitivity and reaction time. The launcher allows for a ton of player control in terms of weightiness at the point of contact. It also allows for the opportunity to easily perform skill shots and set up initial contact with the wonderfully placed secondary flipper near the top-right portion of the table. Likewise, the flippers are incredibly sensitive to the player’s reaction. The only flipper I ran into a few problems with was the left flipper, which seemed to lag out at times. It was not often enough to be too frustrating, but when it did happen it always seemed to be at the worst possible time. So that is something you should be aware of during a long run. You may want to keep testing it from time to time to make sure everything is still running smoothly before the speed of the table catches you off guard.
In the end, the Pinball FX2 Captain America table is a nearly perfect example of everything that is great about this line of tables. The physics are insanely precise, the reaction times and sensitivity of the flippers and launcher are spot on, and the aesthetics of the table are almost too beautiful. This is a great table for novices and highly skilled players alike, but if you are expecting to build a serious score you better bring your A-game. The speed of this table can be breakneck at times, but it is never unfair. The table is open enough to allow for clean lines of sight for every portion and the interactive aspects of the environment are never a distraction during the run of play. The included missions are a lot of fun to play through and offer some fun asides that allow the player to take a break from the table’s fast pace and regroup before continuing a run. I cannot recommend this table highly enough. Get crakin’ Cap’n!
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