Version Reviewed: 1.3
Device Reviewed On: iPad
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
What do you call an iPad game with top-notch graphics, clever and responsive controls, a variety of play mechanics, great sound effects and what is probably the most generic, boring title in the history of the
iPhone/iPad app store? Pinball HD. But what the game lacks in a catchy title it more than makes up for with all of the positives listed above, at a more than reasonable price.
If you've already purchased one of OOO Gameprom's iPhone Pinball apps, you have a pretty good feel for what Pinball HD is all about. In fact, Pinball HD consolidates all three OOO Gameprom iPhone virtual pinball games (The Deep, Wild West Pinball and Jungle Beat) into one. But where the iPhone games, though full of great graphics/sounds and consistent ball physics, felt cramped and fairly limited, Pinball HD feels like a real pinball game. When someone says that the iPad is just a giant iPod touch, there's some truth to the statement, but games like Pinball HD show what the increased screen real estate (not to mention the superior display) can do for an app.
Launching Pinball HD takes users directly into a hub screen. From here, you can choose to scroll to another pinball table (at game start the interface defaults to whatever pinball table you last played), to news from the publisher, or online/offline high scores. Though it is at first a little unclear about where and how you need to navigate, it becomes second nature quickly.
There are two primary viewing modes for Pinball HD. Those who have played the iPhone version of these games will recognize the landscape mode as the same one used in those earlier games. Here, the camera follows the ball above all else, meaning that you don't get a clear view of the full table for long, if at all. This leads to numerous control issues, since without seeing the big picture it's difficult to see when the ball is about to drop near your flippers. Fortunately for iPad users, the portrait mode version of the game rectifies this problem. Here, you get a choice of either the "follow the ball" view or a full screen view of the entire table. and from my perspective full screen is where it's at.
Control is spot-on, with a simple tap of the right or left thumb activating the game's flippers. It's much more sensitive and responsive than I expected, which helps make any virtual pinball game more immersive. Sound effects are also well done, though some of the voice work (particularly in The Deep) could use some work.
My only complaint really isn't a complaint at all. I'd just like to see OOO Gameprom get the license for some classic pinball machines and begin porting them to the virtual world of the iPad. Don't get me wrong; the three tables they have created on their own are really quite wonderful, but as pinball is a decidedly retro activity, it would be great to play some of the old classics rendered with the kind of loving care seen in Pinball HD. Who wouldn't want to play "8 Ball Deluxe" or another classic pinball game one more time?