Portal Pinball Review
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Portal Pinball Review

Our Review by Jennifer Allen on June 2nd, 2015
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SATISFYING PINBALL
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Combining a much-loved puzzle series with pinball is a great move.

Developer: Zen Studios
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

In an unusual move, we soon learn that combining pinball with the great first-person puzzle series, Portal, is actually quite inspired. Portal Pinball captures the spirit of the games while also providing a decent pinball table with plenty of objectives to pursue.

The idea is that you’re guiding Chell and Wheatley through test chambers, navigating portals and so forth. It’s certainly atmospheric, looking just how you would expect things to look, with the added bonus of snippets of audio from the cast of the games. You’ll still hear Stephen Merchant encouraging you, for instance. There’s a constant stream of background music adding to the urgency too.

Portal Pinball works on a basis of you unlocking test chambers, eventually unlocking the GLaDOS Final Battle. Both in keeping with Portal and pinball, experimentation is everything. It’s fun to figure things out too. Soon, you’ll uncover tricks within the table, such as a turret area or special gels, as well as super bumpers, all of which can help your ball’s speed and agility. There’s more depth to Portal Pinball than you’d anticipate, thanks to such twists and you feel more like you're unlocking new levels, than just playing one table. As always, it’s satisfying to see those scores shoot up too, with Game Center support aiding your smugness massively.

Controls are simple too with you tapping to the left or right to activate the paddles, so it’s a simple game to dip into, albeit offering sufficient depth to keep you hanging around.

Combining Portal with pinball doesn’t seem like the most intuitive of connections to make, but it turns out it was a wise one. Even to those who aren’t well versed in pinball mentalities, it’s an enjoyable ride. It’ll also serve well as a well-rounded introduction to Zen Pinball, which I’ve no doubt the makers were hopeful for.

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