enfrdeitptrues

Pinball


  • This would have to be the most complex pinball game I have played yet. Lots of eye candy, the graphics are great! Before you play you are given your goals to accomplish. Adventure Pinball has quite a big pinball map. There are volcanoes, and lots of ramps etc. There are many things you can control, for example you can bump the table (world), move cave men, and of course control your many flippers. From a Christian perspective, this looks like a clean game to me. The game is easy to install. The graphics are great. It uses the Unreal engine, I am still undecided if that is over kill or not. The sound effects are good. There is a voice saying 'Good shot!' or 'Oh no!' depending on how well you do. There are also lots of 'oogas'. The only complaint I have is the flippers on some areas of the game are not responsive enough. Other than that it's a fun and unique pinball game.

    Final Ratings

    Appropriate 5/5 Interface 4/5 Game Play 5/5 Music/Sound 3/5 Graphics 5/5 Stability 5/5

    Overall 90%

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Jurassic World Pinball
    Developed by: Zen Studios
    Published by: Zen Studios
    Released date: February 20, 2018
    Available on: Android, iOS, PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
    Genre: Pinball
    Number of players: Up to two in hot seat mode
    ESRB Rating: E10+ for mild language and fantasy violence
    Price: $9.99

    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us this game to review!

    Jurassic Park came out twenty-five years ago; I feel so old now. What better way to commemorate it being a quarter of a century old than to release three Pinball FX3 tables to play and bring back some memories? Pinball FX3 is free and available on all the popular gaming platforms. For $9.99 you get three dinosaur themed tables that have different mini-games and layouts to keep you on your toes.

    The first table, Jurassic Park Pinball, is based off of the first movie and has some memorable quotes like the chaos theory one in it. Sadly, John Williams’ iconic theme music is not used. The replacement music is good, but not as memorable. When first launching the ball, you’ll be challenged to try and have it land in a moving nest. Out of the three tables, I found this one to be the most plain. What does redeem it are the dinosaurs that run around and snatch your pinball while it’s in play. It’s both cute and annoying at the same time. One of the mini-games has you walk around as a triceratops and you must eat to keep your stamina up. However, if you eat the wrong plant you’ll get food poisoning as portrayed in the movie.

    Jurassic World Pinball
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Good variety of tables and mini-games within them
    Weak Points: Iconic music is missing; annoying voice clips
    Moral Warnings: Language (bad*ss); you get to hit dinosaurs with the pinball

    Jurassic Park Pinball Mayhem is my favorite table out of the bunch. Your goal in this table is to rescue people trapped in the visitor center, which has a tyrannosaurus rex nearby. If you get the pinball near the stegosaurus, you can control its tail and smack the ball at windows with a dinosaur on the opposite side. There is another mini-game where you get to control a triceratops and block incoming velociraptors shaped as balls. There’s a lot going on in this table and it gets pretty hectic at times.

    Jurassic World is my second favorite table and it has some quotes from the movie with the same title. I don’t mind Chris Pratt’s likeness on the pinball table and his lines are pretty good. However, the whiny kid that says “I don’t want to wait anymore” after the launch of every pinball is really annoying. As a parent of three children, I play video games to get away from hearing whiny kids. There are some good mini-games like feeding velociraptors. If done successfully you’ll earn five million points; however, with all of their heads near the flippers, the ball is more prone to getting knocked out of the game so be careful!

    Jurassic World Pinball
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 78%
    Gameplay - 15/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 6/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 92%
    Violence - 9/10
    Language - 7/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    The visuals are great in all of the tables. The dinosaurs are nicely animated and there is a lot of detail in each of the tables. I recognized the shaving cream bottle right away from the movie in the Jurassic Park Pinball table. I like how the tables have day, night, and rain cycles just like the movies. The background noises are well done and set the mood nicely. Since some of the voice overs are distracting, I wish there was an option to disable them.

    Morally speaking, these pinball tables are just as appropriate as the movies. One of the lines had the word bad*ss in it. Though not as gory as the films, you still get to attack dinosaurs with your pinball.

    In the end, this is a decent pinball table collection. The sound department is a bit disappointing, but the high quality of the other parts still make this a worthwhile purchase. It’s definitely worth adding to your wish list if you’re a fan of the films.

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Pinball FX 2 VR Season One
    Developed By: Zen Studios
    Published By: Zen Studios
    Release Date: August 23, 2016
    Available on: Oculus Rift
    Genre: Arcade
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: Everyone (Mild fantasy violence)
    Price: $24.99

    Thank you Zen Studios for supplying us with this DLC content!

    Pinball FX 2 VR is one of my favorite virtual reality games available for the Oculus Rift.  Besides being fun to show people new to VR, it’s a blast to play.  While it has a premium price tag compared to the regular version, the enhanced tables are glorious to look at in VR.  The added beauty comes at a price as the Season One DLC includes five additional tables and costs $24.99.  The main game only comes with three tables and retails for $14.99.  

    The game’s interface hasn’t changed and there are still three main pinball tables to choose from.  What is different is that you can play most of the new tables at any pinball machine by using the left and right buttons to select them.  Each of the three pinball machines has an exclusive table that is not available to play at the other two.  As more DLC becomes available, I wonder if the table selection interface will change to make it easier to navigate.

    Pinball FX 2 VR Season One
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Awesome VR experience that is very immersive
    Weak Points: $5 per table; some system lag when dealing with multiple balls
    Moral Warnings: Some insinuated violence; drinking references; Ouija board is used in the Paranormal table

    The five new tables include BioLab, Castlestorm, Earth Defense, Paranormal, and Wild West Rampage.  While the gameplay remains the same for the tables, the VR animations and interactions makes them a more immersive experience.  Each of the tables have unique attributes and objectives to score lots of points.  Handy guides are available on Zen Studio’s website.  

    With the addition of new tables, there are some new moral concerns that are not in the original game.  The Wild West Rampage table takes place in an Old Western atmosphere that centers around a saloon with bar fights taking place.  The brawls are between Cindy the bounty hunter and the crooked sheriff and his men.

    The CastleStorm table is themed after Zen Studio’s strategy game that requires you to thwart multiple enemy attacks upon your castle.  Violence is insinuated, but not seen.  Those who are familiar with CastleStorm will recognize the music, voice acting and animal sound effects.   

    Pinball FX 2 VR Season One
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 82%
    Gameplay - 17/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 6/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 84%
    Violence - 7/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 5/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    The Paranormal table lives up to its mysterious name with a huge leviathan surrounding it.  Unlike the original table, an Ouija board has been integrated as part of the gameplay.  As the ball moves around the table, different letters will be selected on the Ouija board.   This table has a unique upper level that rewards you handsomely if you get your ball there.

    With the additional of the new tables are various achievements for them.  One of the quickest ways to boost up your score is to unlock multiple balls.  Sadly, when multiple balls are into play the processing is a bit much for my i7 with an AMD 290X video card and 16GB of RAM to handle smoothly.

    Even with the slowdowns, I still enjoyed the new gaming experiences that this DLC offers.  I’m not a fan of the Ouija board addition though.  If the paranormal elements and violence and drinking references don’t bother you, this is a solid content pack that adds a ton of replay value to an already great game.  I look forward to some new challengers on the score boards!

