One of the best aspects of any arcade is the row of Pinball machines with different themes for everyone to find one that fits them. Pinball Arcade is a new iOS app that is attempting to recreate the classic feel of a real arcade packed with Pinball machines. Unlike other pinball games on iOS, these are 100% authentic tables, and not just some made up ones. Now you can play great tables from the past from Williams, Stern, Bally, and Gottlieb all with authentic details of each element on the board. It’s such a great idea to recreate a classic Pinball catalog, and they’re greta on iOS with the touch controls.
The game comes with four tables to begin with, which include Arabian Nights, Theatre of Magic, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and Black Hole. All four are the authentic machines, and they have been scaled to fit the iPhone and iPad in portrait mode. You drag to pull the plunger, tap each side of the screen for the flippers, and try to rack up the points by reaching special sections of the board. Everything runs extremely smooth, and each table looks beautiful on the retina display and iPad. The one real problem is that the physics engine isn’t necessarily poor, it’s just not at the super high standard of Pinball HD, which is the current king of iOS pinball.
Pinball Arcade provides the authentic look, but not quite the authentic feel as the pinball and flippers don’t allow for tight precision or authentic speed based on weight of the ball, and force of the flippers. The game feels more like a digital pinball game than an authentic machine, and the major difference is the ball moving so fast, and smacking specific blocks of the board rather than actually rolling into them. The ball and table just react woodenly when compared to the real thing or even Pinball HD, which is definitely disappointing with this authentic design.
Pinball Arcade comes with free and $0.99 versions with in-app purchases for more tables in both. The $0.99 app gives you unlimited Arabian Nights, while the free version lets you simply test all four tables up to a specific score limit. Then the tables cost different amounts depending on name recognition and intricacies, but you can buy all four for $10. More tables are expected monthly including Funhouse, Attack from Mars, Medieval Madness, and many more classics, which will be extra IAP as they’re released.
Pinball Arcade (Free, Universal / $0.99, Universal) is worth skipping because of the subpar physics engine, despite delivering all the great tables. The real tables cost about $4000 to buy, and 50¢ to play one game, while Pinball Arcade offers much better pricing for unlimited play. The problem is that the game lacks enjoyment because the actual pinball gameplay is lacking authenticity.