If you were born after 1994, there’s a fair chance that you actually have no idea what it’s like to play an actual pinball arcade game, but fear not friends, System3 has created the next best thing, the ultimate pinball game simulator.
The Pinball Arcade features some of the greatest pinball machines ever created, fully licensed from their original manufacturers Bally, Williams, Stern and Gottlieb.
Flipper, ball and bumper physics have been replicated flawlessly, as well as the sound effects, lighting and classic display animations which have been painstakingly recreated in astonishing detail. Even the physical quirks of playing on each table- some flippers being lighter or heavier than others for example – remains in the computerised version. I was actually born before 1994 and to be fair I couldn’t quite remember what it’s like to play on an actual table, but I was lucky enough to actually play two of the actual tables featured in the game at a review event, and I was truly blown away by how faithfully System3 has emulated the real-life look and feel of the machines.
My favourite table is currently Monster Bash featuring timelessly kooky music of the original table and some of horror mythologies most vintage stars such as Frankenstein and Dracula. Skilfully hitting the power supply pads at Frankenstein’s feet enough times led to an awesome sequence with Igor animating Frankenstein who rises from his bed while the table whizzes and flashes with electricity. The crazy multi-ball bonus is your reward and you’ll cash in the points if you can keep a few of them going even for 30 seconds or so. I managed to keep two balls simultaneously in play quite easily, but the randomness of Pinball movements kept me on my toes. The fanboy in me also loved the Star Trek table which featured star ship mission-based bonuses and warp tunnels.
This game is perfect for playing with up to four friends when chilling, or before a night out, especially if you’re mates are as competitive as mine. PLUS it’s much tougher to be dominant on a pinball table than it is on FIFA, so everyone will have a fairer chance of avoiding doing forfeit Vodka shots when they lose. There’s also an online leaderboard for you to contend with, some ridiculous person who obviously has no life somehow topped my best score by 2 BILLION, yeah, screw them.
Anywho, if I had to take anything away from this game, it’s that it will always be tough to represent the vertical layout of a pinball table on a widescreen, you can change viewing and camera options, but you never quite get a full view of the table. Still what you can see does look stunning.
Whether you’re a pinball fanatic or just a casual gamer, The Pinball Arcade is the best pinball game ever made and is irresistibly enjoyable to play. The game is available to buy now on PS4 and Steam for PC. So what are you waiting for?