A tale of flippers and balls
Before video games took over, Pinball machines littered those dark arcade places that youths went to escape from their parents. Throughout the 1970’s they were constantly seeing coins poured into them as players tried to reach those elusive high scores and they’ve been a part of arcades ever since, outliving the video game collapse and coming back stronger than ever.
FarSight Studios aim to re-create the glory days of pinball by making the original tables available digitally, complete with high score charts, original sampled music and an eye for detail to represent the original cabinets down to the smallest detail, all on the little screen of your iPhone.
Once you’ve downloaded Pinball Arcade you can play Tales of the Arabian Knights right away. It’s a great little table which displays all the best features of the app as it’s from the era when the digital high score table displayed some wonderful graphical effects and added to the immersion of the table’s theme. FarSight have ensured that the most popular tables from each era have been included, where they’ve been able to get the rights to the table, and there are some great examples of classic Williams, Bally and Gottlieb tables on offer.
New tables can be picked up through In App Purchase for a range of prices. While a full collection may seem a steep price to pay, the cost of the licence being a big factor, what you’re buying is an authentic table complete with physics, sounds and scoring systems that are true to the original game, it’s a price many fans will be willing to pay.
Every month FarSight aim to add new tables to the game, with the current table being available to play freely via ad funding. It’s a decision which has already seen tables such as Bride of Pinbot and Funhouse made available with the promise of more classic machines to come and pinball aficionados, as well as newcomers to the world of pinball, will get even more from the app through the history of the tables.
However, all of this would be pointless if the game didn’t play well and I’m pleased to say that Pinball Arcade is a fantastic recreation of pinball in digital form. The game gets the physics just right and the touch controls are simple, yet effective, allowing for the quick responses required to get anywhere near some of the high scores currently being set.
Tables are all well represented graphically, with lights and effects displayed beautifully on the screen. Scrolling while the ball is in play is smooth and allows you to keep your eye on the ball, especially on the larger iPad version.
The only thing going against Pinball Arcade is the Facebook login to compete against friends. While Game Center was promised (and still is, we believe) it currently hasn’t been implemented, leaving Facebook as the only way to compare scores, something that may put those with an aversion to the service off the game.
Still, Facebook aside, fans of pinball tables will lap up the attention to detail and the sheer playability of the games on offer. FarSight have done a fantastic job of bringing real pinball to iOS.
- Sound: 9
- Graphics: 10
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 8
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