Pinball FX3
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 9

Pinball FX 3 is not just a small update compared to Pinball FX 2, but feels like a brand new game. It comes with a range of new features that are aimed at drawing in newcomers as well as keeping veterans busy for longer. Not only does the older tables look better than ever before, but the brand new challenges and cross-platform features provide added incentives to return to them. It is a pity that not all the Pinball FX 2 tables could make the transition to the new game, it is a relief that the majority can be imported to the new game without having to pay for them again. Pinball FX 3 is without a doubt one of the best pinball games available on the market and definitely doesn’t disappoint if you are a fan of the genre.

Gameplay: Plenty of new features that make it worth moving over from Pinball FX 2.

Graphics: Thanks to real-time lighting and shadow projection the tables look better than ever.

Sound: The guide can become a little annoying, but fortunately the game features plenty of audio options to customize your experience

Summary 9.0 Outstanding
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Pinball FX3

Developer: Zen Studios | Publisher: Zen Studios | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Simulation / Pinball | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

It is hard to believe, but at the time of writing this review it has been seven years since Pinball FX 2 was released and five years since it has made its debut on Steam. Instead of focusing on hyper realistic table designs and authentic physics, the series became known for innovative tables and the type of pinball experience that would be impossible to replicate with real tables. From 3D characters moving around on the tables to innovative mini-games that takes place on separate screens, Pinball FX 2 offered something that more serious releases like Pinball Arcade couldn’t. Zen Studios also released a steady flow of new tables based on some fantastic licenses, such as Marvel and Star Wars. However, the time has finally come to leave Pinball FX 2 behind and embrace the shiny new future that is promised by Pinball FX 3.

Like its predecessor, Pinball FX 3 is completely free of charge and includes the same free table, Sorcerer’s Lair, that was included with Pinball FX 3. Additional tables can be purchased either as “Season” bundles, themed table packs or, in some cases, individual tables. So far, Zen Studious has released more than sixty tables and the good news is that the majority of them are now compatible with Pinball FX 3. Even better, those who already own the tables for Pinball FX 2 will find that they carry over nicely to Pinball FX 3 at no extra cost. Initially there were some issues with certain tables not registering in the new game, but this appears to have been fixed. The “Downloadable Content” section of the Steam page is also a bit of a mess as it doesn’t correctly indicate which tables players already own. This is due to the fact that changes has been made to the way that Pinball FX3 bundles tables compared to Pinball FX2. Hopefully this is something that can be rectified in the future as it can be confusing and potentially lead to players purchasing tables that they already own.

We mentioned earlier that the majority of Pinball FX2 tables carries over to the new version, with the exception of a handful that do not. Unfortunately, amongst the ones staying behind are a couple of really great tables, like the South park two table pack, Plants Vs Zombies table and Ms. Splosion Man table. This is really unfortunate, but if there was any way to bring these tables over to Pinball FX3 we are sure Zen Studios would have done so. Of course, there are still 68 tables available to play, which includes the brand new Universal Classics Pinball pack featuring, E.T, Back to The Future and Jaws tables. All three of them are a great showcase for Pinball FX3, but even the older tables are looking better than ever. Improvements such as real-time lighting and shadow projection provides some additional visual gloss and it could be our imagination, but most of the older tables look a bit sharper as well.

Pinball FX 3 has had a user interface overhaul as well, which makes it easier to access all the new features. The rate at which Zen Studios has been adding new tables has been causing the older interface to become a little cluttered, so the new interface is a nice touch.

It takes a while to get used to the new layout and some players will obviously be resistant to change, but on the whole we think it is a big improvement over Pinball FX 2. Starting up the game provides you with the option to access all your tables, take part in a matchup, enter a tournament, view the leaderboards or mess around with the game options. There is also a “Quickplay” panel to jump straight into a suggested table and a “News” panel where you can see what your friends have been up to.

The new interface also highlights the bigger focus that Pinball FX 3 has on community. It is now easier than ever before to take part in multi-player matchups or user generated tournaments that you can browse or set up yourself. This doesn’t mean that Zen Studios have overlooked players who prefer playing solo either. The game now has brand new single player modes as well that adds a lot of longevity and replay value to all of the tables. In the past, once you have put up a high score and unlocked the achievement for a table there was little reason to return to it unless a friend managed to beat your score. Now, there are new challenges for the tables with stars to earn and abilities that can be upgraded. Passive upgrades include a bumper score bonus, multiball score bonus, skillshot score bonus, combo time bonus, distance bonus and ball save time bonus. You can enable two of these at a time and they become more potent as they level up. For example, if you choose the bumper score bonus you’ll get additional points when the ball hits bumpers on the table. In addition, hitting the bumpers will also contribute to the level of the bonus, so at level 2 you might get an 80% bonus while this goes up to 120% at level three

Also available as upgrades are “Wizard Powers” which range from slow motion and score boost to rewind. You can only equip one of these at a time and they must be unlocked by reach a certain level in the star challenges. Unlike the passive upgrades the Wizard Powers require you to hold down a button, which activates the power, but also drains it. This means you have to time the use of these powers for when they will be the most helpful because if the meter runs out you can’t use the power again for the duration of that game. The Star Challenges we mentioned earlier consists of a one ball challenge, five minute challenge and survival challenge. In the first, you get one ball to put up your highest possible score while the second gives you five minutes and unlimited ball saves to do the same. The survival challenge is the most interesting as you get one minute per score milestone along with unlimited ball saves. Reach the score milestone and the clock resets to one minute, but if it runs out before you do then it’s game over. These challenges are a lot of fun and offer a brand new way to play the old tables and challenge friends. Of course, there is still the “Classic” single player mode for anyone who thinks the new upgrades and powers sound too much like cheating

