LAST WEEK IN (DIGITAL) PINBALL
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FOR THE CONSOLE AND PC CROWD
Pinball FX3 – $2.99 and up per table
The current king of the hill when it comes to digital pinball, Zen’s FX3 offers 99 tables to download. These range from Zen originals such as Castle Storm and Adventureland to licensed originals such as Jurassic Park, Portal, or Aliens to name a few. In total there are 78 such titles. Then there are the Williams/Bally tables that are faithful recreations of the machines you know and love, with life like ball physics to match. There are currently 21 such titles offered and the list is growing. The Zen original Sorcerer’s Lair and the Williams machine Fish Tales are free when you download FX3, but all the other tables come in packs that range in price, typically $9.99 for a 3 pack. That being said, frequently packs go on sale for 50% off and more, so be aware of that.
As an aside to those that own a Nintendo Switch, FX3 does not include the Marvel tables at all, and if you wish to get the Star Wars tables, you have to purchase Star Wars Pinball as a separate game. It retails for $20 and includes 19 tables.
Zaccaria Pinball – $1.99 and up
The program itself is free to download, and on PC you can try any of the tables via timed demo. This is important as these Italian machines are not everyone’s cup of tea. In a word, they are ‘odd’. There are 27 solid state machines that have been lovingly recreated, as well as a collection of electro mechanical machines Zaccaria had made. Developer Magic Pixel didn’t stop there though. For the incredibly low price of $1.99 there is the ‘retro’ pack, where all 27 SS tables are reimagined as EM tables. There’s a starter pack for $5.99 that gives you a taste of some EM, SS, and a few of their Remake tables, which are DMD influenced creations. For those that like to tweak with settings, Zaccaria Pinball is heaven sent. Want glass reflections and worn out playfields? Go for it. Want flippers that are underpowered, or balls that you can scale to different sizes? Do you want to play with the lighting of the room your in or on the table itself? Would you like to have a go at a whitewood playfield and adding graphics from the image library? The game offers all that to you as an option, though some you will have to pay a bit extra for.
Pinball Wicked – $9.99
Not yet a pinball platform as Black Flaggers is the only table available, this game was designed using the Unreal Engine and offers a few Ultra settings to make your PC’s video card scream. This has a traditional pinball layout but is not constrained inside cabinet walls. It’s a pirate theme and the playfield is more or less an island in the middle of the sea. There are lots of visual fantasy elements at play too. The game is still in active development, but the polish is all there. It is a fully realized table for those that are looking to add yet another pinball game to their collection.
Demon’s Tilt – $19.99
I’ll be honest, it’s a rather high price to pay for a 2D top view pinball game. It’s also bug nuts insane. Imagine crossing a pinball game with a bullet hell shooter, all wrapped up in an occult setting. There is so much visually going on that you will frequently lose track of the ball, and that’s sort of the point. The physics aren’t remotely trying to be realistic, the graphics are throwback 16bit style, and yet it is a thoroughly modern game. If you can catch it on sale, scoop it up just for the insanity it offers.
Yoku’s Island Express – $19.99
It’s a bit of a stretch to call this pinball, yet it fits the category. Yoku’s has been described as a Metroidvania style game that uses pinball mechanics for navigation. You will find all sorts of flippers, pop bumpers, shooter lanes and plungers throughout the map, and there are certain sections that very much resemble a pinball playfield. On the other hand, this is very much an exploratory game, where you are looking for secret passages and items all over. It doesn’t offer a lot of replayability but that doesn’t matter, it is a whole lot of fun and worth giving it a go.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, my name is Chris Friebus and I am the host of the BlahCade Pinball Podcast. I have been covering the digital pinball scene extensively since 2012 and have been asked to post a summation of all the latest goings on in the digital community for TWIP. I’m calling it LWI(D)P, Last Week In (Digital) Pinball. This will cover the goings on with pinball that is being offered commercially. That means I won’t be dipping my toes into the Visual Pinball (VPX) waters, as those are extensive and deep and I forgot my life vest. Commercial pinball includes offerings from the two major studios making digi pin today, Zen Studios and Magic Pixel, as well as what is going on with the newly emerged digital pinball cabinet market.
Sometimes there is a flood of news, more often than not it’s a drought, so apologies in advance if posts become sporadic. I’m willing to entertain requests of topics too, so send those to TWIP at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do have my opinions and biases, and I love speculating about things. I don’t have access to everything either as I’m not made of money, so many times I will be speaking from a viewpoint of interpreting what I’ve seen in videos or press releases.
All that being said, I look forward to engaging with all the TWIP readers and hope you get something out of this you might not have known before!