It’s been a while since I picked up something in my own time, just browsing the Xbox Live market place I came across something that caught my eye as I’ve seen it launched on many platforms and that’s Pinball Arcade.
It’s available on PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, iphone, ipad, Mac and Android devices. That’s a serious amount of platforms to launch just one game onto but you can see a Pinball game is one of those games that fits the bill to make it instantly compatible for all of these platforms and because of this it also reaches out to an amazing assortment of gamers new to old. This is what actually took my interest, it must already by incredibly well established.
Pinball tables attract allsorts of different people if you think about it. They’re normally placed in corners of pubs or in various establishments who also have Arcade machines and other similar machines. They’ve been around for a while in physical form but sadly have disappeared from view in various places, however like many well timed balances in this world when one thing goes down another comes up. There’s now an increase in virtual items online such as Pinball tables making an appearance! Pinball Arcade has also attracted some of the biggest names in the history of Pinball tables like Williams, Bally and Stern Pinball and you get to play these real tables on your console or portable device.
Pinball Arcade does an amazing job of capturing the lights, noises and challenges you associate with pinball tables so well and brings you some brilliant and sometimes complex challenges to boot. It whips your attention span right into the game as soon as you pick it up as it’s a game that requires straight-line thought and focus to play. The gameplay can get rather speedy too once you start timing you shots right and you need to be ready to return the ball at a moments notice. That’s the basic way you play Pinball, it’s remembering the different angles you hit the ball to with the flippers that gets you those high-scores and also a bit of luck too! That’s what keeps pinball games interesting and the element of random occurrence or when you don’t exactly know what your next objective is. You’ll will quite happily play Pinball Arcade for hours simply because of these well developed elements making it a time gobbler and a good one at that.
There’s several tables to choose from and each curbing your tactics by introducing a different table layout. Each table has it’s own history there for you to read too and they have a some cool themes like ‘Tales Of The Arabian Nights’. This makes the tables quite rich compared to say the Windows Pinball game where you have a lot of the same features but with no creativity or care unlike the original creators of these tables and Pinball Arcades developers, FarSight Studios. The challenges for the tables are relative to the theme too; like there’s a lamp in ‘Tales Of The Arabian Nights’ that you can hit to increase multipliers or to keep hitting until you obtain a certain level of spin to finish the challenge, it’s not too hard to wrap you head around but hard to accomplish. Simply, you can see what you need to do just not always how you do it.
There’s also Goals to achieve while you play, Standard and then Wizard after you have cracked the Standard. These are another fun way to challenge yourself in Pinball Arcade, you get into all the tables secret areas and learn how to hit some serious high-scores and these then end up on the Online Leaderboard along with everyone else’s scores across the world. So it’s like playing in a giant amusement arcade or pub with all these tables and scores that build up! You can also grab a look at the Flyers for the tables which sit in the Extras menu section along with the History of the table. They have some information on the challenges, this really just adds more detail to the history of the table itself. You’ll be able to see why these Pinball Tables where the best back when they where released too, they’re really quite the marvel when you see these pieces come together. I felt lucky that I could still see the history of the Pinball Table movement, I was also surprised that it would have that effect on me but then I realised myself these where all the pieces offline and on coming together while I played it.
There’s ten tables altogether on Xbox Live, six of those you will have to buy from the Marketplace but luckily they come in packs of two. Considering that this is a lifetime purchase, not one or two goes in the street but for life, 800msp is a fairly reasonable price to pay for something that has disappeared under other interesting ways and means of spending our time with machines. This is why I like virtual items along with the physical, you can freely move the virtual and bring life into the physical which is exactly what I see happening in Pinball Arcade. FarSight Studios have captured what we love about these machines to an incredible standard that it shows instantly, especially through the sounds of the ball hitting various aspects of the table, it just perks your ears up but isn’t over amplified either. This is what you want from a game that simulates something you’ve already come across and Pinball Arcade also gives you plenty to do in the way of challenges, goals and Leaderboards to drive your mates crazy with!
Go pick it up today if your an Arcade game fan, you’ll simply enjoy it as it’s very well made. If you like your Pinball you’ll just love it (and its noises!) and if you generally like your memorabilia I reckon if you gave Pinball Arcade some time you’d also see all of it’s history it has woven into it!