Developer: Cowboy Rodeo | Publisher: TBC | Release Date: 2009 | Genre: Pinball
Considering the amount of time I wasted playing Pinball Fantasies back in my youth it was a mixture of dread and anticipation that washed over me when I heard that it was going to be a launch title for the new PSP minis range. Based on the 1992 Amiga original, this remake is pretty much identical to the classic game which means those who have played it will love it while newcomers might find it unrealistic and inferior to more recent pinball titles.
Pinball Fantasies is incredible value for money as you get all four of the original tables for a very reasonable price. Partyland, Speed Devils, Billion Dollar Gameshow and Stones ‘N Bones are all available to fulfill your pinball fantasies and looks great on the PSP screen. The tables can be played in either landscape or portrait mode and while landscape offers superior controls you will want to stick to portrait for a nearly full screen gaming experience.
Back in the day Pinball Fantasies had some of the most realistic physics in its genre and despite being surpassed by now it still holds up quite well. The tables are still flat, 2D ones, but they are packed with challenges and goals. Most of them have three flippers (except for Stones N Bones) plus a few ramps and while you won’t find any 3D effects or multi-ball features you’ll soon be hooked on attaining high scores once you start playing.
The graphics are virtually identical to the original game, and it could just be my imagination, but the colors look brighter and more vibrant on the PSP screen. The scrolling is very smooth, but there is some visible “ghosting” while the screen moves. The presentation is very stylish with four Amiga discs on the main menu representing the four tables. The audio was great back when the game first came out and is in fact one of the few gaming soundtracks that I remember almost note for note. Partyland in particular has this horribly catchy melody that will stick in your head for days.
Using the trigger buttons to control the flippers is pretty cool, but using the X and Triangle buttons in portrait mode feels less natural which is a pity as this is definitely the best view mode to play in.
With its small size and low price this is definitely a game that deserves a permanent spot on your memory stick. Like all pinball games it can become repetitive after a while, but you will definitely dig it out every now and then for a try.
*Review originally published in 2009.