Review: Pinball HD
Pinball HD, by OOO Gameprom
• Great Graphics
• Three tables to play
• Realistic physics
• Tables get a little boring
• “Tilt” feature not intuitive
It’s Pinball for the iPad! Pinball HD is a beautiful, 3D game for the iPad that uses realistic physics and easy game play to provide an addictive game that just about anyone can play. Using three different tables (Wild West, The Deep, and Jungle Style), you can play pinball simply by touching the iPad screen.
Pinball HD works in both landscape and portrait mode. Personally, I prefer portrait mode, because you can get an overview (top down view) of the whole table. But landscape mode provide what is called “flying table” view, where you have a “flattened” view of the table (more of a 3D feel, like you are the same height as the table). Flying table view is also available in portrait mode, but I found it very difficult to play because I lose track of where the ball is relative to the paddles.
Playing the game is easy – you can tap anywhere on the left side of the screen for the left paddles, anywhere on the right side of the screen for the right paddles. Only one table (Jungle Style) features multiple paddles, so usually you are just controlling the two at the bottom. The graphics are good, although not great, on the iPad. The 3D rendering is pretty smooth for most of the game, and the game play is smooth and flowing regardless of which view (full table of flying table) you use. The physics within the game are good for the most part, with the balls bouncing as you would predict.
Unfortunately I did find some flaws with the game. First and foremost is the “tilt” aspect. You can shake the iPad to “tilt” the table, but I always find it very difficult to shake the iPad and still maintain concentration on the game. It seems to me that simply “tilting” the iPad (left or right) would be a great way to incorporate a nudge feature. You could adjust the sensitivity to each persons preference, so you don’t need to worry about holding the iPad perfectly flat.
The other main problem I had was with the physics and the paddles. The response of the paddles seems almost too instantaneous, and the response of the balls off the paddles seemed a little off to me. Rather than having any “give” like you would expect, it almost seemed like they were ricocheting off of a hard object.
The tables themselves were also too similar for my tastes. The tables are nice, but there isn’t anything other than the graphics to really differentiate them in my book. I would have preferred a variety of tables (maybe a real old fashioned table, or one of the new style tables with “mini games” incorporated into the game play). It would also be nice to see some “real” pinball tables (classics like Cyclone, which I remember playing in college!). Overall I did enjoy the game, but the tables themselves never really “grabbed” me that way some other computer or console pinball games have.
All in all, Pinball HD is a fun game that makes good use of the iPad graphics capabilities. A few flaws in design and physics detract somewhat, but overall the game is still enjoyable and fun to play. For $2.99, it's a fun game, but if you are expecting superb physics or extremely complex pinball games, you might be better off passing this by. Three and a half out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.