Bob might make a mean (or confusing) burger, but his premiere pinball outing leaves a little to be desired.
Zen studios has been developing digital pinball tables for years now, with numerous tables based around IPs as far ranging as Portal and Star Wars. The latest set of Zen Pinball tables, available either as standalone apps for iOS or Android, or as additional tables for those who already have the core Zen Pinball app, are all based around Fox Studios animation properties. Specifically, there are tables based around American Dad, Family Guy, Archer and Bob’s Burgers. No, there’s no Simpsons table… yet. I can only imagine what the rights for that would be worth, and that’s ignoring the existence of actual Simpsons pinball.
Bob’s Burgers as a series is a quietly charming cartoon that I’ll admit took its sweet time getting its hooks into me. That’s fine — not every TV show has to get you addicted from act one or anything — and at first glance, the pinball table of the show does just about everything right. Everything on the table is depicted in a cell shaded cartoon style with just a faint hint of the ridiculous, whether it’s rat targets or the fact that you launch the ball by thumping down on a mustard bottle, because of course you do.
Show quotes fly at you frequently while you play, although I’m yet to hit one that isn’t a direct grab from the show itself. If any additional comments have been recorded by the voice cast, I’m either missing them, or I haven’t triggered them yet. If you’re a fan of the show that’s probably not a huge problem per se, especially as there’s plenty of fan service in terms of mission types, no matter who your favourite Bob’s Burgers character happens to be.
So Bob’s Burgers gets it right when it comes to fan authenticity, but sadly that’s where the good news finishes, because there’s a simpler problem with Bob’s Burgers Pinball, and it’s to do with the table design. Just about everything is ramp based, and the ramp design is very simple indeed. That makes it a fairly easy table to play, which could have short term appeal, but against other titles within the Zen Pinball app, there’s a lot of other tables that offer either more variety or a better challenge, and often both.
Zen Pinball still offers a lot of fun, and at that basic whack-a-silver-ball-around-until-gravity-wins way, Bob’s Burgers is entirely adequate. Why play adequate when even within the same app, better pinball meals are available? If you’re a huge fan of the show, maybe having the sounds of Bob Belcher and family while you play simple pinball will be enough, but for everyone else, it’s a small thrill that fades (sadly) all too rapidly.