App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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It is getting harder and harder to make up ground in the pinball simulation space on iOS. So many stellar retro re-creations have hit the platform in the last few months that making a mark seems damn near impossible. The new game Revenge Of The Rob-o-Bot looks to go against the grain and provide a realistic simulation experience, while also opting to use an original table design. Can it manage to make an impact, or is this just another pinball poser?
Unlike several other supposed simulators for iOS devices, Revenge Of The Rob-o-Bot manages to impress almost immediately thanks to an outstanding attention to physics realism. Where so many other tables get caught up making things look flashy and impressive, this game's publisher, Nena Innovation, wisely chose to emulate the true-to-life feel and responses of a table in the most accurate way possible. The engine under the hood helps elevate what could have been a garden variety pinball experience to something far more substantial.
The table design itself also maintains a grounding in realism that many have failed to sustain through the evolution of the digital pinball genre. Just because developers have the ability to do anything under the sun doesn't necessarily make it right. Refreshingly, there is nothing that happens throughout a standard play through that could not actually be built into a physical table. That said, the game manages to provide more than enough mission variety and challenge to keep players occupied for immense amounts of time.
Despite everything that the table manages to do right, there are still a few hurdles that prevent Revenge from being runaway success. For starters, there is only one camera available. A staple of virtual pinball is being able to chose from a variety of different perspectives and angles, in order to find one that best fits the player's preference. This oversight is exemplified even further when tilting the device into landscape mode, which zooms out to squeeze the entire table into the center of the screen. The result is a rather extensive inverse letterboxing that renders large portions of the screen unutilized. It may have been best to instead zoom in on the table, filling the wasted real estate, while panning the camera to track the ball. One other nitpicky issue is the lack of any form of couch-play multiplayer. Hopefully this is something that could be patched in down the road.
Revenge Of the Rob-o-Bot provides a shockingly solid pinball experience, without falling into the traps that snared some of the publisher's previous releases. Though it may have a few issues that could leave a bad taste in the mouth of hardcore aficionados, it still deserves a solid recommendation purely on the quality of the simulation. Search no further, because this is the droid iOS gamers have been looking for.