First of all, congrats to sk8ball for another amazing game. It's great to see new games with innovative shot entrances and exits, great flow, cool theme integration, and cohesive rules that keep you coming back game after game. And yet another beautiful game by zombieyeti. Love the art work.
Maiden quickly became my favourite pin, and I recently made room (by selling Spider-man and Deadpool) for both JP and AIQ. Can't wait for them to arrive!
I think the voice callouts are pretty good - some real solid ones (Hulk, Thor, Thanos, Black Panther), some that are so-so (Iron-man, Captain America, Black Order) and some that I have no idea who they are (Black Widow? Captain Marvel?).
The rules are great so far. The intricacies of collecting gems, and where you place them adds depth and strategy, and incorporates well with the story.
My only criticisms are minor and likely to be addressed as the code is updated.
The first is that the game needs more Thanos. He is prominent on the art and to the story. He is an epic villain. Having more of him would be great both in callouts (taunts) and modes. I really hope the rumour of a half way Thanos battle is true. That would be perfect.
The second relates to polish. I am a mediocre pinball player at best. But what draws me to games are really cool modes. I play to try to get to and complete immersive modes. What I love are the modes that create epic experiences, through callouts, lighting, sound effects and innovative and fun rules. For example: Horde in TWD (the tension that is created though the thumping sound effects and darkened and pulsing lighting); Destroy the Ring in LOTR (epic music and callouts and the superb payoff when you complete the mode with all the coils firing); Destroy the Death Star in SW (with the movie callouts and the actual explosion of the toy in the premium / LE); Winter has Come in GOT (with the winter sound effects, and the flashing lights to make you feel like you are in a winter storm). These all really stand out and make you chase the dragon in wanting to get back to those modes. So far, I feel like this is missing from a number of the modes in AIQ. What seems to be missing from the Gem Quests, is the payoff when you complete them. There were many times in the stream that you didn't even know the mode was over. These are the 5 main modes in the game, and IMO, there should be a significant payoff when you collect a gem (e.g. major music, epic callout [like a "jack f@ckin' pot" in MET or "SUPER JACKPOT" by Gimli in LOTR], priority on the LCD screen for the completion animation). For example, when you collect a Gem, the screen should show, first and foremost, a payoff animation similar to what is used in Deadpool when you defeat an enemy or complete a quest. Collecting a different hurry up or jackpot should be briefly ignored for that time period to convey the significance of getting the gem. Similarly I noticed in the stream, in the Black Order battle, where KME collected a JP (one I think was a 4x JP), and there was no fanfare at all. That should be celebrated big time! I'd love to see some cool lighting effects in certain modes (either darkened lighting, strobing or pulsing effects, etc). Having said that, Gamma Ray is amazing already - love the sound effect and LCD screen usage. More polish like this would take this game over the top.
All in all, nothing but praise for the team from Stern so far. I am super excited to get mine hopefully next month.