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Pinball FX2 - Star Wars Pinball: Rogue One
    Developed by: Zen Studios
    Published by: Zen Studios
    Release date: January 31, 2017
    Available on: Android, iOS, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows
    Genre: Pinball
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: E10+ for fantasy violence
    Price: $3.99

    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us a review code for this table!

    Pinball FX2 is free to install, but you need to purchase tables to truly enjoy it.  The tables can be purchased individually, or in bundles.  During the seasonal Steam sales, you can often grab the table bundles for 75% off or more. Individually, the tables sell for roughly $2.99 apiece, but the latest table, Star Wars Pinball: Rogue One, lists for $3.99.

    Don’t worry about any movie spoilers if you have yet to see the film.  I’m still not sure how recovering the blue prints for the Death Star translates into a pinball game, but this is still a fun table regardless.  If you have seen the movie, you’ll recognize the voice clips used, especially those from the sassy statistical robot, K-2SO, who tells you the diminished chances of success for each ball lost.  If you can aim the ball in certain areas, you can activate ball saves, which will give you another shot if you lose the ball between the bottom two flippers.

    In total, there are four flippers that you get to control by pressing the left and right triggers, which activate the flippers on the respective side.  To get the most out of this table, be sure to play it with a controller that supports rumble.  On the top of the table are several bumpers that send some serious vibrations to your hand when the ball knocks around up there. 

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Action-packed pinball table that has good visuals and sound effects 
    Weak Points: More expensive than some of the Marvel tables
    Moral Warnings: Fantasy violence; references to aliens and use of "the Force"

    Besides keeping your ball in play your goal should be to achieve the highest score possible.  It will be compared against your Steam friends who also own the table.  For what it’s worth, I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve scores as high as theirs.  I was proud of my 33.9 million score until I saw that one of my friends had over 100 million.

    One of the best ways to earn points is to knock down enemy soldiers with your ball.  Lack of hitting the ball at the proper angles made me wish I had paid more attention in my physics class back in high school.  I often sat in those classes wondering where I would use it in life. Now I know!

    There are other ways to score big points I’m sure, but as of this review there are no official guides out yet.  The trailer shows that you’re able to take out stormtroopers, AT-ATs, and ultimately the Death Star.  I didn’t get that far though.  

    Pinball FX2 - Star Wars Pinball: Rogue One
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 86%
    Gameplay - 16/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 4/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 88%
    Violence - 7/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Although I didn’t get very far, I still had fun trying and that’s what counts.  Appropriateness wise you can expect to see the same amount of violence in a Star Wars film. There will be gun fights and ships shooting each other down.

    The graphics are well done and I’ve been spoiled by playing the VR tables. I hope that this table gets a virtual reality transformation soon.  Despite it feeling flat to me, the visuals are pretty engaging regardless.  When playing by myself I did not experience any performance slowdowns.  However, when someone joined my Steam stream, the game became noticeably laggy.

    Fans of the Star Wars series will appreciate the background music and voice clips taken from the movie.  When the game is over, you’ll be asked for your call sign and have the option of putting your initials in the global leaderboard.  

    I know that my score is lacking compared with those of my friends.  If you enjoy competing against your friends' scores, then you’ll have much to look forward to in this table.  I hope to spend more time in it and do better because “The Force is with me and I am one with the Force.”

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Pinball FX2 Bethesda Pinball
    Developed by: Zen Studios
    Published by:  Zen Studios
    Release date: December 6, 2016
    Available on: Android, iOS, macOS, PSN, Switch (FX3), Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
    Genre: Pinball
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: E 10+ for mild fantasy violence
    Price: $10.99

    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us this DLC to review!

    Pinball FX2 came out in the Spring of 2013 and has been offering various DLC tables based on popular superheroes, TV shows, and movies.  The tables can be bought individually, in packs, or as a bundle for a discount.  Picking up the DLC tables on a Steam sale is the most cost efficient way of expanding this free to play game. Though the game is free to install, the tables have a limited amount of play time before requiring you to purchase them.  The most recent DLC features three of Bethesda’s popular games: DOOM, Fallout, and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

    The price is a bit steep at $10.99, but the tables are complex and incredibly detailed.  Each of the tables captures the look and feel of the game they represent and goes beyond keeping the ball in play by offering side quests as well as main quests to complete.  The Skyrim table lets you save and continue the progress made with your character while the DOOM and Fallout tables have you start fresh each time.  The Fallout table lets you specify your character’s gender and gives you the option to individually setup their stats or randomize them.  The DOOM table gives you two difficulty levels: “Hurt Me Plenty” and “Nightmare”.

    There’s a built in guide to tell you how to score lots of points in each table which is automatically compared to those of your Steam friends and shared to a global leaderboard.  I found it encouraging to be notified in-game when I blew past a friend’s score.  Steam Cloud saves are utilized so your Skyrim character can travel between systems with you.

    Pinball FX2 Bethesda Pinball
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Amazing tables that capture the essence of the games they represent with spot on visuals, voice acting, and background music
    Weak Points: Pricey
    Moral Warnings: References to Hell and demons; violence; healing magic

    Though the tables are in 3D, I must confess that they feel very flat to me since I’ve been spoiled by the re-done virtual reality tables.  I cannot wait to see these tables get the VR makeover.  The visuals are still stunning in this version though.  The 3D modeled demons, dragons, and characters look great.  There are various dragons and bosses that look menacing and their fire effects are pretty good.  

    Like all of the pinball tables, you can trigger ball saves, multiple balls, and extra lives by completing various objectives and mini-games.  In Skyrim and Fallout, you can join different guilds or factions and complete side-quests for extra points and experience.  The DOOM table has various missions to accept as well.  

    If you trigger the main quest in the Skyrim table, you’ll be awarded a million points for trying to defeat the boss dragon, Alduin.  Naturally, the Skyrim theme song plays in the background and gets your adrenaline pumping.  Alduin is much harder to defeat in comparison to the lesser dragons you can battle.  DOOM’s heavy metal background music and demon battles are pretty intense too.

    Pinball FX2 Bethesda Pinball
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 90%
    Gameplay - 17/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 9/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 84%
    Violence - 7/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 5/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

     

    If you get injured in battle, you can visit an inn at the Skyrim table and shops are available to buy and sell equipment in the Fallout and Skyrim tables.  As your ball travels around the desolated and irradiated world of Fallout, you can explore various vaults to complete missions and collect Nuka Cola caps.  There are bobbleheads to be found too.

    All of the tables have battle sequences and violent moments.  Since all of the damage is mostly done via pinball smacks, there’s not any blood to worry about.  I didn’t notice any bad language other than the Hell references in DOOM.

