Avengers: Infinity Quest is a physical pinball table released in September of 2020 by Stern. Designed by Keith Elwin and featuring artwork by Zombie Yeti, the game is based on various characters from the Marvel Universe (unsurprisingly focusing on members of The Avengers).
The game's story begins with the Black Order having successfully retrieved the six Infinity Gems and given them to their master, Thanos. The Avengers set out to travel back in time through one of Doctor Strange's portals and take the Gems before the Order can. The player's success in these Gem Quests has a significant impact on the game: if they win, they place the gem on a specific shot that provides a game-long perk, while if they lose, Thanos gets the Gem and uses it against them in the final battle.
Before they can fight Thanos, however, the player needs both the Gems and six primary Avengers Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow, Black Panther, and Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel in order to access a succession of mini-wizard modes. Getting through all of these (which include tasks like retrieving the Soul Gem from the astral plane and fighting off the entire Black Order) is a tough order, but Thor and Iron Man's multiballs can help make it easier. Throughout the game, trophies are also made available for achieving certain milestones. Collecting enough of them leads directly into the true Wizard Mode, "Trophy Mania".
The game comes in three varieties: the standard "Pro", higher-tier "Premium", and deluxe "Limited" editions. Every version features a spinning "Eye of Agamotto" kinetic disc and an Avengers Tower on the playfield that can hold balls in mid-air. The latter two upgrade the Eye to open up and function as a scoop for capturing balls; they also feature a subway that can hold them underneath the playfield, an inverse gravity wireform ramp tied to Captain Marvel, a vertical up-kicker, and a sculpted Infinity Gauntlet with "gems" that can light up.
This game contains examples of:
- Achievement System: Achieving specific goals (like getting an Infinity Gem or successfully finishing a Hawkeye Challenge) awards a trophy that boosts combo scoring. There are three potential colors bronze, silver, and gold that depend on precisely how well the player did (and reward them more accordingly). Some trophies simply start at Bronze, and upgrade to Silver and Gold by repeating their achievement.
- Astral Projection: The Soul Gem Quest involves Doctor Strange projecting into the astral realm to retrieve the Soul Gem and fight off Thanos' Outriders.
- Big Bad: Thanos. The Avengers spend the game time-traveling to retrieve the Infinity Gems before the Black Order can bring them to him, and he serves as your opponent in the final Wizard Mode.
- Brainwashed: The Mind Gem Quest has Supergiant mind control part of your team, requiring several shots to break them out of her spell.
- Camera Abuse: One animation shows the Hulk punching the camera, cracking its "lens".
- Character Level: Each of the six primary Avengers can be leveled up by shooting their shot after collecting them. Doing so provides a number of benefits, including doubling the worth of their shot, increasing scoring during associated multiball modes, and increasing the power of any Infinity Gem placed on them.
- Combos: The game bestows awards (including a Portal Lock) for achieving specific amounts of combos.
- Company Cross References: The game's official rule sheet describes Trophy Mania as "the super duper mega extreme wizard mode", alluding to the name of the final wizard mode in the older Stern game The Simpsons Pinball Party.
- Interface Screw: A form of this happens during the Soul Gem quest, where you have a limited number of flips to complete the mode. If you happen to run out of flips and lose the quest, the ball still remains in play, so you need to very quickly remind yourself that you're no longer under the constraint of limited flips.
- Logo Joke: On the logo card at the bottom of the table, the pinball seen in Stern's logo is recolored red like the Power Gem, with the other five surrounding it.
- Limited Animation: The game's animations have practically no in-betweening, with characters either moving around the screen in a single pose or snapping between poses.
- Match Sequence: The Hulk leaps and smashes the ground, with the number appearing on the screen after impact.
- Mooks: The Outriders serve as Thanos' grunts. They primarily appear in multiball and wizard modes, where most of their screen time is spent being attacked by whichever Avenger stars in the mode.
- Mythology Gag: While the game is specifically based on Marvel comics rather than the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it contains two allusions to Avengers: Endgame.
- Starting a gem mode sometimes prompts a line where Black Widow refers to it as a "gem heist", alluding to a different metaphorical "heist" in the film.
- The entire premise bears substantial similarities to Endgame's plot: Thanos has already obtained the Infinity Gems, and the Avengers must travel back in time to retrieve them before him (or his minions, in this case).
