Price: $2.99 ($0.99 Launch Price)
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Pinball tends to be one of those genres that folks either love or hate. Due to factors such as lack of a traditional narrative and any sort of recognizable characters, short of those that license their image to a specific pinball table, the genre has had a hard time bridging the gap to a casual gaming audience. This all changes with the recent release of Momonga Pinball Adventures. Can this cartoonish--not to mention character-driven--pinball experience, bridge the gap between hardcore aficionados and the general masses or is it just another straight drain?
It is not very often that folks get the chance to play something that is not only original, but extremely familiar all at the same time. Momonga Pinball Adventures manages just that by blending a genuine story-driven campaign with long-established pinball mechanics. The core plot revolves around a group of adorable squirrel-like critters that are decimated by an owl attack. It is up to the remaining few to collect themselves and try to free the others that have been captured. Complete with dialog and cutscene cinematics, the story itself delivers far more exposition than one might think necessary, but the quality delivery and art style help drive home that this is more than just a simple derivative pinball game.
Each stage consists of several different “tables,” which are in turn broken up into different sections, all with their own unique goals or objective. Once the goal has been conquered, then the next portion of the level is unlocked to play. Players actually smack around the oddly round shaped rodent, as it tries to get one step further to freeing the pack from captivity. Tables can also be replayed at any point with a completely different set of objectives, all in the name of setting a higher top score.
Along the way, everything from hang gliding through the air to full on bird versus mammal combat will help keep the gameplay from feeling like the usual pinball that some may loathe. On the other side of the coin, fanatics of the genre may find the lighthearted approach decidedly more newcomer friendly. However, those that are familiar with many of Nintendo’s classic Game Boy pinball titles will most likely appreciate the similar personality. If that doesn’t win players over, the whimsical art design will surely warm of the few remaining cold, icy hearts.
Momonga Pinball Adventures is a sugary sweet pinball title that has plenty to offer for every audience. What it lacks in photo-realistic physics and ridiculous bonus multipliers, it more than makes up for in charm and replayability. Cynics be damned, because this is an experience that is impossible not to adore.