    Fans of pinball and of the Bethesda games represented in this collection will find a lot to like in these tables.  While this DLC was the only one not on sale during the Steam Holiday Sale, it’s worth adding to your wish list to be notified when it does.   The $10.99 price tag is steep, but it’s also justified by the high quality and attention to detail that these tables offer.  I enjoyed revisiting these games in pinball format.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Update---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Switch version of Pinball FX3: Bethesda Pinball looks and runs great.  The rumble effects are more noticeable than the Xbox One Controller I was using on my PC.  There were some loading screens, but they were not that long.  The ability to have the pinball table vertical instead of horizontal is a nice feature but it’s not as comfortable as the horizontal mode.  The biggest advantage of the vertical positioning is that you can see more of the pinball table.  One big tradeoff is that the controls are a little more confusing and less responsive  in the vertical orientation. The triggers seem to be more accurate than the joycon buttons.  The tables are incredibly detailed, though you won’t see most of it in the portable mode due to the small screen.  The font will take some more effort to read for aging gamers as well.  Both of these issues can be remedied by playing docked and on a big screen though.  If you like playing games on the go and pinball, the Switch version of Pinball FX3: Bethesda Pinball has you covered.

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Pinball FX2 VR
    Developed By: Zen Studios
    published By: Zen Studios
    Release Date: March 28, 2016
    Available on: Oculus Rift, PC, Xbox One
    Genre: Arcade
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: Everyone (Mild fantasy violence)
    Price: $14.99

    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us this game to review!

    Zen Studios has been making fun pinball games for nearly a decade.  Their simulated pinball games have been released on popular gaming consoles including the Nintendo DS/3DS, Wii U, Microsoft Xbox 360/One, Sony PS3/PS4/Vita. Even Android and iOS based devices have their titles available for purchase.  While many of the pinball games have tables based on popular TV shows, movies, and video games, Pinball FX2 VR’s three tables are original designs.

    As of this writing, there doesn’t appear to be any way to buy or add more tables to this game.  Many of the previous games were known for the vast amount of paid for DLC.  Owners of the standard version of Pinball FX2 will recognize the three tables in this game, though they have been enhanced dramatically.  

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Awesome VR experience that is very immersive
    Weak Points: Only three tables; some system lag when dealing with multiple balls
    Moral Warnings: Some insinuated violence

    When you select a table to play, the scenery all around you will change to match the table’s theme.  The first table I played was Secrets of the Deep which is an ocean themed pinball table.  The game room was immediately transformed to appear underwater and schools of fish, jellyfish and sharks can be seen swimming all around you.  Just like playing a real pinball game, this title is best experienced standing up.  Once my eyes adjusted to the new perspective, I was very immersed into the gameplay and jumped back the first time a shark swam across the table! 

    I understood the basic concepts of pinball by hitting the triggers on my Xbox One controller to make the flippers move and to try and keep the ball in play as long as possible.   What I didn’t expect was the depth of the gameplay in each of these three tables.  Each of them have well written guides on how to trigger and complete the various missions and quests.  By completing the missions, you can unlock multiple ball modes to earn some serious points.  On the leaderboards you can compare your score amongst your friends and/or worldwide.  

    Pinball FX2 VR
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 82%
    Gameplay - 17/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 6/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 94%
    Violence - 7/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    The most sophisticated table is Epic Quest which has you adventuring and searching for loots in abundance.   There’s a princess to save and plenty of monsters to fight.  To attack, dodge, and counter-attack you have to shoot the ball up the shield or sword ramps. While the table sported a lot of lights and bling, the background atmosphere was the least impressive of the bunch.

     Compared to the Epic Quest table, Mars looks pretty sparse.  As spaceships, probes, and satellites land on it during gameplay, it fills up nicely.  The background solar flares and floating asteroids are pretty neat.  Sadly, the satellite scanning sound effect got annoying after a while and I was thankful when that mission completed. Then rest of the sound effects were decent, though the music tracks looped a lot.  I did like how the background music became more intense during quest or battle sequences.  Each of the tables have a few achievements that can be unlocked for completing certain quests or feats.

    Though there is some fantasy violence and greed, Pinball FX2 VR is safe for pinball lovers of all ages to enjoy.  The price tag is a reasonable $14.99 and is sure to bring you hours of entertainment.   Especially if you’re competitive and seek to be the top pinball player amongst your friends...or the world!  

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Pinball FX2 VR The Walking Dead
    Developed by: Zen Studios
    Published by: Zen Studios
    Available on: Oculus Rift, PSVR
    Release date: November 29, 2016
    Number of players: Single-player
    Genre: Pinball
    ESRB Rating: Not rated
    Price: $6.99

    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us review codes for Pinball FX2 VR, Season One DLC, and The Walking Dead.

    We have already reviewed Pinball FX2 VR  and the Season One DLC for the Oculus Rift.  Between the two versions, the Oculus Rift version is much more polished in looks and performance.  The first couple times I launched the game I didn’t let the intro finish before pressing the X button and I was greeted with a stalled game as a result.  If I let the intro do its thing it worked just fine.

    The visuals are also much more crisp and detailed on the Oculus version.  We’re still using a regular PS4 so I’m not sure if this game is optimized for or benefits from using a PS4 Pro.  Other than those nitpicks Pinball FX2 VR is still a fun experience and worth checking out if you own a PSVR.

    Since we already covered the other tables in our previous reviews I’ll focus on the new Walking Dead Table.  This DLC table exceeds the average table price of $5 by selling for $6.99 on the PlayStation Store and for $5.99 on Steam.  Though the price is steep, this is a pretty in-depth table that has a thirty-four-page walkthrough on Zen Studios’ website.  

    Pinball FX2 VR The Walking Dead
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Very complex pinball table that pays great tribute to The Walking Dead series
    Weak Points: More expensive than other VR tables
    Moral Warnings: Zombies and insinuated violence

    The atmosphere is great with a zombie to the right of the table and Clementine on the opposite side.  Occasionally arms will reach out from the top of the pinball table.  With the zombie sounds, attacks, and chilling atmosphere you’ll be on guard throughout the experience.

    It’s not all bad though as one of the goals in the table is to make Clementine smile and give her a glimpse of a normal childhood by playing soccer with her.  In this mode the pinball turns into a soccer ball and Lee and Clementine are seen playing soccer together at the bottom of the pinball table. 

    Like the popular Telltale Series, there are five episodic mini-games that you can trigger by hitting the ball in the proper places.  Many of the episode modes are timed and require you scoring a certain number of points or triggering certain areas with the ball within the time limit.  

    Pinball FX2 VR The Walking Dead
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 82%
    Gameplay - 17/20
    Graphics - 7/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 4/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 88%
    Violence - 7/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Throughout the episodes you’ll be asked to make choices and you can make your selections using the flippers and launch button.  One of the mini-games changed the game to a shooting gallery.  In this mode you have to avoid hitting the humans while shooting the zombies.  Both your time and ammunition is limited so be sure not to waste any time or bullets!

    Compared to the adventure game, the violence is very tame and no blood or gore is shown.  The zombies look and sound gruesome though.  This table is sure to frighten younger children so be sure to let them play the tamer tables instead of this one.  The voice acting is the same as the original game and sounds great.   The Telltale game had significant language, but I didn’t notice any in this title.  

    If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead series or of the original Pinball FX2 rendition of this table, then it’s worth looking into.  The price is a little steep, but there’s plenty to do.  It’s definitely worth picking up if it goes on sale.  

