No stats I’m afraid. I couldn’t nab any of the high scores and it’s one of those cases where the game was already completed when I got it. You’d have to be pretty good at Pinball to top these scores.
It’s been a while since I played a Metroid game so what better way than to go back and finally check out Metroid Pinball? I’ve had the game for a long time, but the cartridge never worked. Well, it finally did so I wasted no time in scoping it out before it decided to break again. It’s a pretty solid Pinball game that fans of the genre will enjoy, but it’s not as if the title does a whole lot with the genre. Effectively it’s just the same old Pinball with a new paint job.
There’s not really a plot here although there could have been the first time around. See, I got this game used so it was already completed. For the sake of the review I just went through the level select and tried them out. It’s not as if there are a lot of levels so it was pretty easy. There are only 4-5 levels if I’m remembering correctly. There are actual bosses so that’s pretty neat. It means that there is certainly some kind of story here. I’ll assume that Samus has been charged with destroying all of the Metroids in her way.
If you don’t know how Pinball works, effectively you have a ball inside of a field and you have to keep it there as long as possible. You control two flippers that you use to block the ball from exiting the field. The longer you survive, the more points you get. There’s also a layer of strategy as you try to hit the ball at certain angles to get your points as quickly as possible. That’s how all of the normal levels play out, but with the Metroid background. This means that the levels are very tech based and there are even Metroids running around. You even get to turn into your robot mode to blast away at them once in a while if you hit the right switch. I think that could have made for a good game to be honest since those segments were always a lot of fun.
The graphics look pretty good. I feel like the company actually put quite a bit of effort into this one since the character designs are on point. You really feel like this is a Metroid Prime game and not some pinball game leaning on its legacy. The soundtrack is also quite good as a result. This game definitely benefited from the fact that it is from the Metroid Prime series as opposed to simply being a Metroid title. Since Pinball is fairly passive the matches can take a long time. While waiting for the ball there isn’t much you can actually do so it’s nice to at least be able to listen to good music in the meanwhile.
Back to the bosses, the gameplay for those is still like normal Pinball except you want to hit them with it. They’re not all that difficult but you’ll still have to get used to the ball and knowing where you’ll hit it before you can claim victory. At least there really isn’t much luck involved here as it’s all in the angles. In a rare occasion the ball will land perfectly in the middle so you can’t block it but that is extremely rare.
There’s not a lot of replay value depending on how you look at it. I mean, it’s Pinball so technically you can play it forever, but there aren’t a lot of game specific reasons to keep on playing. You can beat the “story” in 40 minutes and even if the levels take you a while it won’t be longer than a few hours. You can keep on trying to beat your high scores, but there just isn’t a lot of content in this one. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t own many Pinball games. It’s one of those games that’s a little more fun in real life than in a game.
Overall, There’s not much more to say about this title since in general there’s not too much for me to talk about Pinball. Pinball fans will get a kick out of this one. It’s certainly a lot better than the Pokemon Pinball game. Mario Pinball is still the definitive title, but Metroid is likely the second best portable Pinball title. I can’t imagine getting this for the full price back in the day, but it’s only a dollar or two nowadays so you can’t go wrong with that price. Once you purchase it, prepare for the nostalgia as you hear the classic Prime tunes again. We do have Metroid Prime 4 coming out at some point so the series isn’t dead yet! I’m not the biggest Pinball fan but don’t get me wrong, playing the game is fun. It’s one of those titles that you can easily pop into the console whenever you want and play a few rounds. It’s always nice to have an easy option like that one at the ready for whenever you need it. I’d love a Super Smash Bros pinball game someday. now that would be a lot of fun.
I rarely give negative reviews to video games because I tend to enjoy them all, but this is certainly one of those exceptions. Pac-Man Pinball forgets the essence of what makes a Pinball game good. You want to try and beat your high scores and watch yourself improve. Even the legendary Pac-Man game wouldn’t be quite as good if you couldn’t save your scores. Add in the fact that this game seems to have a pretty small budget and little quality testing…and you certainly do not have a winner on your side. Pac-Man couldn’t save the game and if he couldn’t…who could!?
There are only two stages to choose from in this game. Each stage has a night and a day form. You then go around collecting pellets, but even when you do, more of them just pop up. It’s hard to know exactly what you are supposed to be doing. Maybe you have to light up the full Pac board instead of focusing on the Pellets or you have to enter the mysterious house. Either way, good luck with that since the controls are so bad and the house is only open for a very short amount of time. The controls just aren’t as smooth as Mario pinball and sending the ball where you want it to go is a surprisingly difficult task.
One ability that just makes the game more complicated is that you can shake the screen. It definitely has an effect on the ball, but it’s hard to say which direction it brings the ball or if it is even handy. There didn’t seem to be much of a point to the shaking gimmick. Maybe the developers were hoping that it would distract the players from the rest of the game. If so…I have to say that it was a rather clever move…or just a desperate one.
The graphics aren’t all that bad. The highlight of the game is the opening cutscene. I don’t even know if there is an ending, but if so, getting there is nigh impossible. I don’t plan to spend 20 hours mastering the gameplay and since it is partially luck based as well, it just wouldn’t feel worth it. The stages are clear and easy to see and all of the character designs appear to be on point. The game looks as good as you would hope and at least it means that you are in for a visually pleasing experience. As for the soundtrack, it is pretty nonexistent. You’d hop that the game could have grabbed a nifty Pac-Man theme or something, but it feels like free domain themes that won’t grab your attention for any more than a few seconds. It’s just how it is.
I barely even need to talk about the replay value because there is none. There is nothing to do in the game besides playing those 2 levels over and over again despite not having any incentive to do so because there is no high score. It really feels like this game was abandoned when it was very early in development. It’s just not complete and must have just been prepared to earn a few extra bucks. Certainly not a very nice gesture on their part and I’m glad that I only paid a few bucks for it.
Overall, This is one of the lowest scored games that I’ve reviewed. It’s just hard to get much worse than this and I’d say that you can make an argument for a 2. I’m just giving it a 3 because at the very least, the gameplay is fairly entertaining. It’s Pinball and I do enjoy Pinball, but it’s just so low effort that it is sad. You would have more fun playing Pinball on the computer, after all, that’s what I did for many hours back when I was a kid. The sound effects were a lot more hype and trying to beat my record was always a whole lot of fun. If you’re looking for a fun game to pass the time by, you can do a lot better. There is no reason to buy this game so I highly recommend staying away. Curiosity is not a good enough reason to buy this game although I suppose you may feel obligated to do so anyway if you’re a huge Pac-Man fan. If so, take the plunge, but prepare yourself. If anyone actually does beat the game (If there even is an end point to reach) let me know what the ending’s like. Surely it will be a great reward for those of you who stuck with the game for so long without any actual payoff.