Developer: Game Stew
Price: $2 / £2
Size: 58 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Pinball has always sent you on an adventure of the imagination, whether through a tacky film tie-in or a fantastical theme dreamt up by the table’s creator.
You might simply be flipping a ball bearing into bumpers and activating slot machines, but it’s always under the improbable premise of vanquishing a foe or saving the world.
Adventure Pinball makes that imaginative leap a little easier for you. Its assorted tables all take on the guise of interlinked dungeons in some long lost 8-bit fantasy RPG.
You’re still bashing those bumpers and activating those slot machines. But here the bumpers are grinning skull monsters, and winning the slot machine might just help you to unlock another item for your overarching quest.
Your goal here is to collect eight classic RPG items scattered across this multi-sectioned pinball world. You might need to defeat a Necromancer for a pair of boots, or a Frankenstein’s monster for a potion, but you’ll do so by adhering to the pinball staples of bashing stuff whilst keeping the ball alive.
It’s a little disappointing, then, that it’s the core pinball action that ultimately lets Adventure Pinball down. The game’s flipper mechanics aren’t as sharp as they really should be.
The sum total of your inputs involves pressing either side of the screen to activate a pair of flippers, but these occasionally prove unresponsive. Not always, but often enough to lead to frustration as the ball drops through for a loss of life or a return to the previous ‘dungeon’.
More seriously, it happens just enough to make you stop trusting the game. During particularly busy or important segments, we found that we were frantically mashing both sides of the screen so as not to fall foul of this unresponsive flipper glitch.
While we’re at it, we’d also question whether the lo-fi Game Boy aesthetic is ideal for imparting sufficiently realistic and responsive ball physics. It looks great, but it never nails the tactile, hyper-kinetic feel you get from one of Zen’s photorealistic pinball games.
We love the Game Boy aesthetic and the RPG hybrid premise at the heart of Adventure Pinball. But while its wizardry is on point, its pinball leaves a little to be desired.
- Clever splicing of pinball and RPG elements
- Nostalgic Game Boy visuals
- Forgiving continue system
- Occasionally unresponsive flippers
- 8-bit aesthetic not ideally suited to pinball
- A fair amount of luck involved