Another new interesting feature in Pinball FX 3 is the inclusion of experience points and levels. Wining matches, achieving high scores, completing challenges and a host of other actions all reward you with experience points. Get enough experience points and you level up, giving you access to new avatar frames and backgrounds. It is a clever way to get players more invested in the game and provides you with another reason to keep coming back to older tables. Everything in Pinball FX 3 is pretty self explanatory, but in case anyone is still confused, the game now also includes a new guide character that pops up with helpful advice and suggestions. She can become a little annoying after a while, so thankfully there is an option to disable her. The ability to switch off menu voice-overs is also much appreciated as they can begin to grate when you regularly play the game

While on the surface it might seem like Pinball FX 3 is just Pinball FX 2 with a new coat of paint, it doesn’t take long to discover how much more it has to offer. Steam owners will find that the game is cross-platform enabled with Playstation Network, Xbox One and Windows 10 when it comes to Leaderboards, Matchups and Tournaments. The launch of the game hasn’t been perfect, but Zen Studios has already released a couple of updates, the most useful of which addressed issues some players had with the game lagging during experience point pop-ups.

Overall, Pinball FX 3 definitely feels like a step forward for the franchise and is definitely more newcomer friendly while still offering enough to keep veterans busy for ages. There are still some rough edges that need to be smoothed over, but it is clear that Zen Studios are fully committed to the game and it is going to be exciting to see what else the future has in store from them. The bottom line is if you love pinball then Pinball FX 3 is not to be missed.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10
  • Processor: Dual Core CPU @ 1.6GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvida GTS 450 or AMD equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 6 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card / integrated

Related posts

Morph Girl

Morph Girl

Morph Girl combines nineties style FMV and Japanese horror in an interesting visual novel. The game deals with a woman who is mourning the death of her wife, so the story might be a bit too somber for anyone looking for a lighthearted visual novel. It is also rather short and the acting could have been better, but even with all its flaws Morph Girl still offers a unique and compelling experience. Gameplay: Passive for the most part, but there are some choices to be made. Graphics: Morph Girl makes use of FMV to convey its storyline. Sound: No voice acting and a haunting soundtrack keeps things interesting.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is a great update of the free visual novel released by ebi-hime in 2014. In addition to some stunning new artwork and a great soundtrack the story is still as unique as it is captivating. Don’t let the visuals fool you, this novel is not as lighthearted as it first appears and thanks to some great writing the story is a lot more memorable than expected. The game is short enough to complete in a single sitting, but still manages to have a bigger emotional impact than stories that are ten times longer. Gameplay: Pretty much a kinetic novel with only a single choice, but the story is so good that it is hard to stop playing. Graphics: The updated artwork looks really nice, but the option to play with the older visuals is a nice touch. Sound: The hauntingly beautiful soundtrack is definitely a highlight.

Adam Wolfe

Adam Wolfe

Adam Wolfe is definitely one of the more varied and unique titles in the hidden object game genre. It features tons of detailed locations, an intriguing storyline, as well as interesting gameplay elements that set it apart from similar titles. If you enjoy a good mystery with supernatural elements and don’t mind a bit of action in your hidden object games then this one comes highly recommended. Gameplay: Good hidden object scenes as well as plenty of other puzzles. Graphics: Lots of very detailed scenes and the game looks very polished overall. Sound: The voice acting is above average for the genre while the atmospheric music is a big plus.

Gal*Gun: Double Peace

Gal*Gun: Double Peace

Shooting girls with a pheromone gun in order to provide them with euphoria is every bit as strange in the game as it sounds on paper, but somehow it works. Gal*Gun: Double Peace certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it knows its audience very well, so you can expect plenty of squealing girls and fan service. However, if you look past the ecchi exterior, you’ll also find a very entertaining game with plenty of replay value. It is obviously not a title that is going to appeal to the easily offended, but if you are a fan of anime or manga and can appreciate some slightly lewd humor you’ll have fun with this game. Gameplay: On-rail shooters are still a rarity on PC and this one is a lot of fun. Graphics: Colorful and detailed, but also not without flaws. Sound: Nice soundtrack and good voice acting.

NEKOPARA Vol. 1

NEKOPARA Vol. 1

If you are looking for something cute, lighthearted, polished and filled to the brim with catgirls then NEKOPARA Vol. 1 is the obvious choice. Even without the h-scenes, the Steam version is an enjoyable, albeit slightly short, romp. The E-mote system works quite well and the artwork by Sayori is absolutely gorgeous. It is not as long or as involving as some other kinetic novels, but serves as a very polished and enjoyable introduction to the genre. Gameplay: NEKOPARA Vol. 1 is a kinetic novel, so gameplay is restricted to simply clicking through the story. Graphics: Beautiful artwork by Sayori and the animation is a lot livelier than what is the norm for the genre thanks to the E-mote system. Sound: Full Japanese voice acting for the catgirls, plenty of sound effects and some very nice tunes.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™: Out of the Shadows

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™: Out of the Shadows

As a big fan of the ninja turtles it pains me to see how much unrealized potential this game has. With a bit more spit and polish it could have been great but as it is the game feels rushed and unfinished. The combat is enjoyable once you get the hang of it but can feel imprecise and sluggish initially. Wait for a sale and hopefully a few patches before diving in. Gameplay: With a bit more polish it could have been great. Graphics: Some nice detail but overall a bit uneven. Sound: The voice acting is great and the tunes fit the game nicely.

Leave a comment

5 × 2 =