  •  

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Pinball FX2 VR Universal Classics
    Developed by: Zen Studios
    Published by: Zen Studios
    Release date: June 26, 2018
    Available on: Gear VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Go, Oculus Rift
    Genre: Pinball
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: E10+ for fantasy violence and mild language
    Price: $19.99

    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us this game to review!

    Now that Pinball FX3 has been out for a while, I’ve learned to appreciate the enhancements that it offers and miss them in the Pinball FX2 downgrade. Unlike the Pinball FX3 version, you cannot play the table challenges or against friends (other than through online leaderboards). While the VR graphics look amazing, they do carry a $10 price hike over the non-VR version.

    Seeing ET react to your moves and water splashing around with a big shark swimming in the Jaws table is pretty cool in VR. I have to admit that I flinched out of sorrow each time a massive metallic pinball fell on top of the DeLorean parked next to the Back to the Future pinball table.

    Pinball FX2 VR Universal Classics
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Great VR enhancements; nice visuals
    Weak Points: The musical scores are missing and the voice actors are noticeably different; controller detection issues; less features than Pinball FX3; $10 more than the non-VR version
    Moral Warnings: You can roll over enemies with your pinball; some language (hell, d*mn)

     

    The Universal Classics DLC has three pinball tables inspired by the classic movies Back to the Future, E.T., and Jaws. Each of these tables is well crafted and provide many minigames and eye candy to entertain you for quite some time. What is lacking from these tables are the iconic movie scores and the voice actors are noticeably different. Seriously, what is Jaws without the Da-Dum...Da-Dum...Da-Dum-Da-Dum-Da-Dum theme? The voice acting for Marty McFly is good (though he says 'hell' occasionally), but Doc Brown is a bit off. E.T.’s noises are pretty accurate and the kid actors are decent. I like how I’m called “zero charisma” for losing a ball. It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen Jaws that I can’t comment on how accurate the captain’s voice acting is, but both the captain and Doc Brown tend to say d*mn a bit.

    The tables look great and are a blast to play. I like how each of them has a nighttime mode with limited visibility. They all have the coveted multiball mode, which takes some effort to trigger. The minigames are worth activating as they can net millions of points upon completion. The E.T. table has a minigame where you have to roll the ball to collect candy while avoiding the police hats. I did lose visual of the ball once and I don’t recall that happening in the Pinball FX3 version. The Jaws table has the infamous shark swimming around and you can get a couple million points for hitting it with the pinball. The Back to the Future table launches with a random theme based on one of the movies from the trilogy. You get the original, the future, or the western themed table.
    Pinball FX2 VR Universal Classics
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 78%
    Gameplay - 16/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 6/10
    Stability - 3/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 84%
    Violence - 8/10
    Language - 7/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    I’ve had mixed luck with controllers. I prefer using my SteelSeries Bluetooth controller which worked fine for launching the game, but would often freeze up while using the flippers. After switching to the touch controllers (which worked fine) and then switching back, the SteelSeries controller worked as expected.

    Even though the audio and overall performance could have been better, I still enjoyed playing these tables. The asking price of $19.99 is a bit steep in my opinion. It is certainly worth adding to your wishlist and holding out for an inevitable Steam sale.

  •  

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Pinball FX3 - Williams™ Pinball: Volume 1
    Developed by: Zen Studios
    Published by: Zen Studios
    Release date: October 9, 2018
    Available on: PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
    Genre: Pinball
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: E10+ for fantasy violence, mild language
    Price: $9.99
    (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us this DLC pack to review!

    The WMS/Williams company has been making pinball machines since the 70s. Their machines are well known and loved by many pinball enthusiasts. Not surprisingly, Zen Studios is not the first company to digitize their classic tables. The Pinball Arcade lost their license to these iconic tables earlier this year. Since Williams has many pinball creations and this DLC pack ends with “Volume 1”, there will probably be many more masterful recreations coming from Zen Studios soon!

    Williams™ Pinball: Volume 1 is giving every Pinball FX3 owner a free table, Fish Tales. Your goal in this game is to catch the biggest fish you can. If your catch comes up short, you can stretch it or lie a little bit. The more fish you catch, the more points you score. This table is pretty generous with the scoring and I was able to get over 20 million on my first playthrough.

    Pinball FX3 - Williams™ Pinball: Volume 1
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: A free table for everyone; excellent recreations and can be toggled between remastered and classic designs
    Weak Points: Pinball purists will not like some of the art changes and cussing removal 
    Moral Warnings: An F-bomb can be heard in the Steam version if the family friendly setting is disabled; console versions are stuck in the family friendly configuration

    In The Getaway: High Speed II you must keep the ball (your car) in play as long as possible to outrun the cops chasing you. When you lose all of your balls, you’ll be asked to pull over and most likely get arrested for reckless driving. Unlike the other tables in this DLC pack, this one has three flippers and the ball turns red at times.

    In Junk Yard you must escape Crazy Bob’s Cosmic Salvage by collecting junk and building a flying jalopy. In my playthroughs I managed to collect cuckoo clocks, toasters, fans, bike tires, and fireworks. I never was able to find the hair dryer the lady keeps asking for though. I did locate a mean bulldog that I had to outrun.

    Medieval Madness requires you to defeat the king and his army in order to restore peace into the land. You’ll also have to battle trolls and a flying dragon. The catapult that actually launches cats is pretty funny. I’ve managed to trigger the multiball mode a few times and enjoy this table. With the art and language tweaks made by Zen Studios, my kids can play it now too!

    Pinball FX3 - Williams™ Pinball: Volume 1
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 88%
    Gameplay - 18/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 80%
    Violence - 8/10
    Language - 5/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7/10

    All of the tables look and sound very close to the originals. Some of the artwork has been made more family friendly by removing blood, cigars, and changing beverages to non-alcoholic variants. Females are also clothed a little more modestly too. The console versions remove a phrase containing an F-bomb, but Steam players can hear that expression if they desire to do so. By default, the tables are shown in the remastered modes with 3D characters and enhancements. By pressing the B button you can revert back to the classic look.

    Just like the other Pinball FX3 tables, the tables in this DLC support table upgrades, hot seat multiplayer, and challenge modes. The three challenge modes are 1 ball, 5 minutes, and survival mode. The goal in the one ball challenge is to get the highest score possible with only one ball. If you lose the ball while the ball save light is illuminated, the ball is still saved, but if it's off, you're done for. After the ball is lost for good, your score is added to the global leaderboards and stars are earned depending on how good of a score you received. The 5 minute challenge gives you an unlimited number of balls so you have plenty of opportunities to get a high score within the time limit. The survival mode gives you unlimited balls as well; however, if you don’t meet the score requirement in the time limit, your game will end.

    Overall, this is an excellent DLC pack and is well worth the entry fee if you enjoy Williams pinball tables. The free table Fish Tales is worth playing if you have Pinball FX3 installed on your system. Pinball FX3 is free and even better with a Williams table available for everyone to enjoy.

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    boxart
    Game Info:

    Pinball FX3 - Williams™ Pinball: Volume 2
    Developed by: Zen Studios
    Published by: Zen Studios
    Release date: December 4, 2018
    Available on: PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
    Genre: Pinball
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: E 10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language
    Price: $9.99

    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us this game to review!

