Pinball titles have a growing presence on the iPhone, with games such as Freeballin’ and Wild West Pinball holding down the fort. These attempts did a fair job at the genre but overall came out short in some areas. The same is the case for Monster Pinball, a zany pinball game that ends up being too expensive for the average end-user.
Balls to the wall…
The most important part of any pinball game is proper physics to please fans of traditional tables while allowing newcomers to feel at home with the controls. Monster Pinball does a good job in both fields. While the ball may seem a tad bit light when compared to arcade machines, it is easy to get a feel for it. The paddles allow precision in hitting the ball, something that was not as apparent in many of its counterparts. Also, the classic two-button control scheme to control the paddles works perfectly, although players with big fingers could have some trouble with them.
The game is basic pinball at its core, but a bit different in its initial presentation. There are six tables connected by pathways and chutes leading from one another, each themed around a different monster. There are about four paddles placed around each, which adds new elements to the gameplay such as blocking off pathways from the ball and smacking it to a new table. There are also ways to get a ‘bonus’ on each table, which involves rolling over a set of lights to turn them on. While technically there is only one actual table, Monster Pinball does not lack replay value as a result of its design and online leaderboards. Still, we would like to see more variety of content in the future as gameplay ends up being very basic, which does not set it apart from the pack.
On top of playing well, the game looks great from its freestanding 3D monsters to its animations. The creativity behind the monsters and tables were something that seems to be lost in many clones on the App Store. The polish really pays off in creating an experience for the player that will keep you coming back.
Our biggest grudge with the game is the tilting mechanic. It is extremely hard to pull off–you must violently shake the phone multiple times for it to work right–so purists might find be a bit disappointed, especially when it does little but ruin your game due to lack of focus once you finally pull it off. This did not make the game unplayable, but it took a large toll on the otherwise smooth experience.
For fans of the genre, Monster Pinball is definitely a great offering and worthy purchase, but those whom have to think twice may want to shoot for a less expensive pinball game.