The Pinball FX2 Mars table presents a thematic premise with a lot of promise, but ultimately fails to fully deliver. That is not to say that it is a bad table overall; it is just not of the standard that I have come to expect from a Pinball FX2 table.
The problem mainly lies within the mechanics of the game, which is a little shocking seeing as Pinball FX2 is usually spot-on with their physics and sensitivity controls. Out of all the tables I have played so far, the Mars table is the least sensitive to player response and at times feels as if it suffers from a minor lag. There were numerous times when I would press one of the flipper controls and the flipper would not react immediately – more times than not this would lead to me losing a ball. Thankfully, this table offers a lot of kickback and ball save chances so most of the time I was able to continue my round of play. However, there were also many times when I would be deep in the mission mode and the lag would cost me a chance to complete the mission and build up some major points.
The ball physics also felt a bit off-balance. At times the ball would fall so fast it was nearly impossible to react accurately with the main flippers. The overall mechanics of the table felt weirdly out of balance like when one side of your headphones is slowly beginning to die quicker than the other. You know something does not sound quite right, but unless you pinpoint the exact side that is faltering it is hard to say precisely what is wrong. The gameplay mechanics of this table felt exactly that way. At times it felt precise, like with the launcher. While most everything else about this table felt a bit off, the sensitivity and precision of the launcher was one of the best I have experienced. The launcher’s power meter is well-defined and the response time from the point of pressing the launch button to the launcher reacting is nearly instantaneous. I was able to make multiple skill shots with this launcher, which is something I have had some problems with on other tables. That being said, this one positive is not enough to balance out the numerous negatives associated with the gameplay.
Visually, the Mars table is a bit lackluster as well. It does include the iconic “Face on Mars” on the main portion of the table, but the rest is fairly forgettable. The animations are interesting at first but also wear thin the more you play. The one saving grace of the table is its open nature. The ramps and chutes are very well placed and challenging enough to aim toward without being infuriatingly difficult. If the flipper sensitivity was tuned a bit better, this table would be a ton of fun and a great table for advanced players to rack up a decent high score. The only parts of the table’s design that I did not care for was the placement of the bumper trap and secondary flipper. The secondary flipper becomes rather forgettable after a while and the bumper trap is in a very odd and difficult to reach part of the upper portion of the table. Once you get the hang of the angles and controls you can get the ball to the bumper trap with more regularity, but it becomes so cumbersome at times that it is not worth the trouble of trying. The one saving grace for this table is the mission mode, which does offer some fun aiming drills and gives the player a fair chance of building their score.
The Pinball FX2 Mars table is a lackluster pinball sim that never really pays off the promise of its theme. I feel like they could have taken this table a bit farther aesthetically to make the table feel more immersive, while also tweaking the gameplay mechanics to better suit the player’s needs. Far too often I felt like the table was cheating me out of rounds and no aspect of the table should ever adversely affect the run of play. The animations were bland and redundant, as was the dialogue. Flipper sensitivity felt off and lagging while the launcher felt precise, which only added to the table’s overall imbalance. The table is open and inviting for novice players, which is always a great thing for first time players; however, it also possesses well-placed and challenging mission modes for more advanced players to master.
In the end, because of its many inconsistencies, the replay value of this table is low and not worth more than adding to your overall score total. So I would recommend the table as a one-timer, but if you are looking for a table with more substance and a larger replay value then I would recommend skipping this table and looking elsewhere.
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