Developer: Wyse Games LTD
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.4
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Spending hours in a pinball arcade used to be an activity that was reserved for the wealthy or those with a serious loose change problem. Thankfully, modern gaming consoles brought about the invention of an endlessly replayable table – all for one low price. But what if there were a happy medium that indulged the quarter-munching purist while also playing into the hand of a new wave of pinball distribution? Tough Nuts Pinball looks to be just the title to tread that perilous line.

56Instead of going the route of releasing standalone tables, Tough Nuts Pinball opted to release a free base game with two tables that are fully available right out of the gate. As good as this may sound, there is a catch: tokens are needed to play a round. That’s right, the game comes with a base collection of a few in-game coins, but once they are depleted the player has the option to either buy more tokens or simply purchase the table for free play. Luckily currency can also be unlocked through unlocking achievements through Gamecenter. If that isn’t incentive to excel, I don’t know what is!

The two tables that are available at the time of this review were “Fire Reaper” and “Mafia”, with a third table entitled “Elite Force” to be added at a future date. Tough Nuts Pinball is taking the authentic approach to table design by only implementing elements that would be possible on a physical machine. Both playfields have a solid flow and interesting goals to accomplish, as well as a few mechanics that haven’t be represented on any iOS based pinball simulations up until this point. For example, “Fire Reaper” has a flipper feed that is extended when the flipper is activated and can double as an outline if the player isn’t careful. Not only is that an extremely unique feature, it completely changes the way the table plays.

56The one area where this title tends to fall flat is in the physics emulation. The ball inertia and momentum tend to feel far too light. Also, there may be some limitations in place to control the overall speed of the ball, because the speed at which it leaves the flipper seem disproportional to the actual flipper velocity. Lastly, the targets tend to have a weird magnetic effect were the ball sticks to them for a split second, further killing any momentum that had been generated.

Is Tough Nuts Pinball a realistic pinball simulation? Not particularly. Will it suffice for those jonesing for more flipper action? Absolutely. The combination of solid table design and unique gameplay mechanics easily make this worthy of pulling the plunger on.

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