    We previously reviewed Pinball FX3 - Williams™ Pinball: Volume 1 on the Switch. While the Volume 1 collection focused on Williams tables, Volume 2 has Bally/Midway tables that came out in the 90s after Williams acquired them. Here’s a quick breakdown of each of the 3 tables:

    Black Rose: This table was released in 1992 and sold 3,746 units. In this pirate-themed table, your goal is to sink ships by illuminating the words ”sink ship”. Once that’s done, you can take control of a cannon and aim for the broadside of the enemy’s ship. Another mini-game is “Walk the plank” where you have to mash the A button to swim fast enough to land before being eaten by a shark. I have yet to avoid being eaten. There are three flippers, ramps, and stand up targets to keep things interesting. Multiball with 3 balls is fairly easy to trigger and can earn you a good amount of points in the process.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Neat re-creations of the physical versions with optional 3D animated enhancements
    Weak Points: The sounds are a bit crackly but probably sound authentic
    Moral Warnings: An optional family mode disables any foul language present in these tables; sexual innuendo

    If you’re looking for a high score, then the Attack From Mars table is for you. By merely launching the ball, you can get 30 million points. This table from 1995 gives out points like no tomorrow! Your goal in this table is to destroy as many UFOs as possible before they annihilate highly-populated cities. If you can save all of the cities, your final confrontation will take place on Mars. 3,450 of these pinball machines were produced, and this table features 2 flippers and ramps. If you can trigger a multiball, 4 will be at your disposal. It’s not too difficult to get a score in the billions with this table.

    The Party Zone was released in 1991 and features Captain B. Zarr as your host to this wacky party-themed pinball table. There are dance-offs and you can change the background music. I ignored the song ‘Safe Sax’ in favor of ‘Pinball Wizard’. If you blast through the O-Zone you can score a good number of points. The 2-ball multiball is a bit lacking, but the personality of this table makes up for that.

    All of the tables look and sound very close to the originals. I like how the game asks if you want the uncensored or family-friendly sound effects. Even without the family-friendly filter enabled, I didn’t notice any foul language. By default, the tables are shown in the remastered modes with animated 3D characters and enhancements. By pressing the B button, you can revert back to the classic look.

    Pinball FX3 - Williams™ Pinball: Volume 2
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 86%
    Gameplay - 18/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 7/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 92%
    Violence - 8/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 8/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Just like the other Pinball FX3 tables, the tables in this DLC support table upgrades, hot seat multiplayer, and challenge modes. The three challenge modes are 1 ball, 5 minutes, and survival mode. The goal in the one-ball challenge is to get the highest score possible with only one ball. If you lose the ball while the ball save light is illuminated, the ball is still saved, but if it's off, you're done for. After the ball is lost for good, your score is added to the global leaderboards and stars are earned depending upon how good of a score you received. The 5-minute challenge gives you an unlimited number of balls so you have plenty of opportunities to get a high score within the time limit. The survival mode gives you unlimited balls as well; however, if you don’t meet the score requirement in the time limit, your game will end.

    Although I’m familiar with the original tables, from what I’ve seen on YouTube and from images, these digital recreations are amazing. I do prefer the 3D animated enhancements, but I’ve never claimed to be a pinball purist. The sound effects are a little scratchy, but that’s probably how they sound in real life. I have no other complaints. If you’re a fan of Bally tables, then this collection is worth picking up.

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    boxart
    Game Info:

    Star Wars Pinball: The Last Jedi
    Developed by: Zen Studios
    Published by: Zen Studios
    Release date: April 17, 2018
    Available on: Android, iOS, macOS, PS4, Windows, Xbox One
    Genre: Pinball
    Number of players: Up to two in hot seat mode
    ESRB Rating: E 10+ for mild language and fantasy violence
    Price: $6.99

    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us this DLC to review!

    Star Wars Pinball: The Last Jedi offers two more tables to add to your growing collection. As the title suggests, they are themed after the latest film (as of this review), The Last Jedi. The asking price is a reasonable $6.99 and each table offers plenty of challenges to keep you coming back for more in hopes of getting a higher score and ranking on the global leaderboards. Your Steam friends will also see your standings compared to their scores.

    The first table is Ahch-To Island where Rey tries to convince the secluded Luke Skywalker to train her to become a Jedi. Along with Rey’s plight, you can also play as Chewbacca as he decides whether or not to eat an adorable Porg for dinner. Last but not least, is Luke’s mode which has a fishing mini-game. The voice clips are recognizable from the movie, but John William’s score is noticeably absent.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Fun tables and challenges to keep me improving upon my high scores
    Weak Points: No John Williams music 
    Moral Warnings: Spaceship and gun violence; mild language (hell)

    R2D2 launches the ball and there are a couple of porgs and other aliens nearby as well. Out of the two tables, this one isn’t as flashy and focuses more on the characters than eye candy. There are plenty of opportunities to earn points and to keep the ball in play with the five controllable flippers. The bumpers are not as easily accessible, but they’re there. Since they’re out of the way, you may want to consider a different upgrade than the bumpers for this table.

    Like all other Pinball FX3 tables, both of the tables in this DLC support table upgrades, hot seat muliplayer, and challenge modes. The three challenge modes are 1 ball, 5 minutes, and survival mode. The goal in the one ball challenge is to get the highest score possible with only one ball. If you lose the ball while the ball save light is illuminated, the ball is still saved, but if it's off, you're done for. After the ball is lost for good, your score is added to the global leaderboards and stars are earned depending on how good of a score you received. The 5 minute challenge gives you an unlimited number of balls so you have plenty of opportunities to get a high score within the time limit. The survival mode gives you unlimited balls as well; however, if you don’t meet the score requirement in the time limit, your game will end.

    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 88%
    Gameplay - 18/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 7/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 86%
    Violence - 8/10
    Language - 8/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    The other table, The Last Jedi has a lot going on with its seven controllable flippers, bumpers in the middle, and lots of game modes based on scenes from the movie. My favorite scene to do is Ground Attack which unleashes about a dozen balls into play. This does wonders for your score. Sadly, you can only play through a scene once per game. I haven’t been able to endure all of the episodes in one gaming session so this hasn’t been an issue for me.

    Even with all the balls in play, I didn’t notice any stuttering which is great. The visuals are nice in both tables though I have to give the nod to the Last Jedi one for having more eye candy in it. The voice acting is good in both of the tables and I recognized many of the lines used throughout the movie. One of the quotes has the word hell in it.

    If you enjoy the latest Star War films and pinball, then this DLC pack is a no brainer. Though the $6.99 price is reasonable, the price is sure to drop on an eventual Steam sale if you’re not in a rush. Who knows what the leaderboards will look like by then. All I know is that I’m not much of a threat to anyone.

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    boxart
    Game Info:

    Pinball FX3 – Williams Pinball Volume 3
    Developed by: Zen Studios
    Published by: Zen Studios
    Release date: March 19, 2019
    Available on: Android, iOS, macOS, PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
    Genre: Pinball
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: E 10+ for fantasy violence, mild language
    Price: $9.99


    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us this DLC to review!

