Pinball Fantasies in Review – Dreaming of mi Amiga

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Back in 1992, Digital Illusions released their second pinball game Pinball Fantasies, on the Commodore Amiga. For many this is still the best pinball game ever created and has been eagerly anticipated ever since Cowboy Rodeo released it’s prequel, Pinball Dreams, on the iPhone a few months back.

Like the original, Pinball Fantasies comes arrives at the iPhone with 4 tables which are chosen utilising a coverflow-style selection screen.

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  • Partyland is a Theme-park with two ramps and and a additional flipper on the top-left side of the table.
  • Speed Devils is a car-racing level with a third flipper at the top and a very long slide.
  • Billion Dollar Gameshow is a game show style level. It has a third flipper on the top right side where you can hit extra ramps. With its confusion of ramps and slides, it is the most confusing of the 4 tables and generally considered the most difficult.
  • Stones and Bones is my personal favorite. It is haunted by ghosts in a graveyard theme and has the best balance of skill and difficulty. It is also the only table with just the two classic flippers at the bottom.

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All tables come with various ways to score big, extra points. For example, every table has a ramp where you can build up multiplier points by repeatedly hitting them in a given measure of time. Every one also features different high score events such after triggering lighted letters or hitting the right combination of targets.

The ball physics are a bit dowdy compared to more modern pinball games since the ball runs “too smooth”. This is in no way a dealbreaker as it plays well into the nostalgia element of this pinball game which plays exactly as it did 16 years ago in one of the most well-balanced pinball games to date.

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The tables have been updated a little bit, but can be switched to their original glory by the flip of a switch. Don’t expect too much of a difference though, since the ‘updated’ graphics are just some more colours. Another nice touch is the auto alignment of the screen position. Although portrait mode is the most suited for this kind of game and your viewing space gets very small when playing in landscape mode. The Framerate on a 3GS is very solid though there is a short but noticeable drop in frames every now and then. This doesn’t happen too often, but given the nature of the game, any hiccough could come at an inconvenient time and result in frustration. I hope Cowboy Rodeo will soon address this with a performance fix.

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Pinball Fantasies’ music and sound are in their original Amiga form; classic and synthy, they always render a smile on my face. I could listen to the Stones & Bones music to no end while Speed Devils drive me crazy in no time!

After all this time I have to say that my fond memories of this game surpassed the actual game. This is a nice little drive down memory lane and you get 4 very well balanced tables. But for a 16 year old game, I expect better performance on a modern device, and for the price of $5.99 you could expect more than just a straight port with a few minor graphical tweaks. For those people who are stricken with a strong nostalgic bug, this may be worth the money. For everyone else, I would suggest to get The Deep Pinball or its prequel Wild West Pinball which are far more affordable and are better alternatives. With some modern improvements to the original tables (i.e. more realistic ball physics and online scores) this could again have been one of the best pinball games. As it is, Pinball Fantasies gets away with a Tap.

This review was brought to you by TouchMyApps contributor Sascha

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App Summary
Title:Pinball Fantasies (v1.1)Developer:Cowboy Rodeo
Price:$5.99App Size:4.9 MB
  • A faithful port for fans of the classic
  • Well balanced Tables
  • High price
  • Odd ball-physics
  • No online scores

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  • http://www.appspatrol.com iphone app reviews

    I like the looks of this game. Most of the pinball games have boring themed backgrounds. This looks very catchy. Pinball is one of those classic games that never gets old like Tetris or Bejeweled. I will have to give it a look.

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