Pinball Arcade is a multi-table pinball game available for several operating systems, including Windows, Android, and iOS. This review is based off the Android version of Pinball Arcade. As you can imagine, this App is all about pinball. What makes it special, and different from most, is that the pinball tables found in Pinball Arcade are based on real tables. These aren't just digital pinball creations with wild features and table designs.
I really only keep this App on my phone for two pinball tables: FunHouse and the Addams Family Pinball. These are two of my favorite pinball games ever. FunHouse being #1. I love Fun House so much that when the Pinball Hall of Fame: Williams Collection was released for the Nintendo 3DS handheld, I purchased one immediately. Yes, I spent over $200 for a dedicated, handheld, 3D pinball experience. I did play other games on the 3DS after buying it, but if the Williams Collection wasn't available, I would have never bought this unit. The 3D feature was nice - a bit goofy at times. I've since parted with my 3DS, and that's OK, because having pinball on my smartphone is way better.
The only thing better than having pinball on my phone, is having a real pinball machine to play on. Pinball Arcade is a good substitute to the real thing, but obviously far from the true experience of being in a room filled with pinball tables, with all the sounds that go along with that. That is quite the experience and one I miss from my childhood.
Now, before you go out and download Pinball Arcade, do note that the app is not entirely free. They give you a couple of tables for free, and I believe they rotate those from time to time. However, if you want the full collection of pinball tables, you'll need to spend some money. To unlock all of the tables, be prepared to spend over $100. The good news is, you can pick and choose what tables you want with costs starting around $5. I can see some of today's youth thinking the whole thing is a sham - how dare a smartphone game cost more than $0.99 /sarcasm.
If you love pinball, and want to relive your younger days playing the same tables you did, and can't drive hours to the nearest pinball hall, or spend $500-$5000+ on a couple of real pinball tables, the emulation that Pinball Arcades will have to do. You'll get many hours (or days) of enjoyment out of it. It's great for commutes, a good way to kill time on slow days at the office (don't tell bossdude!), and anywhere else you find downtime regularly. I enjoy it as an end of the day relaxer.
Pinball Arcade has been widely successful, despite costing far more than a traditional smartphone game - it even surpasses the cost of a console game's price tag. Part of this success is likely due to the age of so many pinball fans. People who played extensive pinball in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s are now adults and likely have some disposable income and can justify the cost. Nostalgia is worth the cost!
Spending $5-$30 on a collection of pinball tables sounds like a better investment than seeing a "new movie" that is really just a recreation of some other movie, which was a sequel to an original movie. That's a post for another day, and another website. I'm not trying to be a cranky old man bitching about low quality movie recreations. (Transformers? Spider Man? Ghostbusters?)
So if you have a few dollars to spend, or you don't mind a very limited selection of tables, check out Pinball Arcade. It's hard to be upset with what you get.
I like to claim that Pinball Arcade for Android has already saved me a few dollars - eventually, that number will be in the hundreds! How?
Because the tables are based on real pinball tables, the app works as practice.
When you get to the real pinball table, you'll find all the scoring mechanisms and sub games to be exactly the same. By knowing the table well, and how to score big, you'll be able to extend how long your quarter last ultimately saving you money. Even though it's a game, and you're trading money for time for recreational purposes, nobody likes losing a quarter after 35 seconds on a pinball table.
For me personally, I"m saving big money, because I can enjoy my favorite game (FunHouse) without spending $2500-$5000 on a FunHouse pinball table. Part of being an adult with disposable income is making sure I keep acting like an adult - I can't justify the cost for something I would play a mere few hours per month. Maybe when I'm older...
To recap, if you love pinball, and have between $5 and $100 to spend, take a look at pinball arcade today. Downloading it is free, and you can pick which tables you want to purchase.
Get out there and enjoy the silver ball!