    So far we have reviewed and enjoyed Zen Studio’s recreations of the Bally/Williams pinball tables. Volume 4 will be releasing soon so we’re looking forward to that collection as well. Volume three has some interesting choices and here’s a breakdown of the three tables available in this DLC:

    Out of the three tables, The Theatre of Magic is probably my favorite. This table was released in 1995 and sold 6600 units. It’s very generous on the scoring and it’s not too difficult to accumulate several hundred million points. There are four ramps and the game tells you which ones to aim for to perform various magical illusions. If you get three balls locked away in the magic trunk, you’ll trigger a 4-ball multi-ball event which can lead to some serious points. I like how the balls glow pink and the female magician animated with the visual enhancements enabled.

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Nice re-creations of the physical versions with optional 3D animated enhancements
    Weak Points: Only one successful table featured in this collection
    Moral Warnings: The Theatre of Magic Table features magical illusions and spirit cards; boxing/sports violence

    The Champion Pub was released in 1998 and only manufactured 1,369 units. This table focuses more on fighting than drinking. Some of the mini-games include training by having your ball jump rope or moving a spittoon around to collect spit from the patrons. If you move your ball right you can trigger a fight with different boxers. Winning will be determined by how accurately you can hit the boxer in the middle of the table. Multi-ball events are called Maulti-Brawl and you can get up to four balls in the game.

    Safe Cracker is my least favorite table in the pack. This table was produced in 1996 and sold 1,148 units.  Your goal in this table is to crack a safe and get away without alerting the security guards, dogs, and police.   There are references to donuts for the security guards, so real-life ones may take offense to this table.  The scoring is conservative compared to the other two pinball tables in this collection.  The multi-ball event only releases three balls.

    Pinball FX3 – Williams Pinball Volume 3
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 86%
    Gameplay - 17/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 86%
    Violence - 8/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 8/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    All of the tables look and sound very close to the originals. I like how the game asks if you want the uncensored or family-friendly sound effects. Even without the family-friendly filter enabled, I didn’t notice any foul language. By default, the tables are shown in the remastered modes with animated 3D characters and enhancements. By pressing the B button, you can revert back to the classic look.

    Just like the other Pinball FX3 tables, this DLC supports table upgrades, hot seat multiplayer, and challenge modes. The three challenge modes are 1 ball, 5 minutes, and survival mode. The goal in the one-ball challenge is to get the highest score possible with only one ball. If you lose the ball while the ball save light is illuminated, the ball is still saved, but if it's off, you're done for. After the ball is lost for good, your score is added to the global leaderboards and stars are earned depending upon how good of a score you received. The 5-minute challenge gives you an unlimited number of balls so you have plenty of opportunities to get a high score within the time limit. The survival mode gives you unlimited balls as well; however, if you don’t meet the score requirement in the time limit, your game will end.

    Although I’m familiar with the original tables, from what I’ve seen on YouTube and from images, these digital recreations are amazing. I do prefer the 3D animated enhancements, but I’ve never claimed to be a pinball purist. If you’re a fan of Bally tables, then this collection is worth picking up.

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Pinball FX3
    Developed by: Zen Studios
    Published by: Zen Studios
    Release date: December 12, 2017
    Available on: PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
    Genre: Pinball
    Number of players: Up to four
    ESRB rating: E 10+ for fantasy violence and mild language
    Price: Free with DLC table purchases

    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us review codes for the Switch version of the game and the recently released Carnivals and Legends tables!

    We recently reviewed Pinball FX3 on PC when it came out in the fall. Despite a minor setback in the Switch version’s release, it was certainly worth the wait for the portable pinball experience. During the Switch version’s December launch week, everyone who owned the free Pinball FX3 base game could grab the Carnivals and Legends DLC tables for free. Now that the deal is expired it’s now available for $6.99. I’m happy to own these tables on Switch, but I wish I knew about this earlier so I could have grabbed it for PC as well.

    Pinball FX3 is the successor to the previously free and popular FX2. Though FX2 was never available for the Switch, FX3 has some nifty Switch exclusive features including rumble and vertical screen mode. Hot seat mode is still available which allows up to four players to take turns after each ball is lost. Every table now has challenge modes added to them which spruces up single player gameplay quite a bit. Tournaments and matchmaking are easier to set up and there’s a helpful female guide to teach you the basics on how to use Pinball FX3. Learning how to trap and pass the ball between flippers is a handy skill to learn so pay attention to the guide!

    The three challenge modes are 1 ball, 5 minutes, and survival mode. The goal in the one ball challenge is to get the highest score possible with only one ball. If you lose the ball while the ball save light is illuminated, that still counts. After the ball is lost for good, your score is added to the global leaderboards and stars are earned depending on how good of a score you received. The 5 minute challenge give you an unlimited number of balls so you have plenty of opportunities to get a high score within the time limit. The survival mode gives you unlimited balls as well; however, if you don’t meet the score requirement in the time limit, your game will end.

    Pinball FX3
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Pinball on the go; vertical mode; rumble support
    Weak Points: Although I witnessed some stuttering this game ran well for the most part; the vertical mode is neat but uncomfortable and harder to navigate
    Moral Warnings: Fantasy violence as Hercules must defeat several mythical foes; Hercules is called a b*stard by Hera; besides Greek gods, there are references to ghosts and magic use

    Pinball FX3 does come with one free table, Sorcerer’s Lair. This highly detailed table has four flippers to control and several mini-game areas to explore. You may be tasked with solving a gear puzzle or hitting spiders with your ball. Throughout the table, you may come across gates to the void that need to be closed or ghosts that need to be vanquished. As the title suggests there is some magic used in this table.

    I like how every table in FX3 has a built in guide that explains how to access and clear the various mini-games. They also explain how to access the coveted multi-ball modes that rack up serious points for shooting your name higher and higher up the global leaderboards. You can also see where you rank among your friends and it’s quite humbling to find out that I won’t be threatening their rankings anytime soon.

    While the Son of Zeus table doesn’t have as much flair as Adventure Land, it certainly does have a good amount of mini-games to tackle with all of the challenges Hera throws at Hercules. To prove his divine origins he must cross through a volcano, survive a massive storm, defeat Cerberus, a massive snake, Hydra, avoid Medusa’s gaze, and slay all of the Stymphalian (man eating) birds. Once Hercules clears all of these tasks, he must do so again simultaneously. While completing these trials Hera will taunt Hercules and call him a b*stard.

    Pinball FX3
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 86%
    Gameplay - 18/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 4/5
    Controls - 4/5

    Morality Score - 82%
    Violence - 8/10
    Language - 7/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 6/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    Adventure Land is a family friendly carnival themed table that has a lot of detail and mini-games inside of it. I like the roller coaster zooming along the table as you are playing on it. There are plenty of opportunities to unlock various mini-games by spelling out words like "line", "twin loop", and "tire less". If you play your cards right, you can unlock up to four balls to control at once!

