Listen up, Pinball Wizards, because this one’s for you. You’ve got your old flipper friends at the ready, and that shiny, silver ball is ready to launch. Keep an eye on those bumpers, and try not to Tilt!
Pinball and the iPhone go together surprisingly well. I suspect it has something to do with the glass screen encasing the game as the digital balls zip about madly, and the accelerometer helps to recreate the ancient art of the table nudge. It’s still missing the visceral “clack” of the flippers, but Pinball Ride does a decent job at delivering a solid digital pinball experience.
Responding to previous complaints about the game being too hard, Pinball Ride went through a major overhaul to tone down the table punishment. I never played the original, but the updated version handles very nicely. The flippers are beautifully responsive, and the table is a darkly sleek, 3-D challenge. The physics engine is impressive for the iPhone, allowing for nicely smooth and realistic ball action. The engine is about as good as your average PC game, so pinball fans should be satisfied. The game also allows for some moderate nudging with no risk of Tilt, which, given the notoriously uneven accelerometer sensitivity, is probably a good call.
The Lite version allows for what they call a “Burst Mode”, which lets you try for a high score in 45 seconds of play. It doesn’t really let you get a good handle on the game, but it’s probably enough to get a sense of the control sensitivity.
The Unlimited version is much better, since it allows you to play a full-length game with all the bells and whistles attached, like extra balls and multiball, but at $4.99, for only one table, this is definitely one of the pricier pinball apps out there. It does come with Facebook Connect, which is a nice feature, but for the price, I expected a lot more, like like more tables or an option to adjust the camera view or the ability to play my own music. There’s something to be said for the old-school, cheesy synth sounds of a classic pinball table, but this ain’t your grandpa’s pinball, and I like having options.
Bottom line: The pinball action is great, but for the price, it’s going to need to offer more.
Here is a video demo of the Pinball Ride Unlimited app on the iPhone
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