The Pinball Arcade Review

Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve played the silver ball. From Soho down to Brighton. I must have played them all.

The Pinball Arcade isn’t a new release as such, having previously seeing the light of day on XBLA, PS3, Vita, iOS and more. The team at Farsight had one single goal…To bring the world’s best pinball tables in history to a whole new audience.

That’s the thing with Pinball, you are relying on a local arcade having those tables. Even if they do have them, you aren’t guaranteed they’ll be working properly, as they take a hell of a lot of maintenance, due to all the moving parts that can go wrong. It sometimes isn’t worth it for a business, especially these days, when playing second fiddle to the latest arcade games is a bit of a stretch.

The other option is to have your own table, but again it is an expensive option and even if you just had the one or two, that will mean you are missing out on the many others that are out there. That is the benefit of The Pinball Arcade, you have a ton of tables at your finger tips, without the worry of keeping them working yourself.

Since the original release there have been a steady trickle of tables added to the collection, so much so they have been able to offer up a package of tables, with Season 1 available on PS4 now and Season 2 to come soon. We take a look at the first set to see the light of day on the new consoles.

Season 1 offers 22 tables, covering packs one through ten and there is a decent amount of variation on offer, covering many years. From the simplicity of Big Shot to the more modern day Star Trek: The Next Generation. Each and every table has been lovingly recreated and the attention to detail is phenomenal.

Whilst the power of the Ps4 may not be immediately obvious on a pinball game, when you compare to the PS3 version side by side, the differences are there. The Ps4 offerings look stunning, the lighting is where it really stands out and comes that much closer to the the tables looking real.

Things not only look better, they feel better too, with the physics and framerate being much improved over the previous editions. It is this improved framerate more than anything that makes things all that much more natural feeling, especially to someone who has experience with real life tables.

It isn’t without issues though, there have been numerous crashes on various tables and on occasions you could be in the middle of a great round and the game will stutter and freeze momentarily. However, these issues are rare in comparison to the amount of time you’ll spend playing and will hopefully be patched at a later date.

Chances are you might have bought some of the tables on other platforms, but if you want the PS4 versions, you need to buy them all over again. You do get a discount if you have tables on the PS3 or Vita, but you do really need to be a fan of pinball to want to buy the same tables yet again. The season packs are offering decent value for money though and if you are a fan, you will really appreciate the upgrades.

To get the most out of a table, you need to play it, to learn it and in the end master it. With eighteen tables in the Season 1 pack, it can be a little overwhelming at first, but you soon find a favourite and gravitate towards it more and more. You will play through all of them at least once, it is just something you will do, but when you find a particular table you like, you will spend a lot of time with it. You master that table, then you move on to another and spend a lot of time with that one also.

The Season 2 option is there to tease you, you cannot get any tables from that pack yet and in truth, you won’t really mind, there is plenty to keep you going for a very long time.

The Pinball Arcade is the closest you will get to playing a real life table in the flesh, without hunting one down that works, or spending out a ton of money on getting your own. The new version is worth getting for if you are happy to spend out again on the same tables, with the discount just about hitting the right spot. It isn’t one for those who fancy a casual foray into pinball, but more those who love the pastime.