    The visuals are nice and I like the detail in all of these tables. Though I did experience some temporary slowdowns, it did run reasonably well on the Switch. My more powerful PC even slows down occasionally running FX3. I like the option to play vertically though it has its downfalls in that mode. The menus are significantly harder to navigate and the controls are less comfortable. The rumble feature is a nice touch though.

    Since the base game is free to play it’s worth checking out. As of this review there are thirty tables available for purchase with many more coming in the near future. If you’re a fan of pinball games you should consider adding this game to your Switch library if the magic use, ghosts, and language don’t bother you.

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    boxart
    Game Info:

    Pinball FX3 Star Wars Solo Pack
    Developed by: Zen Studios
    Published by: Zen Studios
    Release Date: September 12, 2018
    Available on: PS4, Windows, Xbox One
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: E 10+ for mild language and fantasy violence
    Price: $9.99

    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us a review code!

    My family and I really enjoyed Solo: A Star Wars Story and you can read our review of the Blu-ray here. I have also enjoyed Zen Studio’s other Star Wars themed pinball tables and the Star Wars Solo Pack does not disappoint. Included in this $9.99 DLC pack are three tables featuring Han, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian.

    In the Solo table you get to re-enact pinball style Han’s first meetings with Chewbacca, Beckett, and Lando Calrissian. When launching the ball, the skill shot requires you to trigger the upper right hand side flipper to send the ball to the other side of the table. Han and Chewy will stow away some wayward balls to hopefully trigger a multi-ball event. Besides smuggling balls, you can drive the Millennium Falcon and see if you can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs like Han did!

    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Great collection of tables
    Weak Points: Inconsistent voice acting
    Moral Warnings: Some ship and gun fighting take place on the pinball table; gambling references

    The Calrissian Chronicles table is sleek and oozes charm much like the person it’s inspired after. I didn’t get all of the references since I’m not familiar with the TV and comic series it’s based on. Though L3-37 is mentioned, she’s nowhere to be seen or heard on this table. There are some exchanges between Han and Lando and they revolve around Sabaac and the Millennium Falcon. The prized ship is known for its hidden compartments and they’re used for storing balls needed during the multi-ball event.

    The Battle of Mimban is the grittiest table as war is never pretty. There’s a lot of action on the frontlines and on this table! You’ll have to order and train troops and defend your territory from waves of attackers. The big AT-ST at the base of your table means business!

    Like the movies, combat and spaceship violence is a given. There are some gambling references as well. Though language is mentioned in the ESRB description, I don’t recall hearing anything bad. There are some voice clips from the movie, but you can easily tell which lines were added in by Zen Studios.

    Pinball FX3 Star Wars Solo Pack
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 86%
    Gameplay - 18/20
    Graphics - 8/10
    Sound - 7/10
    Stability - 5/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 84%
    Violence - 7/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

    Just like the other Pinball FX3 tables, the tables in this DLC support table upgrades, hot seat multiplayer, and challenge modes. The three challenge modes are 1 ball, 5 minutes, and survival mode. The goal in the one ball challenge is to get the highest score possible with only one ball. If you lose the ball while the ball save light is illuminated, the ball is still saved, but if it's off, you're done for. After the ball is lost for good, your score is added to the global leaderboards and stars are earned depending on how good of a score you received. The 5 minute challenge gives you an unlimited number of balls so you have plenty of opportunities to get a high score within the time limit. The survival mode gives you unlimited balls as well; however, if you don’t meet the score requirement in the time limit, your game will end.

    These tables both look and run well. I haven’t experienced any slowdowns or crashes while playing them. I love the attention to detail and different game modes that each table offers. There’s a lot of variety and lots of fun to be had. Not only do I enjoy improving upon my scores, I like to work my way up the worldwide leaderboards too. Don’t worry though, I’m not that much of a threat…yet.

  • boxart
    Game Info:

    Pinball FX3 Universal Classics
    Developed by: Zen Studios
    Published by: Zen Studios
    Release date: September 26, 2017
    Available on: PS4, Windows, Xbox One
    Genre: Pinball
    Number of players: Up to four
    ESRB Rating: E 10+ for fantasy violence and mild language
    Price: $9.99

    Thank you Zen Studios for sending us this game to review!

    Pinball FX3 is the successor to the previously free and popular FX2. If you haven’t downloaded FX2 on Steam yet, you’re out of luck because it has been pulled along with all of its DLC content. On a positive note, many of the DLC tables are imported into FX3 free of charge. Hot seat mode is still available which allows up to four players to take turns after each ball is lost. Every table now has challenge modes added to them which spruces up single player gameplay quite a bit. Tournaments and matchmaking are easier to set up and there’s a helpful female guide to teach you the basics on how to use Pinball FX3.

    The three challenge modes are 1 ball, 5 minutes, and survival mode. The goal in the one ball challenge is to get the highest score possible with only one ball. If you lose the ball while the ball save light is illuminated, that still counts. After the ball is lost for good, your score is added to the global leaderboards and stars are earned depending on how good of a score you received. The 5 minute challenge give you an unlimited number of balls so you have plenty of opportunities to get a high score within the time limit. The survival mode gives you unlimited balls as well; however, if you don’t meet the score requirement in the time limit, your game will end.

    Pinball FX3 Universal Classics
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: New challenge modes and well-designed tables
    Weak Points: The musical scores are missing and the voice actors are noticeably different; graphical stuttering
    Moral Warnings: You can roll over enemies with your pinball; some language (hell, d*mn)

    Pinball FX3 does come with one free table, Sorcerer’s Lair. Launching alongside FX3 is the Universal Classics DLC pack. This DLC has three pinball tables inspired by classic movies like Back to the Future, E.T., and Jaws. Each of these tables is well crafted and provides many mini-games and eye candy to entertain you for quite some time. What is lacking from these tables are the iconic movie scores and the voice actors are noticeably different. Seriously, what is Jaws without the Da-Dum...Da-Dum...Da-Dum-Da-Dum-Da-Dum theme? The voice acting for Marty McFly is good (though he says hell occasionally), but Doc Brown is a bit off. E.T.’s noises are pretty accurate and the kid actors are decent. I like how I’m called “zero charisma” for losing a ball. It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen Jaws that I can’t comment on how accurate the captain’s voice acting is, but both the captain and Doc Brown tend to say d*mn a bit.

    The disappointment continues in the visual realm as well as my i7 desktop with 16GB of RAM and a 4GB 290X stuttered occasionally. I’ve seen stuttering in VR pinball, but the regular version of Pinball FX2 ran much smoother. Hopefully Pinball FX3 will get some optimization patches in the near future.

    Pinball FX3 Universal Classics
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 84%
    Gameplay - 18/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 6/10
    Stability - 4/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 84%
    Violence - 8/10
    Language - 7/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

    The tables look great and are a blast to play, especially in the new challenge modes. I like how each of them has a nighttime mode with limited visibility. They all have the coveted multiball mode, which takes some effort to trigger. The minigames are worth activating as they can net millions of points upon completion. The E.T. table has a mini game where you have to roll the ball to collect candy while avoiding the police hats. The Jaws table has the infamous shark swimming around and you can get a couple million points for hitting it with the pinball. The Back to the Future table launches with a random theme based on one of the movies from the trilogy. You get the original, the future, or the western themed table.

