PlayStation 4 just got hit with the digital recreation of some of Pinball’s most beloved tables. The Pinball Arcade takes a focus on authenticity while adding Table Goals tracking and virtual tilt into the mix. Attack From Mars, Big Shot, Black Hole, Black Knight, Bride of Pin-Bot, Cirqus Voltaire, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Elvira, Funhouse, Genie, Gorgar, Harley-Davidson, Medieval Madness, Monster Bash, No Good Gofers, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Scared Stiff, Star Trek, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Taxi, Theatre of Magic, and Twilight Zone are all up for grabs in the Season One table offerings which can be grabbed separately or altogether as a Season Pass. The PlayStation 4 version of this game takes the intensity of emulating Pinball’s real life experience closer to full immersion by adding enhanced graphical fidelity as well as a full 60 frames per second frame rate meaning the action happens on screen as quick as your eyes can keep up with.
The Pinball Arcade is a game with a long history after being successfully Kickstarted and many licenses obtained to make this project possible. Essentially this experience is hot in demand, and for good reason. Many of us grew up during the era of arcades when tokens ruled our gameplay experiences and not everything was digital or electronic only. The mechanical appeal of Pinball was that players had to rely on skill and could never blame an opponent artificial intelligence for their own shortcomings.
The Pinball Arcade does well to replicate this sense of speed, timing, and understanding / mastery of physics which is more similar to playing a game of pool or darts than it is to a video game… until now. Graphically The Pinball Arcade does not disappoint, especially on next-gen hardware. The high definition look of this game makes it hard to distinguish a screenshot of a table from a picture of the real thing.
The problematic discussion that comes about in terms of The Pinball Arcade’s quality though is when the game starts making noise. On the one hand, the entire point of this title is to re-create the arcade experience. Nobody wants to see the developer take a stab at changing or replacing the soundtracks of these classic retro tables that have been brought to life. On the other hand, it’s a shame that there is no alteration done at all on the sounds and playing this title requires you to put your retro ears on and forgive what sounds like aged audio.
The gameplay and controls are tight and on point, with no slack and no input delay. The player must master timing and thankfully has no hinderances in accomplishing this other than their own skills. Virtual tilt and the pulling of an analog stick back before letting it go to launch a new ball or start a game are both a nice touch and keeps the immersion level fairly high. The developers have carefully re-crafted every piece of technology that existed in the old tables and it’s really impressive on a lot of levels to see this amount of commitment to both quality and faithfulness to the original, making it no wonder why they were able to secure so many licenses. If your ball gets stuck you can even call an attendant.
Multiple players can jump in taking turns in “hot-seat multiplayer”, but side-by-side just wouldn’t be appropriate for a game like this as you’d often end up stuck watching your opponent finish while doing nothing. Other advanced features include Leaderboards, the ability for players to turn Ball Control on or off, Open Coin Door, changing the Operator Mode, and even doing Table Exploration to see what might be missing in the attempts being made, or receiving IFPA Pro Tips. Goals are set for each table as well which include detailed explanations on how to accomplish them, so players don’t need google or prior experience with these classic Pinball tables, which is very cool and keeps the experience cohesive.
Replay Value: High – With over 66 trophies to earn and such a large number of well-known Pinball tables, not to mention the inherent fun factor of such a simple yet skill-based game, The Pinball Arcade has a high replay value.
The Pinball Arcade is exactly what it presents itself as, a collection of Pinball arcade tables that many of us grew up with. The nostalgia factor aside, this is also a tight and responsive title. The soundtrack of this title is completely retro – which isn’t always a good thing. Graphically we are impressed with the realism art style and what the developer has achieved with it. Nothing is necessarily missing from the old days of arcade, but not much has been added here beyond a few really well thought out subtle touches like explaining the goals of each table, the modern advent of leader-boards, and trophies. That being said, if you’re looking for the real deal – this is the only Pinball experience being offered on the Sony PS4 that can bring you back to the authentic arcade days where Pinball was born and reached its golden age.
Overall Score: 8 / 10
RGN Rating : Silver Game
Developer / Publisher: FarSight Studios
Available On: PS4 | PS3 | 360 | PC | Mac OS X | Linux | Wii U
Played On: Sony PlayStation 4
Handheld / Mobile Versions Available On: 3DS | Vita | iOS | Android
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.
- Update From Publisher: “Regarding audio: The sound files were updated, but they didn’t make it in on the initial release. The next patch should have high quality audio.”
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20140113 and was last modified on 20140116 .