Pinballistik

Battle mode is fantastically fun and it’s this multiplayer-orientated angle that sets the game apart from some of its competitors.

By fishdalf, Posted 15 Dec 2011

Pinball games in essence are very limited gaming experiences and best tackled hands-on in an arcade, but if given the right suffusion of ingredients, such as what Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball did almost two decades ago, or more recently Zen Pinball with its superb physics and visuals, and Marvel Pinball with its unrivalled theming, then it is possible to excel in what is such a niche field for consoles.

Comparisons aside for the time-being, Pinballistik is very much an intense assault on the senses. The ball moves around the table at an electric pace and you’ll feel the strain on your eyes as you try to decipher what is unfolding on screen and until you’ve moved through that adjustment period you’ll see a lot of balls travel straight through the flippers or down the side drains and wonder what just happened.

Pinballistik, Review, Pinball

You’re given just the one board entitled “Circle of Wagons” for your money, which adopts a Wild Wild West theme. The sharp and colourful visuals really bring the theming to life, and the animations, when called upon, do their job nicely. I’d go as far to say it’s one of the most fun and engaging tables I’ve come across from any pinball game since their conception. The soundtrack complements wonderfully, and each jingle, jangle and ring from the sound bites are both lively and authentic.

The table has an array of secret power-ups and bonuses that can be unlocked as your progress, with some incredibly difficult to fathom, but you get a great sense of achievement when they’re pulled off. One of the more common and rewarding on the “Circle of Wagons” table in particular is the royal flush that requires you to hit all the five corresponding cards on the table, before entering the flush bonus area at the top of the table to finish off the sequence.

There are two further tables that can be purchased as downloadable content, “Sector X”, a futuristic table, and “Made of Money”, a 70s style affair, and both are decent in their own right, especially the latter of the two, with some cool switching mechanics that are best seen first-hand, and can really throw you for a loop. However, neither really lives up to the precedent set by the first and perhaps they should have been included in the initial download as a side note, with a slight price hike. Although I feel I’m splitting hairs as both are pretty cheap in their own right.

Pinballistik, Review, Pinball

Pinballistik offers up two modes for your money. Classic Mode sees you going it alone, trying to get the best score possible after setting your own parameters for play. Battle Mode, which is my personal favourite, pits you against the computer AI or an offline multiplayer opponent. Here you are both on a joint table with a set of flippers each side and you set whether the winner will be decided by their score after the timer runs out, or if they reach a certain score the fastest.

The mode is fantastically fun and it’s this multiplayer-orientated angle that sets the game apart from some of its competitors. It might not be wholly accessible to beginners, especially when you knock balls on to their side and they have to simultaneously juggle two-three-four, but if they can persist passed the initial hysteria then it becomes a richly satisfying experience. Those who have no friends at hand can pit their skills against the computer AI, which you will find a stern test even on the easiest difficulty setting. Ramp it up to hard and you’ll need reflexes like a cat to stand any chance of getting anywhere near their score.

Pinballistik, Review, Pinball

Some of the trophies found here are stupidly hard, with one requiring you to reach a score of 5,000,000 in a 10 minute game a particular pain in the backside, but it’s that longing to beat ones score that keeps you coming back for more. If you do manage to bag some scores in the millions though there are online leaderboards you can upload to and see where you rank in the world. Sadly that’s the only online feature to speak of, which is a real shame, and really could have taken the game that extra mile.

In conclusion, what Pinballistik does it does pretty well, but is let down by some physics issues, primarily the ball feeling a little light at times, which results in a game that’s a little too pacey, and a little too frenetic for its own good. What saves the games blushes though is Battle Mode, which is a breath of fresh air to the genre and adds an extra dimension of competitive play that can keep you engaged for hours.


Craig Bryan, NoobFeed
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General Information

Pinballistik

84/100

Platform(s): PS3
Publisher(s): Creat Studios
Developer(s): Creat Studios
Genres: Puzzle
Themes: Pinball
Release Date: 2011-10-19

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