    Even though the audio and overall performance could have been better, I still enjoyed playing these tables. The asking price of $9.99 is reasonable and worth picking up if you don’t mind the mild language. I look forward to more high quality and family friendly tables for Pinball FX3!


  • This game was on display at my local Circuit City and I must confess, I got hooked on it right then and there. I like the \'pick up and play factor\' of this game. Unlike other Pokemon titles, this is not an RPG, but a pinball game. Your goal is to capture Pokemon, get a high score, and have fun!

    Game play

    The game play is an enhanced version of pinball. When you start the game you can choose between two tables: Ruby or Sapphire. Both tables have similar designs, such as: ? A Pokemart ? Pond full of pokemon ? Travel bonus ? An egg to hatch ? A big fish to catch and spit your ball out

    Getting points and Pokemon

    The Pokemart allows you to buy ball saver times in increments of 30 seconds. This feature helps make the most out of your limited balls. If you lose the ball when the Ball Saver is lit, a bird comes by and picks it out for you. You can also buy a ball upgrade or an extra ball. Bonus rounds and Pikka are on sale there too. Finally the Pokemart is the place to start the evolution process for your captured Pokemon. Once you choose your Pokemon to upgrade you have to hit three \'evos\' scattered around the pinball table to evolve them. There are a couple of ways to catch Pokemon. You can hatch an egg or wait for a big fish to capture your ball for you. In both cases you have to hit the moving creature a few times with the ball. Once you have caught three Pokemon you are eligible for a bonus level.

    You can rack up serious points on bonus levels. The Ruby level has a bonus level with a chameleon, where you knock packages out of a tree. The Sapphire level has a graveyard where you pick off ghosts and defeat the boss at the end. Another way to score some points is to travel. You have to hit the left side of the table three times to get the travel option. Once activated you have to get the ball up a ramp, and once that is done, you get a new picture to look at. It\'s nothing special but it does add to your score a bit. If you?re buying this game because you love Pokemon you will not be disappointed. There is a Pokedex of all the critters you have captured. You can beam them to your friends, too. Since there is no multiplayer available for this game this will have to suffice. I just play this game for the pinball.

    Graphics

    The graphics are pretty good considering it?s a GameBoy Advance game. The Pokemon creatures are nicely detailed and the table layout is nice. Some of the ramps are a little tricky to get to but that just makes it a tad more challenging. Overall this is a pretty nice looking pinball game.

    Sound

    The background music and sound effects are pleasant to listen to. Some of the creatures have cute noises like the Pikachu, Chameleon and ghosts. No complaints in this department.

    Appropriate?

    As for appropriateness, I realize that some people are against the Pokemon game series. (http://www.bible.com/answers/apokemon.html) Other than the monster evolution factor, I find this game harmless.

    Final thoughts

    If you like Pokemon or just enjoy pinball I would recommend taking a look at this game. Pokemon fans will enjoy swapping out monsters while pinball fanatics will enjoy the pinball action and eye candy.

    Final Ratings

    Game Play B+ Sound B+ Graphics A Interface A Appropriate B

    Overall 88%

  •  

    boxart
    Game Info:

    Yoku’s Island Express
    Developed by: Villa Gorilla
    Published by: Team17
    Release date: May 29, 2018
    Available on: PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
    Genre: Pinball, Platformer
    Number of players: Single-player
    ESRB Rating: E10+ for Animated Blood, Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence
    Price: $29.99
    (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    Thank you Team17 for sending us this game to review!

    Yoku is a dung beetle headed to Mokumana Island to become their new postmaster. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes before his arrival as their deity, Mokumana, is attacked and it’s up to Yoku to rally the three island chiefs to save it.

    A dung beetle is an interesting choice for a starring character. Thankfully, most of the time Yoku is rolling around a white pinball. Later on in the game, you can change its color. Though you can move left and right to explore the island, most of the movement in this game is done pinball-style!

    Combining platforming and pinball genres is rather different, but fun. There are also some Metroid-like elements so you can throw Metroidvania into the genre mashup as well. Granted, I prefer having more control of my character like traditional platformers, but I enjoy the pinball aspects quite a bit too. The hand painted levels are very detailed and can be daunting at times when realizing that getting from point A to point B will require a lot of pinball action. Scattered around the levels are several telescopes to give you a broader view of the island to see how close you are to your next objective.

    Yoku’s Island Express
    Highlights:

    Strong Points: Fun mashup of pinball and platformer genres; colorful hand-painted visuals
    Weak Points: Unlike traditional platformers you don’t have complete control over Yoku unless you’re good at pinball or physics
    Moral Warnings: Cartoon violence; slugs explode; yellow blood; potty humor (the main character is a dung beetle)

    Like most platformers, you’ll need to collect stuff. Fruit is the collectible currency on this island. You’ll need to use fruit to unlock bumpers required to access new areas. Sometimes fruit is on the ground waiting to be picked up, but you’ll earn a lot more as you knock it loose in pinball areas. By putting mail in red mailboxes you’ll earn some fruit that way too. Wallet upgrades are worth seeking out as they allow you to carry more fruit at a time. Some of the bumpers cost eighty pieces of fruit to unlock and the beelines that allow you to quickly traverse the island cost one hundred pieces of fruit to activate them. Along with fruit, there are eighty wickerlings to collect during your journey.

    The controls are pretty simple as the left trigger activates the blue flipper and the right trigger moves the yellow flipper. Some bumpers require both triggers to be pressed, but you won’t want to press both triggers all of the time. Many of the pinball sections have locked bumpers that require collecting purple orb-like keys to make them accessible. Other obstacles include boulders that can only be removed by vacuuming up explosive slugs and using them against the giant rocks.

    Yoku’s Island Express
    Score Breakdown:
    Higher is better
    (10/10 is perfect)

    Game Score - 84%
    Gameplay - 16/20
    Graphics - 9/10
    Sound - 8/10
    Stability - 4/5
    Controls - 5/5

    Morality Score - 78%
    Violence - 6/10
    Language - 10/10
    Sexual Content - 10/10
    Occult/Supernatural - 5/10
    Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

    Along your journey, Yoku will befriend some helpful allies. Kickback the Bee will block some thorny plants and prevent Yoku from getting injured and losing fruit from them. The Dive Fish allows Yoku to go underwater. In the beginning of the game, Yoku gets a party horn that’s useful for waking up slumbering characters and opening up flowers/checkpoints.

    There is some cartoon violence as slugs explode and Yoku has to suck them up with his vacuum tool. In the beginning of the game there’s a giant eel-like creature that demands a toll of a mushroom. Yoku can give the eel a normal mushroom or a poisonous one that knocks it out. There are some boss battles and they’re handled pinball-style.

    Yoku’s Island Express is a silly mashup that works surprisingly well. Because of the lack of control, I only enjoyed this game in small spurts. The game can be completed in six to eight hours depending on how good you are at pinball. If you enjoy platformers, Metroid, and pinball games, Yoku’s Island Express is worth checking out. If you’re still on the fence, there’s a demo available. This is an impressive first entry from Villa Gorilla and I look forward to more titles from them.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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