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Developer: FarSight Studios
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.8
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

I don’t think I’ve met anyone who doesn’t enjoy pinball. With practically no barrier to entry, but lots to master, it’s perfect for serious players or those just looking to kill some time. FarSight Studios aims to bring pinball realism to the player’s iOS device with Pinball Arcade. The attention to detail appears to be second to none, and the pinball is generally sound, but a couple of niggles stop the game from being perfect.

From the very start it’s clear that the developers at FarSight Studios have done their homework. There are currently four tables on offer; ‘Tales of the Arabian Nights’ from Williams; ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ from Stern, ‘Theatre of Magic’ from Bally, and ‘Black Hole’ from Gottlieb. I don’t know enough about pinball to verify FarSight’s claims that each table has been recreated exactly, but there is clearly a lot of detail and effort placed into them. When the player first loads up a table they are presented with some text detailing its history, which is a lovely touch.

In fact, one might say that there is perhaps too much going on, as sometimes the ball gets lost amongst the lights and colours. On the surface the graphics appear nice enough, but looking a little bit closer uncovers a fair amount of low resolution textures. In all honesty though, it all moves so fast the player will rarely have the opportunity to stop and stare. Another important factor in pinball, the sound, is also really well done.

In terms of control, it’s as one might expect. The flippers are controlled by touching the bottom left and right side of the screen, and there is a nudge function which can be done by shaking the iOS device (which never seemed to work) or touching the top left or right side of the screen.

Curiously, the ball physics seemed to vary depending on what table was being played. When it works it’s fantastic, and a very good representation of pinball, but at times the ball would move unrealistically fast, or there would be a hint of lag.

For the initial fee the player will get unlimited access to Tales of the Arabian Nights. Trial versions of the other tables can be played on, but the full versions will cost extra. High score leaderboards are also, rather disappointingly, locked to those who have logged in via Facebook.

Pinball Arcade is an impressive title, and one that is bound to please pinball fans. It’s a shame a couple of issues get in the way.

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