- Orcus on His Throne: Thanos is the Big Bad, but he only directly confronts the Avengers in the final Wizard Mode. The rest of the game is spent fighting against the Black Order, who do the grunt work in retrieving the Infinity Gems for him, and his Outriders.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Getting a tilt warning displays a picture of Thanos with glowing red eyes, an obvious indication that continuing playing rough will end badly for you.
- Score Multiplier: Placing the Reality Gem on a shot causes it to be worth at least twice as much (going up to five times as much depending on the level of the corresponding Avenger and any attained power-ups). Also, by earning "Portal Locks", it's possible to turn any Gem Quest (except the Soul Gem) into a two or three ball multiball; doing so will also multiply the quest scoring by the number of balls in play.
- Second Person Attack: Missing a Hawkeye Challenge plays an animation of an Outrider attacking the camera.
- Self-Imposed Challenge: The Soul Gem quest can optionally be played in "hard mode". This starts you off with only 20 flips, and each successful shot only refunds two flips, but the trade-off is that all scoring is multiplied by ten.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The plot begins with Thanos acquiring all six Infinity Gems, leading the Avengers to travel back in time to take them before the Black Order can.
- Skill Shot: Four of them.
- The regular skill shot involves soft plunging to a rollover target, awarding a minimum of 250,000 points and adding 3 seconds of ball saver time.
- One Secret Skill Shot instead requires plunging to the mini-loop, awarding a minimum of one million points, 10 seconds of ball saver, and a lit Portal Lock. Another one was added in the 0.94 update (details needed).
- The Super Skill Shot requires immediately shooting Avengers Tower after launching the ball, awarding a minimum of 500,000 points, 5 seconds of ball saver, and (once per game) a lit Mystery award.
- Smart Bomb: Downplayed with the Mind Gem, which will automatically collect whatever shot it's placed on when activated. Power-ups and level increases can make it a straighter example; at full power, it collects every lit shot upon use.
- Spelling Bonus:
- I-R-O-N collects Iron Man.
- S-T-R-A-N-G-E lights a Gem Quest.
- T-H-O-R progresses toward Thor Multiball.
- Timed Mission: The "Super" modes have a time limit, which the Time Gem can increase.
- Video-Game Lives: A non-video game example. "Black Order Battle Royale" gives the player 6 lives, represented by one of the 6 main Avengers, to complete the mode.
- Villain Respect: After the player acquires a gem, Thanos will occasionally admit that he admires their resilience "misguided as it is."
- Wizard Mode: The game has several mini-wizard modes and a proper example.
- "Battle for the Soul Gem" is lit after collecting every Avenger once. The player must complete a sequence of eight shots with a limited amount of flips (initially 30, though they increase with every successful shot). Draining doesn't end the mode, instead simply subtracting 5 flips. Succeeding earns them the Soul Gem, allowing them to replay a failed Gem Quest, along with a lot of other nice perks.
- Collecting them all twice lights "Black Order Multiball". It's a 3-ball multiball where shooting areas associated with each main Avenger lights their jackpot.
- Collecting them all a third time lights "Black Order Battle Royale". With six lives (represented by each main Avenger), the player must defeat every member of the Black Order by making shots. Both fighters have a Life Meter; the player's drains if the attack timer runs out or if they lose the ball. Further complicating things is a "stamina" mechanic where the player can only use the flippers so many times running out also does damage.
- Finishing every Gem Quest (including "Battle for the Soul Gem") at least once lights "Battle Thanos". Whatever Infinity Gems the player hasn't collected by this point will be wielded against them by Thanos, translating to various "anti-perks" that work against them. There are two phases: the first has the player defend their own gems by shooting a few shots for each one, losing the gem to Thanos if they drain without a ball saver. Regardless of the outcome, making it through all six gems leads to the second phase, a four-ball multiball where the player tries to drain Thanos' Life Meter before he does their own. This mode is currently disabled due to the discovery of a Game-Breaking Bug in the initial release code which did have this mode.
- Playing all the "Super" modes from the Computer Grid lights Super Computer Frenzy. All the shots in the game are linked to squares in the "bingo" grid. Completing lines on the card awards Super Jackpots, with multiplied awards for completing two or three lines simultaneously.
- The final Wizard Mode is "Trophy Mania", achieved upon collecting 24 trophies (out of 32 total). It's a multiball where the player re-collects all each trophy by shooting specific shots, with scoring is dependent on the color of the trophies the player acquired. The primary goal is to get 24 of them again, upon which the Super Jackpot is made available.