While classic arcades have been slowly dying out in most places, pinball has been experiencing a bit of a resurgence on home consoles. FarSight Studios has brought over The Pinball Arcade to XBLA and PSN (and PS Vita) and it’s a game pinball enthusiast have been waiting for. The Pinball Arcade isn’t just another pinball game for home consoles (and mobile devices), it’s actually four real pinball tables brought to life on the platform of your choice.
The tables are Theater Magic (1995 Bally/Midway designed by John Popadiuk), Black Hole (1981 Gottlieb), Tales of the Arabian Nights (1996 Williams designed by John Popadiuk), and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (2003 Stern designed by Pat Lawlor). The menu for each table contains an “Extras” category that will give you a brief history of each table as well as a look at the front and back of the original fliers for the pinball machine. These real life tables have been carefully and rather exceptionally well emulated and the team at FarSight deserve a ton of credit for the attention to detail they went through to assure this is an authentic experience.
Everything about the four tables included here are top notch; the sound effects are great, the tables look great, the physics are spot on. You can tell a lot of care went into emulating these tables and making sure everything was legit.
I really only have one problem with the game, and that’s simply that there isn’t a static camera option. I don’t like the camera moving to follow the ball. It doesn’t take long to overcome it, but I wish there was an option to have the camera stay put. And this isn’t a problem with the game but rather a personal preference, but man do I hate that Black Hole table. I suck at that big time.
The only other thing I can think of that bothers me here is I think the ball (or balls) go to the sides of the flippers, or in between them, way too often. I’m not super fantastic at pinball and completing goals and objectives (of which there are plenty here for all skill levels) isn’t something that I can do easily, but I’m good enough to where the balls shouldn’t be getting away and going behind me so frequently.
If you’re a fan of pinball games, then this is a no brainer purchase at only $10. FarSight Studios is dedicated to bringing long term DLC in the form of tons more real pinball tables, creating a nice museum-esque collection of a classic arcade gaming genre right in your home (or the palm of your hands). The first DLC that is coming soon is Medieval Madness and Bride of Pinbot. They’ve said their goal is to release two tables a month for several years.
Marvel/Zen Pinball finally has some stiff competition on XBLA and PSN, and I can’t wait to see what FarSight brings to the Pinball Arcade next. Besides the above mentioned DLC, the game will soon support challenge and tournament modes. There’s Facebook interaction (post your scores to your timeline, leaderboards can get pulled, etc.) and if you purchase the game from PSN you’re getting both the PS3 version and the PS Vita version for only $10. There’s even a cool little “Call Attendant” feature for if your ball gets stuck.
You Pinball fans out there, this is the one you want. It’s going to be hard to find a better experience short of finding an actual arcade room packed with pinball tables.
The Pinball Arcade gets a four out of five: GREAT.
* A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review.