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

Penumbra: Black Plague

Penumbra: Black Plague

Black Plague focusses on the best parts of the original game (the creepy atmosphere and physics based puzzles) while trimming the worst parts (the combat) making it a better experience overall. Playing the original is still required to make the most out of it and it is a little on the short side but it made me jump quite a few times which is commendable. Gameplay: Removing combat ramps up the atmosphere considerably. Graphics: Better looking and featuring more detail than the original. Sound: Solid voice acting and lots of creepy ambience.

Heroes of Loot

Heroes of Loot

Heroes of Loot is a great title for when you need a quick action fix and don’t want to get bogged down with small details like inventory management or stat allocation. You simply race through dungeon floors, killing everything in sight and grabbing whatever loot you can find. It doesn’t have a lot of depth, but since dungeons are randomly generated and increase in difficulty the more you play the replay value is quite high. It is also very reasonably priced, which means there is no excuse for not giving it a shot. Gameplay: The focus is very much on action and there isn’t much that gets in the way of that. Graphics: Some lovely pixel art visuals with nice enemy designs. Sound: Decent, but the sound effects are a little underwhelming.

Fallout 3

Fallout 3

The shift towards a more action oriented first person view might not sit well with purists, but Fallout 3 is still a very entertaining and highly engrossing role playing game. Exploring the wasteland and all its perils is a memorable experience and there is enough to do in this game to keep you busy for ages. The game wasn’t without its bugs when it first launched, but has stabilized a lot since then and there are also hundreds of mods available to enhance the experience. Gameplay: More action and a little less role playing than the previous Fallout titles, but still good. Graphics: While not exactly cutting edge the visuals still allow for an immersive experience. Sound: The game features a great selection of classic tunes.

Conarium

Conarium

Even if you don’t know your shoggoths from your Mi-go there is a lot to like about this Lovecraftian horror title by Zoetrope Interactive. They are no strangers to the genre and are clearly huge fans of H. P. Lovecraft, which is very evident in this game. The slower place and lack of combat might scare away some horror fans, but the attention to detail and the way that the game perfectly captures the atmosphere of Lovecraft’s work makes it a must play for fans. It might lack a little polish in some areas and it is over all too soon, but it is still a remarkable effort by a small indie team and one that deserves to be played. Gameplay: Plenty of exploration and puzzle solving in environments that perfectly capture the style of H. P Lovecraft. Graphics: Your surroundings are detailed and quite atmospheric. Sound: The voice acting could have been better, but the rest of the audio is very good.

Sora

Sora

Sora is a shooter that takes practice and patience to master, but it is also a very rewarding title. Playing as a lone enhanced human facing off against swarms of enemies is quite a blast and the bosses in the game are so adorable it is almost a pity to defeat them. Add to that the rocking soundtrack and you have a game that all fans of the genre should definitely add to their collection. Gameplay: Very tricky at first, but becomes easier with practice and weapon unlocks. Graphics: The visuals are crisp and feature some great character designs. Sound: The audio in this game is good enough that we recommend grabbing the soundtracks as well.

Beat Blades Haruka

Beat Blades Haruka

Nukige titles are not really known for their story or gameplay, but Beat Blades Haruka definitely bucks this trend. As implausible as it is the story is actually quite neat and training the girls to fight in battle is very addictive. Of course, seeing as it is a nukige title there is an enormous amount of H-content as well and fans will be happy to hear that it is all completely uncensored. It is not a game for the easily offended or sensitive, but fans of the genre should definitely add it to their collection. Gameplay: The stat raising and battles make it a lot more engrossing than a typical nukige title. Graphics: Excellent character designs and a ton of CGs. Sound: Good voice acting and lots of music.

Leave a comment

seventeen + eleven =