Sorcerer's Lair is an entertaining ramp-fest that mashes up some of the best elements from two other Zen tables, Excalibur and Marvel's Blade.
Let's make a quick list of some of the things you'll be doing while the nimble minds at Sony scramble to figure out how a hacker took down the mighty PlayStation Network, stranding some 700 million gamers in online limbo for the last six days and counting. And while they figure out how to get the system up and running again, since "It only does security failures and system outages" isn't exactly what you'd call a winning tagline.
- Worrying about the status of your credit rating. No ten words can put you at ease quite like "Sony isn't sure if your credit information has been stolen." It's bad enough that, as Sony finally admitted today, that our personal information, including email addresses and PSN passwords, has been compromised. If the answer to the credit card question turns out to be yes, the rain of lawsuits is going to make the PR disaster of the PS3's high-priced launch look like a trip through the McDonald's drive-thru. Sony's taking appropriate steps to investigate what happened, but s offering PSN users a free credit report won't be nearly enough of a PR response.
- Fondly remembering what it was like in the days before the bulk of your gaming experience was dependent on having access to the latest firmware update for your gaming console or online access to new content and achievements. Having the ability to store your PS3 save games virtually on PlayStation Plus's new cloud feature isn't so handy when you can't get at the cloud. Let's hear it for plug and play.
Meanwhile, there are all sorts of things you're not doing without a functional PlayStation Network, including downloading and playing Sorcerer's Lair, the latest virtual pinball table from the kids at Zen Studios. It was supposed to have been made available today, but obviously, it'll be delayed into next week when, hopefully, the PSN re-electrifies the security fence.
Most of us thought Zen's next table was going to be the latest entry in the developer's Marvel superhero series -- maybe a Captain America or Ghost Rider-themed table -- but instead, it's an entertaining ramp-fest that mashes up some of the best elements from two other Zen tables, Excalibur and Marvel's Blade.
The table's "story" involves a couple of innocent kids who stumble across an evil sorcerer, thwarting his plans with the help of a ghostly child named Whisper. The ramps, hidden passages and angry-looking tree creature on the right-hand side of the table are fun, but the real sell is the use of the daytime/nighttime effects we first saw in last year's Blade. Every so often, the table goes dark, turning the bumpers into a dark forest maze of will-o-the-wisp-like targets you need to hit to escape and survive until sunrise.
If you can manage to master the timing of the teeny bumper in the table's upper left corner, you can access the sub-mini-table, which finds you trying to beat back creepy-crawly spiders with your silver ball. In a hacker-free world, pinball wizards would already be slamming the Sorcerer's Lair boards with high scores. Looks like they'll have to wait several more days before they can take a tilt at this title -- here's hoping it doesn't get lost in the security shuffle.