Pinball Arcade Review
Nostalgia is the potent ingredient employed in FarSight Studios’ latest revisit to pinball cabinets of old. Four of the most defining and popular tables have been plucked from history, featuring some of the most visually impressive and astoundingly playable cabinets to ever grace an arcade.
The last few years have seen Zen Studios’ Pinball FX 2 set a startling precedent for contemporary pinball gameplay on XBLA. Much of Pinball Arcade’s mechanics feel archaic by comparison.
Tracking the ball, slippery physics and three camera options all prove problematic – but each of the four tables have been lavishly replicated with due reverence and so such quibbles prove insignificant.
Best of the bunch is Bally’s Theatre Of Magic, featuring a multitude of challenges, twisting ramps and retro sound effects, while striking a tricky balance to appeal both to newcomers and skilled veterans alike.
Williams’ Tales Of The Arabian Nights and Stern’s Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! prove likewise thrilling, if falling just short of establishing the same level of refinement.
The only odd one out in the mix is Gottlieb’s Black Hole; no doubt marking a technological milestone at the time – the hidden reverse playing field is still sublime when first revealed – but it’s rather lacking in features by comparison.
Each of the licensed tables comes with a comprehensive breakdown of the whole board, right down to the tiniest of details and background information.
It stands as not just a fascinating retrospective of gaming history, but an XBLA entry that enlivens the genre, while truly providing a definitive digital proxy.