PokeMon Pinball Review by: Someone70Gotta Tilt 'Em All
When people think of Pokemon, the first thing that probably pops into their minds is the yellow mouse that we all know as Pikachu. Next, if
they knew anything more about Pokemon at all, they'd know that Pokemon are caught in Pokeballs and that many of them undergo evolution in order to get into a stronger form. Pokemon Pinball manages to take this idea to a whole new level by adding in flippers, bumpers, and bonuses. The resulting package is a fun, though somewhat frustrating, spinoff of the series.
The two boards of Pokemon Pinball are set up like most normal pinball machines. You have your flippers on the bottom, some bonuses you can trigger on the side, bumpers on the top, a launcher near the bottom, as well as a few other gimmicks. Of course, everything has been replaced in one way, shape, or form with Pokemon. For example, the bumpers on the Red stage are Voltorbs and the side pocket savers is a Pikachu that zaps the ball out of the pocket. The ball itself, of course, is a Pokeball. It's a creative twist on the
already-established pinball setup, and keeps the game running Pokemon.
Voltorbs, Dittos, and Bellsprouts oh my!
In addition to the Red and Blue boards, there are bonus stages that you can enter every time you catch a multiple of three Pokemon. The bonuses are also Pokemon related, and range from stealing coins from a wandering Meowth to an epic showdown against Mewtwo. All of the bonuses involve hitting some sort of target, though it can get frustrating trying to position yourself just right so you can hit them.
Although the graphics themselves aren't very groundbreaking, the fact that they were so creatively made and fit together rather seamlessly makes them remarkable on the Gameboy Color.
First of all, don't try to expect something great in terms of sound. After all, it's a pinball game. With that being said, the sound is decent for a game of its type. Each of the boards and the bonus stages has its own music to go with it. You'll be hearing the music for the main boards the most, but it's nothing unbearable in that sense.
If you land on Pikachu, he'll say "Piiikaaaa!"
The sound effects also work decently with the game. There are a few sfx that come from the original game, but they’ve mostly been redone for the pinball version of the game. You have little ball clicks and beeps when you hit targets. The only other sfx that you’ll recognize are the Pok�mon cries. But since the sounds are unfamiliar, it feels like a good spinoff rather than a complete ripoff of a game.
For a pinball game, Pokemon Pinball
pretty addicting compared to the rest. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much happening, but once you get into the game, you’ll be hooked for hours. If you practice enough and can keep the ball going for a long time, you’ll find yourself playing to see if you can beat your high score. Even before then, you’ll want to get better at the game so that you can see all the way to the prestigious Mewtwo bonus stage.
The game also comes with a Pokedex so that you can keep track of the Pokemon you’ve seen and caught throughout your plays. True Pokemon masters will try and get all 151 Pokemon like in the regular games. Of course, this isn’t necessary at all and you don’t get a special bonus for completing the Pokedex.
Try to catch 'em all!
Pinball + Pokemon ≠ Story
Like I said before, Pokemon Pinball is more addicting than most pinball games go. The reason comes from its depth in the pinball system. Like the mainstream Pokemon games, there is more that goes on than what first meets the eye.
As soon as you start the game, you get the chance to randomly select your location. This location doesn’t seem to do much, but what it does is affect the type of Pokemon you will find during the Pokemon catch phase.
If you time it right, you can start the game from any location.
You occasionally get the opportunity to travel to a new location, but it’s important to take note of where you are right now so you don’t miss a
potentially valuable Pokemon.
Besides travelling, there are bonus games, catching games, evolution, board gimmicks, hole slots, the Pikachu system, all of which I don’t have nearly enough text to explain. There is a lot to note, but once you get a feel for all the game has to offer, you’ll be gathering plenty of points in no time.
The game is deep, but it’s not full-on RPG deep. However given the fact that it’s a pinball game, there really isn’t much that can be done about it.
Even though this game is fun to play, there are a few bugs and limitations that give it a bit of a frustrating quality.
The game is only for the Game Boy Color, so it was more or less part of the pioneer of games. For people nowadays, that means frustrating controls. Sadly, the pinball physics don’t quite work as intended. The fact that the Pokeball is a bit big for a pinball might be part of the problem. Either way, when you’re trying to hit targets under a time limit, and you keep missing it left and right, you might be tempted to hit something.
The board isn’t quite fair either. When you’re aiming for the hole in the center for a slot, bonus, or anything, it won’t go directly in. See, the hole has some sort of force field around it that deflects the ball, so in order to make it go in, you have to shoot it straight in and with enough force*. And these are only a few of the difficulties you’re likely going to have with the game.
Just make it in already!
Final Score: 7.4
Overall, the game is fairly enjoyable for a Pokemon spinoff. It doesn’t quite have the qualities that make it an outstanding game, but it’s worth a good shot. The game is simple enough to pick up and play right off the bat, but there are some deep qualities to the game that can help you improve your high score.
A word of warning before you play this on the Vizzed site, or any emulator. You have to switch the controls for the D-pad and A/B buttons because each side controls each side of the flipper (think about how a GBA looks).
* shut up, I know what you’re thinking