Developer: ASK Homework
Price: $4.99 (On sale for $0.99)
Version Reviewed: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Most pinball historians will claim Chicago as the modern home of the pastime. Several of the major players in the industry over the last sixty years were all centralized in that area, which continues to this very day. But this doesn’t mean all brands came from the Midwest. One such company, Zaccaria Pinball, was actually based in Italy and primarily produced their tables in the 70s and 80s. Though the manufacturer is long gone, developer ASK Homework has memorialized their work in the new game, Zaccaria Pinball Master Edition. Is this remastering worth enshrining, or should these tables remained unplugged?

IMG_0094When it comes to industry names, Zaccaria was never really known as an innovator. They carefully observed what trends were popular at the time and then emulated it to the best of their abilities. Zaccaria Pinball Master Edition follows in that very same trend by offering a competent recreation without necessarily breaking the mold. The base $4.99 download comes with a healthy batch of five tables, along with the option to purchase more as they become available either through a subscription model or à la carte.

The tables themselves would be decent to a casual observer, but to seasoned veterans the selection leaves a bit to be desired. Granted, titles like Pinball Arcade have a cornered the licensed pinball revival market, but what is included in the base install lacks enough appeal to compel a player to buy additional tables – especially sight unseen. Which brings up the bigger issue that there is no way to preview potential purchases. Why would someone want to buy anything without at least viewing what is available?

IMG_0097Though each table plays decently enough to feel authentic, it’s hard to shake the impression that there’s an unnatural tilt, or that the ball is weighed heavier than it should be. While not a show stopper by any stretch, the result is a ball that comes hurtling down faster than it should. Also, there does seem to be a slight amount of input lag, but honestly iOS pinball players have become accustomed to the delay associated with touchscreen flipping. On the plus side, the title is heavily customizable all the way down to personalized cameras and tweaking of the physics engine. Unfortunately, these features are hidden behind a pay wall that constantly urges the player to buy to one of the in-game table subscriptions or pay a couple of bucks to unlock it.

Zaccaria Pinball Master Edition is a very solid pinball simulator, it just needs a bit more polish in the minutia of game design. Perhaps a free version of the game may be better suited to the micro-transaction structure that they are attempting to implement. Hiding options behind a pay wall seems unfair when it already comes with a hefty $4.99 price tag. Sticker shock aside, the hardcode pinball fan will find that while it doesn’t exceed the quality of its peers, it certainly gives them a good run for their money. Simply put, Zaccaria has issues but it is still flippin’ fun.

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